Tag Archives: assessment of learning

Rethinking Group Work

How many of you have problems in your life that clearly only have one answer. Of course some do, but most of the challenges we face in life can have several solutions and each solution addresses those challenges in different ways and with varying degrees of success. From the business sector we here the calls for more creating people, more collaborative people and those that make better decisions. These are not skills that just appear out of know where. They must be taught, encouraged and refined over time. It also, we as education, is something we must place a higher value on. Many of us frequently do group activities in our classes and our student can produce some amazing things. But it seams to me that there must be a shift from evaluating the outcomes of the group work to evaluating the process the students use during the group work. A larger focus needs to be placed on the team dynamics, the import of all group members, how well communication worked and how decisions were made. Part of the presentation of a group project, must include self-reflections by the students. What worked, what did not work and what they would change. Regardless of the success of the outcome of the group work, many lessons can be learned.

Innovation is a collective genius | Linda Hill | TEDxCambridge

Published on 28 Oct 2014

This talk was given at a local TEDx event, produced independently of the TED Conferences. At the heart of innovation is a paradox: you have to unleash the talents and passions of many people, yet you have to harness them into a work that is actually useful. Management professor Linda Hill offers three keys to overcoming this paradox and building a truly innovative organization.

Linda A. Hill is the Wallace Brett Donham Professor of Business Administration at the Harvard Business School. She is the faculty chair of the Leadership Initiative and has chaired numerous HBS Executive Education programs, including the Young Presidents’ Organization Presidents’ Seminar and the High Potentials Leadership Program. She was course-head during the development of the new Leadership and Organizational Behavior MBA required course. She is the co-author, with Greg Brandeau, Emily Truelove, and Kent Lineback of Collective Genius: The Art and Practice of Leading Innovation and coauthor with Kent Lineback of Being the Boss: The 3 Imperatives of Becoming a Great Leader. In 2013, she was named by Thinkers50 as one of the top ten management thinkers in the world.

Professor Hill’s consulting and executive education activities have been in the areas of leadership development, talent management, leading change and innovation, implementing global strategies, and managing cross-organizational relationships. Organizations with which she has worked include General Electric, Reed Elsevier, Accenture, Pfizer, IBM, MasterCard, Mitsubishi, Morgan Stanley, the National Bank of Kuwait, AREVA, and The Economist.

Professor Hill is a member of the Board of Directors of State Street Corporation, Eaton Corp., and Harvard Business Publishing. She is a trustee of the The Bridgespan Group and the Art Center College of Design. She is on the Board of Advisors for the Nelson Mandela Children’s Fund USA and a Special Representative to the Board of Trustees of Bryn Mawr College. She is a former member of the Board of Trustees of The Rockefeller Foundation. She is also on the Advisory Board of the Aspen Institute Business and Society Program. She serves on the Editorial Board of the Leadership Quarterly.

Teachers Mixed on Common Core, Support Blended Learning

By Dian Schaffhauser 02/09/15

More than nine out of 10 teachers in America report using technology in the classroom. Two-thirds said they support the idea of a blended classroom, where students spend part of the school day working with a teacher and part working on a computer. A similar number of teachers said they like the idea of requiring students to take at least one online course before they graduate.

These results and others came out of an “internal poll” given to the members of the Association of American Educators, a national, non-union professional membership organization founded in 1994. According to spokeswoman Alexandra Freeze Read More


Ken Robinson on Passion

Sir Ken Robinson believes that everyone is born with extraordinary capability. So what happens to all that talent as we bump through life, getting by, but never realizing our true potential?

I am a big fan of his book: The Element: How Finding Your Passion Changes Everything

Carol Dweck: The power of believing that you can improve

Apply the Three-part Type I Test for Homework

This is a section for Daniel Pink’s Drive. A great book I am enjoying and would highly recommend.

Does the homework bulging from your kids’ backpack truly help them learn? Or does it simply steal their free time in the service of a false sense of rigor? Teachers, before you dole out yet another time-consuming assignment, run it through this Type I homework test by asking yourself three questions:

  • Am I offering students any autonomy over how and when to do this work?
  • Does this assignment promote mastery by offering a novel, engaging task (as opposed to rote reformulation of something already covered in class)?
  • Do my students understand the purpose of this assignment? That is, can they see how doing this additional activity at home contributes to the larger enterprise in which the class is engaged?

If the answer to any of these questions is no, can you refashion the assignment? And parents, are you looking at homework assignments every so often to see whether they promote compliance or engagement? Let’s not waste our kids’ time on meaningless exercises. With a little thought and effort, we can turn homework into homelearning

12th Annual SLATE Conference: October 22-24, 2014

Plan to join us for the twelfth annual SLATE Conference, October 23-24, 2014. Over the past eleven years over 3000 people representing over 165 unique institutions from the Midwest, across the country, and around the world have attended this conference. Recognizing that deployment issues, support concerns, teaching strategies, learning styles, best practices, etc. are common among the varied CMS/LMS clients (Blackboard, Moodle, Sakai, etc.), this conference invites all faculty, system administrators, CIO’s, Web developers, instructional designers, librarians, students, and user support staff from institutions that are deploying and/or currently using any Web-based tools, applications or programs, in their teaching and learning.

More Information Here

Looking at Drive

So it occurs to me that if we are moving to a learner center paradigm for education and we are asking students to be self directed, we better know how to motivate them effectively. So for my next book I have selected Drive: the Surprising Truth About What Motivates Us by Daniel H. Pink. The book arrived yesterday from amazon and I started right away. Although the book has primarily a business focus I can easily see the implication for education. I actually had to stop myself from reading. I wanted to slow down and reflect a little as I go. The first this that struck me was the seven deadly flaws of Carrot and Stick or Reward and Punishment.

  • They can extinguish intrinsic motivating
  • They can diminish performance
  • They can crush creativity
  • They can crowd out good behavior
  • They can encourage cheating, shortcuts and unethical behavior
  • They can be addictive
  • They can foster short-term thinking

What Common Core is Really

Replacing Quizzes with Games

Often times quizzes are use to ensure students are reading or viewing required course materiel.  I have replaced that with a trivial game.  I take my quiz questions and divide the questions by level of difficulty. I run the game in rounds. Student work in groups or pairs to answer the questions. What I have seen so far is that student apply peer pressure on each other to make sure everyone is prepared for the game. I have also seen more peer mentoring on assignments.  Group members tend to be willing to ask others for help and to help each other when needed. The game is run as follows.

Round one will contain 4 or 5 relatively easy multiple choice questions, each worth one point.  They are given 25 seconds to come up with an answer. Where is no penalty for incorrect answers to these questions. Round one ends with an optional bonus question.  Bonus questions are presented to the students as fill in the blank.  It is optional and is double or nothing on all of the points they have earned on round one questions.

Round two begins with multiple choice questions that are more difficult in nature. Typically 4 or 5 questions, each worth 2 points.  As in round one there is no penalty for incorrect answers. The students are given slightly more time to answer the questions than in round one.  They are given 30 seconds to come up with an answer. Just as in round one, round two ends with a fill in the blank bonus question. It is an optional question and is double or nothing on the point earned in round two.

Round three consists of 4 or 5 fill in the blank questions, with varying levels of difficulty. The questions are worth 5 points apiece and the students are given 45 seconds to come up with their answer. As in previous rounds there are no penalties for incorrect answers on these questions. Round three ends with a super bonus questions.  Typically it is a multiple answer essay question. It is an optional question that is double or nothing on all the points they have earned thus far in the game. To receive credit the students must have all of the correct answers.

Points earned through the game are accumulated over the entire semester with the winning group earning some type of reward. Reward can very from extra credit to the ability to drop assignments. True competition is seen from the groups as they try to egg on other groups to take risks on bonus questions. Interesting feedback was given from the students after last semester.  They actually wanted less time to answer the questions. One on one follow up questioning, reveled that students believed they knew the answers better than others and a shorter time period for answers would be to their advantage.

In future versions of the game I plan on making a few changes.  First I would like to find a way for the students to submit answers electronically.  Second, I am planning on letting the groups choose a group name to increase unity of the group members. Third and finally, I am planning on placing hints or clues within the lecture materiel as too what the final super bonus question will be.  Further update will come as the game is rolled out this semester.