Thursday, July 29, 2010

Five Easy Lessons by Randall D Knight

I'm reading a book recommended by the physics faculty at MiraCosta called "Five Easy Lessons." The ironic thing about the title is the term easy. Easy lessons? Not even close. There is nothing easy about learning or teaching physics.

This book provides many strategies and tools for student success in physics. The most poignant point is that most people learn physics by active learning instead of the traditional lecture/note-taking format.

I feel good because I implemented some of the ideas of this text last semester unknowingly and received good feedback from my students. I think someone suggested I try demos with partner discussions. I developed this into entire class periods of discussion about various slides and diagrams I put up on PowerPoint. Students broke into pairs to discuss a large question that I would propose via PowerPoint. We would convene again to discuss it as a class.
The difficult part is that I have many more things I could incorporate to increase my students' learning even more than I did last semester. There are computer tutorials, classroom automated feedback systems, flashcards and other methods of providing near-instantaneous feedback to the students. A project for the future!
The key is to provide as much feedback as possible as quickly as possible.
Not so easy, huh?