When I was in college, my least favorite courses were those from 6:00-9:00 on Thursdays. It was 3 hours (never a minute shorter) of torture as I sat there and listened to a professor lecture. All teachers at this point now know that active learning is necessary. It was very interesting to learn, however, that simply using acting learning isn’t enough. As Andrews, Leonard, Colgrove, and Kalinowski (2011) prove, using a constructivist approach to active learning is what makes it more effective. Addressing what students already believe will help them learn the truth and create connections to the topics. It seems that the same is true when it comes to PL as well. If we allow teachers to actively address potential misunderstandings in what they think to be true, then they will be more likely to learn the new information.
Learning environments are so much more effective when they include collaboration. To be totally honest, before reaching my current position at OJR I never would have said that. I had some terrible experiences with collaboration as a kid. I would either get stuck in groups with people who didn’t want to contribute, or I would be stuck in groups with people who disagreed with my ideas and I hadn’t yet learned how to handle that. Now, I love collaborating. So much more can be accomplished and it Is true that two (or more) heads are better than one. What all of this helped me realize is that for collaboration to be effective people really need to work together and contribute. Great ideas come from people disagreeing on good ideas.
What really stands out to me in the OCSB video is when Patricia Fiorino explains that what and how she teaches is determined by the needs of the students. Whether those are elementary or secondary students, or the “students” are the audience of a PL session, they need to be the ones who drive the topics because they must be relative to the audience. I also like the emphasis again on using that PL money on providing collaboration time instead of paying for presenters. That time is invaluable! Both of these things reinforce what we talked about last week and what my group is planning to focus our presentation on: that PL needs to be individualized and provide time for actual planning and application.
Andrews, T. M., Leonard, M. J., Colgrove, C. A., & Kalinowski, S. T. (2011). Active Learning Not Associated with Student Learning in a Random Sample of College Biology Courses. CBE Life Sciences Education, 10(4), 394–405. http://doi.org/10.1187/cbe.11-07-0061