Month: January 2011

What is learning, a process or an outcome

In response to a question, “What is learning, a process or an outcome”, I got this response, copied verbatim, from one of my ex secondary school students. Made me proud that she would give such a thoughtful response.
Hi Peter,
Kelly D***** commented on your post.
Kelly wrote “well, the fact uve used the word ‘learning’ surely means that we’re speaking in present tense which would signify that ure still within the process. if we’ve ‘learnt/learned’ something, then that to me would show an end result of some sort which could be seen as an outcome. that said, we have learned all sorts throughout our lives but i dont believe that means that we’re not still able to learn something new about these same subjects or matters. u learn to drive, obtain ur licence as proof that u have a sufficient amount of knowledge about driving but each day u can learn something new about the art of operating a car…even many years down the line. i think if u think u know all there is to know on any one particular subject, uve closed ur mind to learning more and personally, i think there’s always more therefore, in answer to ur question, after all of the above lol, a ‘process’ would probably be the best way to describe what it is to learn.”

Yeah, more tests, please.

I have to say that I hoped this was/is true. I used to give more tests than the average teacher in the UK. Certainly in the schools I taught physics in. I just felt, rather than knew, that it was good – for physics learning. I used as wide a variety of testing as I could. Short, ten question tests, half termly exam practice questions etc.

What is your view about testing, given this evidence?

Twitter for homework

For teachers: You can give out homework at the end of the lesson and trust that students write it down and write it correctly. Takes time for them to do that.

Could you use this time more profitably? And still set homework?
Perhaps you want a little time to think of the best homework to set and to invent it at the end of the lesson is not the best way to set an appropriate homework.
Perhaps you have homework already mapped out for the whole term. Perhaps not.
Have you thought of emailing homework to all your students? A bit of a pain as you have to keep their email addresses up to date.
What about using Twitter?
Yes, students have to log onto Twitter to receive the homework but that has advantages.
Advantage 1 – You can include links to web pages and other resources in the Tweet.
Advantage 2 – You have to compress the homework to 140 characters. You have to think about that.
Advantage 3 – Students HAVE to seek out the homework. They have to be motivated to do this and we know that intrinsic motivation is better than extrinsic for creative work. See “Drive” by Daniel Pink.
Advantage 4 – You set homework once, and don’t have to think about email addresses at all. All students need is a Twitter address to look for the homework. (You know that you can have more than one Twitter address – see, for example, Hootsuite which can manage more than one Twitter name)
For me all of these are good but advantages 3 and 4 are the most attractive.