Thursday, 12 October 2017

ULearn 2017: Keynote #1 Eric Mazur

As a Spark-MIT Innovative Teacher, I have been given a great opportunity to spend three days attending the ULearn Conference in Hamilton.

When we arrived Wednesday morning, our first session was with Keynote Speaker Eric Mazur who is a Physics Professor at Harvard University. The first half of his presentation was very interesting because it outlined and solidified what we have been inquiring into using critical thinking to develop dialogic conversations, especially using the Socratic method of questioning.

Here are my notes from the session:


The first thing all teachers should ask each year, but often don’t:  
What am I going to do differently in my classroom this year?

What is education?
Is it merely the transfer of information? Definitely not!
Then, what is it? Learners need to do something with the information they are given.
-So as an educator, how do you make this happen????

  1. Transmission of information
    1. Traditional Approach: In Class
    2. Mazur’s Approach: Should be done outside of class
  2. Assimilation of that information-When did the “aha” moments occur?
    1. Traditional Approach: Out of Class
    2. Mazur’s Approach: Teachers should be focusing on the assimilation of information
      1. Teach by questioning rather than telling (Socrates)
      2. Provide students with opportunities to talk and collaborate in order to reach a conclusion prior to whole class discussion
Teaching by Questioning is:
  • Active not Passive
  • 2-Way flow of information: Able to instantly see student error
  • Personalised Learning: students are able to help one another

We are born with an innate curiosity to know why things happen….Our challenge as educators is to turn that curiosity back on!

As a result of using the learning process, students will have:
  1. Made a Commitment to their answer choice
  2. Externalised their own answer
  3. Moved from the answer/fact to reasoning
  4. Became emotionally invested in the learning process

Peer Instruction allows for:
  1. Higher Learning Gains
  2. Better Retention

Using only a video for instruction:
  • Transfer pace set by video
  • viewer/passive
  • Viewing attention tanks as time passes
  • isolated /individual experience

Using only a book for instruction:
  • Transfer pace set by reader
  • Viewer active
  • isolated/individual experience
  • No real accountability

As teachers, we WANT every student ready at the beginning of the term ready to learn in class.

Perusall: Every student prepared for every class. Application used to prepare students for class. Interactive (asynchronous peer instruction) Collaboration with reading a document outside of class. book-who-owns-the-learning.jpg
  • Developed after reading Alan November’s “Who owns the learning?”  
  • Rubric Based Assessment: Most demonstrative thoughtful reading and interpretation
Motivating Factors: social interactions, tie-in to out of class while in class, improved use of class time

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