Traverse City Record-Eagle

Archive: Monday

August 19, 2013

School daze: Tuning in students who tune out


Roster’s students must still master foundational knowledge — such as identifying muscle groups — but he offers technology tools to make the task easier. Students can use a class iPad, for example, loaded with different anatomy apps that allows a student to peel away the body’s arteries, bones, organs and muscles to see how they connect.

Students must also tackle assigned reading and watch his podcasts — mini-lectures — before arriving to class.

Once in class, they’re quizzed on the material. They take the quiz a second time, but with a pod of fellow students.

After quiz time, Roster asks for questions about his podcast lecture, then presents a case study that the student pods discuss together.

This kind of class structure — watching online lectures at home followed by an active interchange in the classroom — is called a “flipped classroom” and is gaining traction nationally.

Not all the students liked Roster’s style, Bray said, but they learned to appreciate it by semester’s end. She said she retained a lot more information and honed her problem solving skills she’ll someday need as a physician’s assistant.

Bray said she’s disappointed that it’s back to memorizing the textbook’s “bold words” at Grand Valley State.

“One of my education class instructors brought up the learning pyramid that shows you retain only 3 percent of what you hear in lectures and 7 to 10 percent of readings,” she said. “So the teachers know this, the data is out there, and, yep, they’re teaching the same way they’ve done it for the last 1,000 years.”


Teaching trends

- Students learn in different ways, such as hearing, reading, watching a video, and experiential, so material is best presented in several ways. "Some people just have to grab the electric fence to experience it for themselves," Roster said.

- Grades tend to go up when students work together or teach each other.

- If you want students to retain more, test more.

- Studies show spacing out studies of a particular topic is better than cramming in the content all at once.

- Because students respond to peer pressure, they are more likely to prepare for a group study.

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