Energizing your class with ConcepTests: A simple technique to engage students and improve learning

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  1. 1. IntroductionsDavid Steer is a professor ofGeophysics in the Department ofGeosciences at the University of Akron.Jeff Knott is a professor of Geology atThe University of California, Fullerton.Karen Kortz is a professor of geologyand oceanography at the CommunityCollege of Rhode Island.
  2. 2. Agenda ConcepTests: What are they and why use them? What does a good ConcepTest question look like? How can I implement this? Discussion
  3. 3. Have you used ConcepTests insome fashion in your class? Respond by answering yes or no in the boxto the upper right in Adobe Connect?
  4. 4. How often do you ask studentsto talk to each other in a typicalclass?a) Rarelyb) 1-2 times per classc) 3+ times per class?
  5. 5. ConcepTests: The pedagogyConcepTests are multiple-choice questionsembedded in the lecture. Good ConcepTests: Focus attention on key concepts Frequently include peer instruction Are formative exercises that assess studentunderstanding and progress during class.
  6. 6. ConcepTests: The pedagogyConcepTests are appropriate for reinforcing learninggoals at Blooms mid-level cognitive domains
  7. 7. Which of the following ConcepTestquestions best targets the middle-level of Blooms cognitive domain?a) What is the formula for stream discharge?b) A stream channel is widened by erosion, butstream discharge is unchanged. Which of thefollowing statements must be true?c) How are stream discharge and floodrecurrence intervals related to one another?d) Design a procedure to measure a streamsdischarge.?
  8. 8. ConcepTests: The pedagogyFollow Chickering and Gamsons* 7 principles ofgood teaching practice Encourage student-faculty contact Encourage cooperation among students Encourage active learning Give prompt feedback Emphasize time on task Communicate high expectations Respect diverse talents and ways ofthinking*Chickering, A.W. and Gamson, Z.F., 1987. Seven principles for goodpractice in undergraduate education, Am. Assoc. Higher Ed. Bull.,March, p. 3-7.
  9. 9. Used frequently with peer instruction Lecture Question is posed to entire class Students answer question Answer View Results Discuss Re-answer Open Discussion* Discussion Answer View Results Open Discussion* (Answer New Question)ConcepTests: The pedagogy* Important to include the meta-cognitive aspect; getstudents to think about why they picked a particularresponse rather than just the right answer
  10. 10. Which of these sequences canyou see yourself using in yourclasses?a) Answer View results Discuss Re-answer Open discussionb) Answer Discuss Re-answer Opendiscussionc) Discussion Answer View results Opendiscussion Answer new questiond) Something else?
  11. 11. Progress Update Are you following us so far? Indicate yes orno. Write questions that you have so far in thechat room at the lower right.?
  12. 12. ConcepTests: Writing questionsGood ConcepTests Focus on a single concept Do not require calculations Have good multiple-choice answers thatinclude misconceptions Are clearly worded (short on text, notterminology-intensive) Recast concept in a way not covereddirectly in lecture Are of intermediate difficulty(comprehension, application, analysis)
  13. 13. ConcepTests: ExampleHow do you think your students would answer thisquestion: How many plates are present?a. 2 b. 3 c. 4 d. 5 e. 6?
  14. 14. ConcepTests: Writing questionsIdeas to get you started What is the best analogy What term doesnt belong on or is missing fromthis list Observe and identify (e.g. on a photo, map) Classify an object/phenomena Infer the geology behind a news article Predict the outcome (e.g. of a demonstration) Convert text to an illustration and vice versa
  15. 15. ConcepTests: Writing questionsGuidelines for writing responses Use plausible response options. Includemisconceptions if possible. Include 3-5 responses. Avoid absolutes and complexity. Keep the lengths of response options similar. Unlike exam questions, it is okay to have someambiguous answers to stimulate discussion.
  16. 16. ConcepTests: ExamplesLiquid hazardous waste isdisposed of by pumping itdown injection wells. Whichwell location would be themost suitable to use for aninjection well?
  17. 17. Place these materials (maple syrup, milk, peanutbutter, frozen yogurt) in the correct position fortheir relative viscosity. What is at position #B?a. frozen yogurtb. milkc. peanut butterd. maple syrupConcepTests: Examples
  18. 18. In the landscape below, how would the amountof rainfall change at location X if the mountaineroded down to the dashed line?a. Rainfall would increaseb. Rainfall would decreasec. Rainfall would stay the sameConcepTests: Examples
  19. 19. ConcepTests: ExamplesGrapes dried slowly in a warm oven areconverted to raisins. This is an analogy for theformation of what rock type?a. igneous rockb. metamorphic rockc. sedimentary rock
  20. 20. ConcepTests: Where canyou find more?http://serc.carleton.edu/introgeo/conceptests/examples.html
  21. 21. Reality Check ? Does this make sense so far? Indicate yes orno. Write questions that you have so far in thechat room.
  22. 22. ConcepTests: ImplementationThere are a variety of ways to implement this technique Manual (show of hands, cards, cell phoneflashlight) Electronic response systems Free options (Poll Everywhere, Twitterembedded in PPT)A B C D
  23. 23. What is your experience withusing clickers (personalresponses systems) in class?a) I have used them.b) I have not used them, but I know someonewho does.c) I have not used them, and dont knowanyone who does.?
  24. 24. Easy to use and low cost iclicker: Receiver and software free forclasses >100 students (checkwith local rep).The receiver will accepthundreds of signals persecond from any generationiclicker.USB connection SizeAbout the size of a paperbackbook. DataAll data stored on USB drive.Image from www1.iclicker.com
  25. 25. Easy to use and low cost iclicker unit: May be purchased directlyonline of from bookstore. Include the ISBN number inyour textbook order $39-$45 new Our bookstore has a rentalprogram for $15/semester. Size Its slightly larger than a cellphone. Registration online or in-class Registered clickers may besynchronized with your classroster from any number ofclass managementprograms. Smartphone may besubstituted for the clickericlicker+iclicker2Images from www1.iclicker.com
  26. 26. Other Options Poll Everywhere: Free for up to 40 users. Design questions on web interface (www.polleverywhere.com) Export to a PPT slide Registration online or in-class Faculty must create free user account. No registration for students required Students use their cell phones to enter responses
  27. 27. Other Options Twitter: Free Embed 3rd party Twitter tools in your presentation(http://timoelliott.com/blog/powerpoint-twitter-tools) Registration online or in-class Faculty and students must have Supertweet.net accounts. Students use their cell phones to enter responsesCan handle polls, scrolling text feeds, feedback slidesand a variety of other options*Launches through standard PPT* As of March 5th it is not clear all options will still be supported
  28. 28. What are the positives of usingConcepTests for me (theinstructor) and the students? Share your ideas in the chatbox.?
  29. 29. What are the positives for meand the students? Easy to implement. Large classrooms, no TAsupport, research and service makeschanging your teaching methods lessattractive. ConcepTests are simply inserted into yourPowerPoint lecture. Its as fast as cut and paste. Reduce the blank stares Giving the students a chance to discuss inclass is invigorating for both you and thestudents. May improve some students metacognition.
  30. 30. Conceptests: Discussionhttp://serc.carleton.edu/introgeo/interactive/conctest.html


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