A walk through problem based learning

Posted by Diana Ayling on November 14, 2012 at 14:30
Here is a fine example of a current social issue explored through problem based learning. Read more...

Have you ever had a class with a disrespectful student? A student with dyslexia? A student coping with mental illness or in a state of recovery?
These are real problems that students and teacher face which affect the student learning experience. We have some suggestions for managing these issues within a programme and within a course.
The First Day of Class
Teachers generally agree that the first hours and the first few days of a class are crucial to the success of a course. Many of them are conscious that the first week must promise stimulating and effective learning so that students “trying out” the course remain enrolled. But what are the teacher’s underlying aims in those first few days?
I have been reading an eclectic range of books recently, and musing about our institutional focus on living curricula. 
I like the the simplified representation that Anna Sfard used in 1998 to frame two key metaphors for learning: theacquisition metaphor and the participation metaphor. The acquisition metaphor has been a dominant influence in many disciplines (in particular, but not limited to, Language Acquisition).
You may remember Te Puna Ako staff member Hazel Owen. Hazel, has her own business working with educators in around the world. Some of her work is very relevant to Unitec teachers, Check our her latest blog post on Integrating Te Reo into the classroom.
From time to time, students will need to give and receive constructive feedback. You can assist them to learn these new skills and practice them so they can improve their own and others performance.
Practice-based learning is an important component of the practice-focused learning experience that Unitec seeks to provide for its students. Practice-based learning is intended to complement other valuable practice-focused learning activities, such as simulated work-related activities within a classroom setting. Practice-based learning adds to these activities by recognising the additional value of exposing students to authentic, situated and contextualised learning experiences.
Teaching in large classrooms to 50, 75, even hundreds of students is becoming more and more common. This raises several questions about pedagogy and facilitation; perhaps the most urgent issue involves student engagement - how do I keep so many students engaged in the course and the material all at the same time?
Oh the headache, of reading Acts of Parliament and Regulations. These are often dense and difficult texts. We have developed some resources to make the law of the land more accessible to students.
Here are a few simple tricks to get some very quick information. I especially like "Track a flight" and "Find a movie in your city"!
Who would have thought that information and communication technology would change our world so quickly and fundamentally. You will be interested to know that three new skills have been identified for both students and teachers in the new media of social network services.
From time to time teams need to take time out to reflect on and evaluate their own performance in order to set new goals and priorities. This simple model from Nancy White is a good place to start. Although Nancy is seeking to enhance innovation in an organisation, the model could be used to enhance team performance.
At present, the term "knowledge worker" is widely used to describe people with considerable theoretical knowledge and learning: doctors, lawyers, teachers, accountants, chemical engineers. But, the most striking growth will be in "knowledge technologists": computer technicians, software designers, analysts in clinical labs, manufacturing technologists, paralegals. These people are as much manual workers as they are knowledge workers; in fact, they usually spend far more time working with their hands than with their brains.

ScienceDaily (Mar. 29, 2010)

 — We are not all blessed with the brains, beauty, luck, and capital that we associate with highly successful business people or entrepreneurs. Although most new business ventures fail, a few prosper and grow rapidly. A new article from the Strategic Entrepreneurship Journal demystifies this game of success, and shows that exceptional performance is not necessarily the direct result of special talent, 

experience, or sheer luck.

A fictional Englishman's quest to circle the globe in 80 days inspired technology integration facilitator Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano to take her students on a similar adventure, without physically traveling to different countries. You could do exactly the same. Sivlia used Skype technology to connect people from all over the world.
This is an online resource for teachers and others who are interested in designing and facilitating learning through reflective practice.
No? Neither had I, however, these smart folk are doing just that.

Here is a framework to help students and staff write reflectively. This framework leads writers step by step through the reflective process.

Unitec's Teaching and Learning Symposium is a great place to share, hear and think about teaching and learning. This year, I was reminded again of the value of the idea of "flow". Some teachers are new to the concepts so I thought you might like a quick version. 
From time to time we at Te Puna Ako are approached for suggestions on working with large classes. Recently, we viewed this excellent video, which explores how to keep students engaged by employing tutorial assistants. What do you think?
The mission of the StrengthsQuest program is:
To enable students to discover, develop, and apply strengths in academics, career and beyond. 
The StrengthsQuest programme has three components:
  1. The StrengthsFinder assessment - a survey which will help you to discover your strengths.
  2. A report on your individual strengths which will help you to develop your talents into strengths and apply those strengths.
  3. Give opportunities and activities to apply your strengths.
The philosophy behind StrengthsQuest is simple, know your strengths and talents, and develop and fully apply them. 
What is Live Chat?
Online chat can refer to any kind of communication over the Internet, but is primarily meant to refer to direct one-on-one chat or text-based group chat (formally also known as synchronous conferencing), using tools such as instant messengersInternet Relay Chat,talkers and possibly MUDs. The expression online chat comes from the word chat which means "informal conversation".
What can you do to effectively engage your students in discussions in class? How can you encourage students to prepare in advance so that time taken on group discussions in the tutorial or lecture is productive and not just spent on remedial preparation?

Last updated by Diana Ayling Dec 11, 2012.

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