An Active/Interactive Learning Story

The Wisconsin Experience seminar class I teach has provided a fantastic opportunity for me to try out a bunch of teaching strategies. Although I love to talk, one of the big experiments is structuring activities where students construct their own knowledge, and do so socially — through interactions and co-construction of their knowledge with their peers (See Chi, 2009 for definitions).  The physical layout of Sterling’s Collaborative Learning Classroom helps tremendously. It’s almost impossible to just lecture in this space. The activity represented here was an exploration of the Continue reading

Teaching for Graduate Student Instructors

Pedagogical Treatments for Graduate Student Instructors  (GSIs) I’ve been thinking about his for some time. Thought I should write something up on it. Overview I propose that someone create small programs to improve the teaching of GSIs — in conjunction (and collaboratively) with various entities on campus to identify and target needs, to avoid programming in areas that do overlap, and to capitalize on lines of communication to potential participants. Benefits: This proposal addresses a problem that has not been adequately Continue reading

Connect Wisconsin MOOC!

I’d like to see a Connect Wisconsin! MOOC that leverages the already-EI-funded mobile research tool with a campaign of quests led by UW-Madison student researchers (essentially undergraduate course leaders), where some quests are seeded, and some are solicited and chosen by popular vote (Reddit-style), and then citizens across the state use our new mobile research platform to collect data and document the issues (and potential solutions). Results are tagged, geo-coded, and given peer feedback. Essentially, this would be an exercise in sharing with Continue reading

Situating Mobile Learning

Presentation/workshop for EDUCAUSE Connect Chicago, March 18, 2014. Abstract: Educators know that learning happens best when learners are motivated and supported, so how can we support learning activities where students use the technology at their disposal? Our faculty used mobile and web technologies to create interactive tours and collaborative field research for students to engage with content situated in authentic contexts. Building on this experience, the Mobile Learning Incubator has been evaluating the integration of game elements into newer field research Continue reading

Backwards Design isn’t enough

Learning through real-world inquiry

The idea of “Backwards Design” is hot at our university right now, and for all the good it does (getting instructors to think about content transfer in terms of Learning Objectives is a wonderful step forward!), it still often falls short and over-emphasizes the evidence of understanding part — “students will demonstrate understanding of content through [Activity X or Test Y].” In other words: “I know I’ve succeeded in transferring the content I need to transfer because students will demonstrate that they have that Continue reading

OK, Blended Learning — How about Blended Teaching?

I’m a conscientious teacher. I work pretty hard to ensure that learning activities are driven foremost by learning goals, and I work pretty hard to avoid “easy-for-me; crappy-for-student” learning activities, where they spit back content in multiple choice tests. But there’s no denying that I get really tired doing it this way. And there’s no denying that I mess up from time to time. And sometimes I really long for the simplicity and clarity that quantitative, multiple-choice assessment offers in spades. Continue reading

New Article Published

Our TechTrends article is now online — soon to be in better newsstands and libraries across the globe! Sadly, the title isn’t quite what it should be. What it should be is: Participatory Scaling of Augmented Reality Learning through Local Games Authors: John Martin, Seann Dikkers, Kurt Squire, David Gagnon Abstract: The proliferation of broadband mobile devices, which many students bring to school with them as mobile phones, makes the widespread adoption of AR pedagogies a possibility, but pedagogical, distribution, and training models Continue reading

Teaching Academy 2014 Winter Retreat

Teaching Academy 2014 Winter Retreat on January 17: Rethinking Effective Learning and Teaching Engagement (RELATE) Register here. Campus conversation is building around engaging and improving effective teaching on campus. Be a part of the conversation! Join us for our annual winter retreat on Friday, January 17, 2014, from 8:30–12:30 in Varsity Hall II, Union South Over the course of the morning, we will RELATE our successes and failures around improving teaching, and discuss learning, reshaping and promoting effective teaching on campus. Retreat Continue reading

Siftr.org (Cool Stuff I’m working on)

SIFTR.ORG You may have heard of, or used ARIS, the iOS place-based activity platform. I would like to introduce its simpler sibling —  Siftr.org — a cross-platform, web-based, mobile and desktop, interactive crowd-sourcing map that the Mobile Learning Incubator built for the Year of Innovation. One of my personal goals in pursuing the opportunity to build it was to create a place-based education tool that instructors can employ to harness creativity, collaboration, and peer-to-peer knowledge construction by all of their Continue reading

Disney and Education

Let me just be clear on a few things: I love Disney and its ability to create incredibly immersive experiences. I am a HUGE proponent the power of designed, built environments for learning (Ellworth 2005, etc.). Experiences that situate learners’ experiences in embodied contexts that touch multiple senses are experiences that “last a lifetime”. They’ve created top-notch, heavily-designed multimodal learning (and entertainment) environments that hold consumers’ attention throughout a learning experience. If all (or even 1%) of my public education Continue reading