Category: Motivation and Behavior

Adding Future Proof Skills to Course Syllabii

There are many college-level courses that are required but not beloved by students. Math requirements, in particular, are particularly disliked by most students. I believe that we teach mathematics to help students develop logical thinking, attention to detail, and a method for attacking problems of all types. The subject of mathematics provides a common language and structure to allow the development of these skills. Unfortunately, in our zeal to explain “when we are going to use this” we wander into the dark land of contrived application problems and ridiculous problem constraints. But what if there were another way to...

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Turning Ideas into Action

At the moment when a person becomes inspired to make a change, how can an organization support him or her to make that change in their life or to facilitate that change in the lives of others? Yesterday, during a conversation with my new friend Holly (who also happens to be my doppelganger), I had an inspiration on how to accomplish this.  It’s an idea inspired by the collision of several others:  A Recipe for Free Range Learning, my experiments with SpacedEd (now Qstream), my long ago experience with Flylady, the concepts of Optimism Bias and activation energy (from the Happiness...

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TEDxMuskegon: A Recipe for Free Range Learning

I just realized I never posted the Recipe for Free Range Learning video from TEDxMuskegon.  You can watch the video or you can read a rough transcript of the talk, posted below. Here’s the text this talk was based on … “Free range learning” describes the learning that takes place outside of the formal boundaries of education. I’ve been asked if the existence of “free range learning” implies that there is also some sort of “caged learning” as well. Well, the current U.S. education system was developed in the industrial era using the principles of a “factory model.” So,...

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Where does learning happen?

There’s a great new TED Talk out today by Jason Fried (TEDxMidwest) called Why Work Doesn’t Happen at Work.  It’s a very insightful talk and it certainly applies to Academe, so watch it first and then read my thoughts below. Here are a few questions that this stirred up in my mind, please share your thoughts … 1. If work doesn’t happen at work, does learning happen at school (in classrooms)? 2. If interruptions are the problem, does learning happen at home? (between family, friends, TV, video games, and the Internet, home is full of distractions) 3. What is the ideal time and space for learning?  Does your answer depend on your age?  On your generation? Possibly Related Posts: Learning at Scale Slides from ICTCM Clickety Click Click: Awful Measures for Learning Why high contextual interference? Recorded Webinar: Teaching Math in 2020 AMATYC Keynote Notes: Challenge and...

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Tweeting for Accountability in Online Classes

I am planning to ask my fall online calculus students to create twitter accounts in order to tweet their studying in hourly increments. As you are probably aware, this is the way I’ve been holding myself accountable to working on my dissertation (227 hours and counting). Since time management is an issue for online students, I want them to be accountable to themselves that they are honestly putting the time in. In particular, learning in math needs to be spread out over time for long-term retention, but it often gets crammed in at the last minute before a test.  Also, I want to know how they are progressing and what their frustration level is with the material. Logistics: The students do not have to put any identifying information on the accounts as long as I have the “handle” they have chosen on twitter. They will be required to put a hashtag and the hour number on each study tweet (see example below) so that we can easily see the studying habits of the whole class on one page.  There will be a minimum tweet requirement of 8-12 hours of studying a week (4-credit course) for a total of 150 hours by the end of the semester.  I suspect that it will become a bit of a contest to see who can study the most in the semester (but I...

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