Dr Eric Mazur
Dean of Applied Physics - Harvard
'The Tyranny of the Lecture'
What a brilliant session! Thought provoking, interesting and informative, Dr Mazur had the entire audience begging for more!
The chalk and talk lecture style of teaching hasn't changed in 2000 years. A lecture is simply a means for information transfer. There are different ways this has been done over time. Overhead projectors come from the dark ages often referred to as 'BC'....before computers
During the lecture method of teaching the notes of the lecturer get transferred to the notebooks of the students without transferring through the brains of students. Is this what education is? Merely the transfer of knowledge.
The result of lectures is a lack of learning fundamentals and a lack of retention of knowledge.
It is well worth watching a video on YouTube called Father Guido Sarducci's five minute college. It really makes you think about your teaching style.
So what is education?
1- a transfer of knowledge/information
2- ability to do something with the knowledge- assimilation of that information
Step one is easy especially in the 21st century with books/Internet but it what is done in class. Step 2 is done at home by students but is hard. So let's swap one and two!
The more of an expert you become in your field the harder it becomes to understand why students can't understand simple tasks/skills. Use other students to help explain to others. They are most likely to learn from peers.
Dr Mazur suggested best teaching practice comes from posing a question, allowing students time to think of the answer, polling them (electronically via a clicker of sorts), getting students to discuss their answer, re-polling to see that more students understand and finally explaining once most students have the answer.
It's not technology that matters its the pedagogy. Technology affords a new mode of learning. Technology is secondary. The more prevalent ideas are how do I design good question? How do I optimize discussion? How do I manage time? The technologies do not answer these questions. The idea is to use intelligent algorithms and data analytics to answer the questions. Clickers are good for m/c but it's hard to design a good m/c question. It is hard to come up with a plausible wrong answer as an expert. It take time but student results have improved drastically with the new mode of teaching.
Teach by questioning not by telling (Socrates)