Making Mistakes: Why is it Crucial for Learning?

Yes its true, I’m the girl who is always making mistakes. Do I admit to them? Sometimes! Mind/Shift shares an episode from TED Radio Hour, which speaks about making mistakes and why they’re crucial for learning. These discussions are worth a listen, even covering why it’s important to understand the power of vulnerability and shame. Embarrassment and conflict keeps us from admitting to a mistake, it’s important to look past emotions and fears that come with mistakes.

mistakesIt’s okay, boo-boos happen everyday.  Whether it’s academically or professionally, forgetting to walk the dog or not responding to an important email, mistakes can be a course to better yourself. Brian Goldman, one of the many guest speakers and a Canadian doctor, shares his story about mistakes he’s made as a doctor. I’m not telling you this to stop seeing you’re physician, but to help you understand that the discoveries today are from past mistakes. Next time you make a mistake, Mind/Shift advices not dwelling on them, but to face them head on. Instead, grab a notebook, bullet what you’ve learned and write a story. If you’re not making mistakes daily, you are not a human being. With every slip-up remember you’re experiencing life and learning.

Do We Actually Learn from Videos?

A new study led by a professor from Iowa State University shows that difference between watching fluent and “disfluent” videos might not make a difference on whether viewers learn more or less.

Most of us enjoy watching TED talks and the speakers on the TED videos are nothing if not engaging, expressive, and fluent. The study presented two groups with videos – one fluent and one disfluent – and asked each to predict how much they would remember after watching them. The group with the fluent video predicted they would remember more based on the engaging speaker (“the instructor stood upright, maintained eye contact, and spoke fluidly without notes”). The result found that both groups remembered about the same amount regardless of the speaker.

One author begged to differ on this result and explained why we do learn and remember things from watching videos. One is that it gratifies “our preference for visual learning.” How many times have you found yourself more engaged in a PowerPoint presentation when it has been heavy on the visual side versus the text side? They also allow the viewer to choose what they want to watch, or “enable self-directed, ‘just-in-time’ learning,” giving them the choice of videos they watch to what interests them most for their educational needs.

Aside from spiraling into a black hole of YouTube videos, I enjoy watching TED talks and find that I do learn things from them that I never thought would interest me. Check them out for yourself sometime and see if you learn a little more than you thought.

Source: MindShift

From Mind/Shift: “Higher Ed Trends: MOOCs, Tablets, Gamification, and Wearable Tech”

In this post on Mind/Shift, Katrina Schwartz highlights the findings of a report from the New Media Consortium and EDUCAUSE Learning Initiative. The higher ed trends identified in the report focuses on MOOCs as a significant transformation in college education. Even WRAC has been exploring MOOCs in our recent webinar series. The report also notes that students’ “digital footprint” is an important guide for the future of higher ed. Read the post over on Mind/Shift to see what the report has to say about tablets, games, 3D printing, DIY culture, and wearable tech.

The Art of Science

Poetry is brought to life through a myriad of ways: spoken word, dance, performance, etc., but has recently been unexpectedly mixed with robotics. While it might not sound like these two subjects would go hand in hand, educator Sue Mellon has found it to be a rewarding combination.


Image via Mind/Shift

The dioramas are the student-made visual representations of the poetry. Due to the help of the robotics, lights will flash and colors change when a student says a certain word in the poem (for example, saying “water” triggers a blue color in the diorama to deepen). Working on a physical project based on poems helps the students connect with, and understand more deeply, the poetry they are studying.

To me, it also says that perhaps these categories aren’t as separate as they seem. Often, we mark a separation between things like “science and math” vs. “the arts.” What is so intriguing about robotic poetry, then, is that it’s not only innovatively teaching students how to connect with words, but it also shows us that we shouldn’t make such a distinction between the “categories,” since there is inherently art in science, and science in art.

Read the full article from Mind/Shift here

Breaking an Age Old Tradition

We’ve all been there. You walk into a college lecture hall filled with 300+ people, sit down with your laptop, most likely on Facebook, and listen to the professor talk for an hour, before going home and realizing you didn’t even comprehend anything that was said.

But recently, some professors are rethinking the way they teach. Joe Redish, a professor at the University of Maryland, realized, after a few years of lecturing, that it wasn’t the best way for students to learn and retain information. “With modern technology, if all there is is lectures, we don’t need faculty to do it. Get ‘em to do it once, put it on the web, and fire the faculty.”

The article on Mind/Shift explores the way that college students learn, and why lecture is not the best approach to teaching a large class. Better results have come from peer instruction, where students are given the opportunity to discuss a problem with each other, and come up with the right solution together. With so many different teaching opportunities out there, especially with all the new technology, lecturing is becoming a thing of the past. Though it may seem a little K-12, peer instruction and group work just may be the way to go.

Study Habits of the Modern Age

I think it’s safe to say that nobody really sits down with just a book, paper, and pen to study anymore. You walk into the library and see hundreds of computers, phones, tablets, etc. So how does a student study in this modern age? StudyBlue recently did a survey of 500 students to find the answer to this question.

As many times as you see people working in groups in the library, a shocking 70% of the students said that they like to study alone, and 42% said they would rather study in their bedroom, while only 21% said they like to go to the library.

In the age of the Mac and iPhone, it’s not surprising that the number one hardware reported was a laptop, and that 93% of students use study apps.

Why is it important to know the modern study habits? For both students and teachers alike, these results can change the way information is transferred. Knowing that students use these tools to study, teachers can enhance their courses in the same way, therefore increasing interaction and learning from their students.

How do you study? Take a look at the infographic below to see more results from the study.
An inside look at the habits of the modern student. [Infographic]

From Mind/Shift: Lessons from YouTube

Think that YouTube is for enjoyment only? Think again. There are plenty of ways that the media sensation can be applied to other aspects of the world, even teaching. Mind/Shift’s “10 Lessons Teachers Can Learn from YouTube’s Popularity,” delves into this possibility. The 10 lessons are drawn from what the popularity of YouTube says about the mindset of today’s students. It gives such lessons as brevity, humor, and interdependence, which are exemplified in many of the popular videos from the site.

The basic suggestion of this article is to take the aspects of videos that keep people’s attention and apply them in a classroom setting to keep your students engaged and focused. Suggestions like the use of humor to teach lessons and the creation of lessons that are shorter but interconnected are just two of the examples of great teaching ideas that the article suggests. Connecting to the students in a way that seems more entertaining and accessible to them is definitely a promising strategy to keep learning current in such a changing environment.