Let’s Get Clicking

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By Susan Chumley
Nursing Department
Delaware Technical Community College
Terry Campus

Teaching has evolved through the years. Instructors are no longer considered strictly the providers of information, but now they are the “facilitator(s) of knowledge” (p. 121) to self-directed learners, according to Carol S. Sternberger in her research article entitled Interactive Learning Environment: Engaging Students Using Clickers, published in the 2012 issue of Nursing Education Perspectives.

For a recent faculty development class, I was part of a group researching Turning Technologies clicker tools, and my curiosity to ascertain if this type of technology would actually be proven to be beneficial to nursing students led me to Sternberger’s article. I wondered why learn another piece of technology unless the research substantiates its efficacy?!

The article was really quite interesting. The study was descriptive in nature and explored the pedagogical approach of using clickers to enhance a learning scenario with nursing students. The learning environment in this research project utilized the constructivist theory. This model states that “learners construct their knowledge by building on their internal representations and previous experiences and thus create their own meaning or constructs” (p. 121).

In other words, new learning takes place via the building of new synapses on the already existing synapses. The research sample consisted of 72 students enrolled in a one-credit weekend undergraduate nursing course on disaster health care. The students used the clickers to answer multiple-choice questions from different short scenarios that were meant to assess the application, analysis, and evaluation skills of students.

The instrument in the study was a 22-item fivepoint Likert-type scale questionnaire that measured four subscales. The subscales ranged from how the students were able to integrate the clickers into the classroom setting to how much they thought the clickers helped them with their critical thinking skills. At the end of the course, a 50-item, multiple-choice comprehensive exam was administered online and was available to the students for a four week time period. The questions on the exam were all different than the questions given with the clicker scenarios.

The results from this study indicated that the students enjoyed using the clickers to enhance their understanding of the presented material. Most students either agreed or strongly agreed with items on the Likert-type scale questionnaire. Fifty-one students added comments at the bottom of the questionnaire. The written statements contained three themes. The students commented on the “novelty of using clickers in a learning environment,” that the scenarios “promoted discussion and analysis,” and that the clickers “created a competitive game-like environment” that made “learning fun” (p. 122).

Another result that was analyzed was the scores from the comprehensive exam. The mean score was 41.8 and scores ranged from 30 to 49. The author described the scores as “disappointing” (p. 122) since the students reported that the clickers helped them to create and explore new concepts instead of just memorizing answers to test questions. The author suggested that perhaps the four week time period for completion of the exam might have contributed to the lower scores. She suggested that short-term knowledge gain might be lost as time passes.

So, how does this study impact the educator who might chose clickers as a way to enhance learning? The author states that other studies indicate that clickers may encourage more discussion among students and this discourse could inevitably lead to a deeper understanding of complex issues. If a student commits to an answer, the student is more willing to discuss the rationale behind their choice. Also, students report a higher level of satisfaction in the learning environment while using this technology. It’s all about keeping the students tuned in verses tuned out.

However, the educator must be aware that studies do not necessarily indicate higher overall exam scores when students use clickers. This technology can definitely be used to foster classroom discussion and student participation, but instructors should not hope for a miracle with the dreaded examination scores.

Reference

Sternberger, C. (2012). Interactive learning environment: Engaging students using clickers. Nursing Education Perspectives, 33(2), 121-124.

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Student-Centered Learning for Librarians

Student-Centered Learning for Librarians

By Michelle Marshall
Librarian
Delaware Technical Community College
Owens Campus

As a librarian, it is my hope to apply what I learn about teaching and instruction to the informal learning environment in which I work every day, namely, the library.  The challenge has become how to apply concepts such as “student-centered” and “active learning” to a reference interview or to a one-shot information literacy session.

In my search for examples of how to do this, I recently read an article titled Authenticity and Learning: Implications for Reference Librarianship and Information Literacy Instruction by Kevin Michael Klipfel. Continue reading

Get Your VERB On!

Get Your VERB On!

By Dr. Richard Kralevich
Associate Vice President for Information and Instructional Technology
Delaware Technical Community College

In 1956, Benjamin Bloom and a few of his colleagues had a thought.  Their idea – develop a framework that educators and student alike could leverage to better organize and understand the learning objectives associated with their shared educational experience.  Since that faithful day, educators like you and me have devoted countless hours discussing, debating, and deliberating over how to find the right verb for the job.

Recently, I came across a few visual representations of Bloom’s Taxonomy that might help to make that deliberation a little easier. Hopefully, these resources will come in handy the next time you’re struggling to pen that perfect instructional objective.

So get out there and get your verb on!

A 3 Dimensional Model Of Bloom’s Taxonomy
Source: teachthought

Take Action: Verbs That Define Bloom’s Taxonomy
Source: MindShift | KQED News

Bloom’s Taxonomy Overview
Source: Vanderbilt University’s Center for Teaching

To They or Not To They

By Ish Stabosz
Center for Creative Instruction & Technology
Delaware Technical Community College
Stanton Campus

My sharing of this video, created by the Baltimore Sun’s John McIntyre, is simply an attempt to gauge how many English teachers and grammarians read this blog. I know you’re out there, and once you watch this you simply won’t be able to keep your fingers from typing in the comment box. Continue reading

Why I Added Research,Writing, and Presentation to My Math Class

Why I Added Research,Writing, and Presentation to My Math Class

By Rachel Chase
Mathematics Department
Delaware Technical Community College
George Campus

After attending an undergraduate research conference, I was inspired to implement a research driven assignment into the statistics courses I teach. Over the last few semesters of trials and tribulations, I have learned much about what works and what doesn’t. Continue reading

Let the Students Teach

Let the Students Teach

By John Burbage
Bio/Chem Department
Delaware Technical Community College
Stanton Campus

If you have ever taught a class in an accelerated format, you know how hard it can be to keep the student’s attention for three, four, or even 5 hours. To keep the students engaged, I like to include a project that requires the students to become the teachers. Let me share with you an example that I have used in a five hour Environmental Science class. Continue reading

After the Flip: What to Do With All That Extra Class Time

After the Flip: What to Do With All That Extra Class Time

By Kate Lind
Nursing Department
Delaware Technical Community College
Owens Campus

After teaching in the K-12 sector of education, I was initially shocked at how difficult it was to involve active learning at the collegiate level.

At the high school level, I developed a Medical Program, using Learning Focused Strategies (LFS) as the delivery system. This meant concept mapping to encourage students to make connections and understand vocabulary, activities to break-up the monotony of a block class, and many formative assessments to ensure students were doing more than treading water.

Coming into higher education was eye opening, but I discovered we are teaching such heavy content that we have to find a delicate balance of creating a foundation with information and engaging learners in various ways. Continue reading

What’s the Big Idea?

What’s the Big Idea?

By Holly Hermstedt
Education Department
Delaware Technical Community College
Stanton Campus

Personally, I love reading research in my field.  I enjoy knowing what’s new and what’s working best, and digging into a journal article is fun for me.

For my students?  Not so much. Continue reading

4 Squares and a Diamond: Using Graphic Organizers for Engineering

4 Squares and a Diamond: Using Graphic Organizers for Engineering

By Diane Calloway
Environment/Civil Engineering
Delaware Technical Community College
Owens Campus

It started with Traverse Calculations and Coordinate Geometry in my Surveying Principles class. The students were having difficulty with the flow of the calculations, so I told them to take out a sheet of blank paper.

The looks they gave were entertaining. 

I could read worry in the eyes of some: Is she going to give us a quiz?

…excitement in others: This is new…wonder what she’s going to make us do.

…and bewilderment too: What on earth, paper? I thought all the notes were on Blackboard! Continue reading

Paper or Plastic?

By Justin Strader
Automotive Department
Delaware Technical Community College
Owens Campus

Paper or Plastic?

Analog or Digital?

What does the future hold?

Justin, what the heck are you talking about? Good question. Well, I’m not really talking about grocery bags or electrical signal patterns. I’m talking about test taking believe it or not Continue reading