WHAT CAME AFTER THE 500 POUND A/V CART?

by tlovell

WHAT CAME AFTER THE 500 POUND A/V CART?

After reading my first installment one might ask:  “What came next?”

Well my next effort was to make one classroom my A/V classroom.  Also a loser…but try I did.

My first effort was in the in the old Nursing Lecture Hall.  I added a couple of big screen Televisions that had been abandoned by the original owners.  So I wrestled them into the bottom of the lecture hall (which was sloped upward) and connected them to the VCR, Laser Disk and PC’s/MAC.  Of course this was a great start…but then I needed remote control of the various A/V equipment.  This is all be digital and many of you were not even in grade school at the time.

So then I have the two big-screens (rear-projection) hooked to the A/V units and kind of remotely controlled.  Now we are ready to use the various A/V software packages for the equipment.  Now the students could have access to all notes from the screens w/o becoming stenographers.  Having control over the note-taking process was especially helpful in BSA 232 the Introduction to Business Statistics class.  Nationally the failure rate for the introductory statistics class runs about 50-60%.  I was convinced I could do better.  So I started by collecting the notes from the students-shocker they were not writing down in their notes what I wrote on the board!!!  So first thing to do was to have all the notes available digitally-so they got the notation, formula and the rest written done correctly!   That change allowed the students to become much more successful.  Failure rate dropped from 60% to 35%!!!

Next I went to a Computer-Aided-Learning –System for their homework & Quizzes.  This was an interactive system that allowed the students to get hints and to get more than just an answer when they were stumped.  The software put in place a process for solving the problems and a way to check each step (in the hint function).  This software pre-dated what we currently use in the Math Department (This started in Fall 1990) and was a great first software (HAWKES LEARNING SYSTEMS see-http://www.hawkeslearning.com/Support/Downloads.htm).  Next change was to put all the notes and power point slides in the Computer Lab and allow access by all the students.

So inch by inch we were putting in place a series of digital learning technologies that gave students more and more control over their learning pace & methodology.  I completely believe that when a student really comes to KNOW that they are in charge of their own success they change their work ethic and their performance improve.  My teaching/learning strategy is break the course into three distinct components:  vocabulary, mechanics and last & most importantly CONCEPTUAL KNOWLEDGE.  The first two parts are CONTENT specific and lean on memory and rote learning.  The third part is the most intellectually demanding and depends on the higher order strategies of the brain.  That is the third component is all about Socratic methodologies while the first two lean more heavily on rote memory.  BUT for true learning to take place ALL THREE must occur!  I have tried to use technology to make the first two much more accessible via technology-so there is more time to focus on the third Socratic step.

At any rate that is the plan I have been trying to implement fully since 1990.  I am about half-way there!   My message to my fellow teachers is:  NEVER QUIT-NEVER GIVE-UP!!!

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