The 1-9-90 Rule and Observations of a Classroom Experience

I’ve referenced Vilma Mesa‘s Classroom Mapping for a while now, and want to give this some more thoughtful due diligence.

You can see examples of Vilma’s Classroom mapping in this Slideshow (the images are shared with her permission and you may reshare them by sharing the slideshow).

The 1-9-90 rule is a rule of thumb governing interaction in collaborative environment: 1% of the participants are creators, 9% are contributors (they comment, like and share things), and 90% lurk. While it is applied mostly to collaboration and networking in digital environments, I was struck by how it also plays out in classrooms. If you click through the slides, you’ll see the same ratio play out over and over.
The instructor (one person) creates the content. Roughly 3-4 students ask and answer questions. The rest of the class? They lurk, probably hoping to just watch it all play out without having to participate.
If this is the natural norm of collaborative environments, this gave me a couple questions to ponder. First, should we even try to shift the norm by mandating more participation by the lurkers? I think that classroom environments are a good place to try to engage students in more active learning. Even if a students’ natural tendency is to lurk, she/he has to learn to participate actively even when it is not desirable (they will have to face an employer eventually that will require this of them). So I think that we should try to increase the participation by the 90%, but just be mindful of this natural social breakdown in collaborative settings (translation: there will be pushback).
The second point to ponder is this: typically online instructors do “force” the lurkers to participate in activities like discussion boards. But often the same instructor will have no such type of participation requirement for a face-to-face classroom. Clearly one reason is the time that would take too much time to let everyone in the class have a say in every discussion, not to mention that the discussion would quite quickly become a lot of rephrasing of what other people said. Oh wait … that is what required online discussions are like. If you teach both online and face-to-face, give this some good thought – I think it is our goal to create the most high-value learning experience we can, and while the environment should impact the design of the experience, be mindful of creating dull experiences just because everyone “has to” participate.

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Mobile Phone Cameras in Teaching and Learning

My latest “Teaching with Tech” column for MAA Focus just published this week.

Phone Cameras Handle Information in a Snap!

Teaching with Tech: Phone Cameras Handle Information in a Snap!

 

Here are the general topic areas:

  • Carrying a library of “good problems” with you for topics you are teaching.
  • Transfer an application problem to the computer/projector in your classroom.
  • Share your lecture notes from class (from a blackboard, whiteboard, or document camera).
  • Keep notes from a meeting.
  • Make a copy of a handout or meeting agenda.
  • Share student work for discussion about good methods or errors in thinking.
  • Answer emailed questions easily.
  • Tips for Conferences

Phone Cameras Handle Information in a Snap!

Archive of Teaching with Tech Columns

 

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Web Tools to Enhance Learning

Here’s a new mindmap containing my recently organized collection of great sites and tools for learning and teaching.  The collections are:

  • Google Sites and Apps
  • Video Collections
  • Synchronous Communication Tools
  • Asynchronous Communication Tools
  • Mindmapping Tools
  • Data Visualization
  • Scheduling, Appointments, and Information Collecting

Mindmap: Web Tools to Enhance Learning

To see more digital mindmaps, go to Resources: Mindmaps.

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What if you don’t have enough whiteboards?

Just a quick post to share this video from Betty Love (University of Nebraska – Omaha). Betty attended our MCC Math & Technology Workshop in 2011 and really wanted to try paired boardwork with her students during class. The problem? Not enough whiteboards/chalkboards. The solution? Well, just watch!

If you’ve got pictures or video you’d like to share of your Math ELITE Classroom redesign, or how you’ve incorporated the principles into your teaching, please do!

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What does the classroom say?

Yesterday I had a short talk in the ITLC Themed Session called “Change the Classroom, Change the Learning” about the necessity of math classroom redesign.


Without changing the classrooms, it is unlikely that we will see much change in the instructors or students.

Here is the video from the talk, called “What does the Classroom Say?” and the slides from the presentation.

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