Classroom Strategies

Here are some digital projects for simple teaching strategies that were implemented within PIDP 3250 :

1- Learning Log New
When I started teaching online, I was given the advice to seek assessments that include elements that evaluate level of thoughtfulness, depth, and personalization of students. I found that logs and journals are two simple strategies that are feasible to implement online and can reinforce reflective teaching and learning by helping students construct knowledge for themselves. In the infographic provided by my colleague Eleanor Knight, she provided an illustration for the reflection cycle that can be allow students to reflect their own thinking by looking back, looking in and looking forward. In addition to the advantages she mentioned in the infographic, logs are great means for educators to monitor learners’ progress over time, they can be used as a study-review, if used for assessment it can reduce the rates of cheating as logs measure the depth of learning. The disadvantage of “content of log can be over personal or inappropriate “ I believe it can be eliminated with the proper educator’s guidelines or rubric. I always encourage my students to revisit their log entries to identify how their thoughts and ideas have developed or changed.

2- Learning From Mistakes

As a programming instructor, failure is part of any achievement. I have two ways to encourage students learn from their mistakes. First, I frankly share my own failures and common errors that I did when I started programming, I assure them that I am still doing plenty, and that each bug is enhancing our experiences as programmers, push us to think out of the box and come up with innovative ways and solutions as we are debugging or correcting  our codes. Second, at the beginning of each lab I teach, I place a logo “Code- Test- Debug-learn” to make students at ease when doing mistakes as they realize that mistakes are vital for their learning, that safe environment to make a mistake and learn from helped me as educator as student stopped cheating and coping codes from one another instead they started to share their mistakes and move towards learning from them. My colleague Barameswari Thoreraj in her video posted on October, 2016 stated that educators play an important role in getting students to embrace their mistakes instead of fearing them, I believe that it is very crucial especially at younger age, if we are seeking a generation of risk-takers and creative thinkers we need to teach children to learn from and improve from their mistakes. this can only happen when they think of mistakes as part of their learning journey.

3- Debate Split Room

Done by Fatima Sheriff, published on July 14, 2016.

Aligning with the discussion forum on debates held this week, I decided to reflect on the debate split room digital project done by Fatima. The very first idea that caught my attention as an online educator that the debate classroom format can be implemented in an online environment via the discussion forum. And though, I don’t believe it would be as effective as the classroom experience where the challenge is superior as participants have to think fast and give immediate responses. Yet it has three key benefits, first it will allow shy students to engage as participants in the online debate, Second, as students take their time they are expected to craft the best responses possible to enable them to win the debate. And last, the online format automatically records the written responses and thus educators can utilize them for further analysis or during the debrief discussion held after the debate. I found some platforms equipped with tools to help educators moderate online debate that I believe are more equipped for debate than using the discussion forum , and I am planning to start experimenting them to be able to incorporate in my future courses.
Here is a few examples for online platforms for debates:

  • EDEB8 : equipped with the a range of styles of debate including British Parliamentary, Lincoln-Douglas, World Schools etc.
  • The International Debate Education Association (IDEA) : it facilitates debate between youth, classes, schools and even countries
  • :  popular website where individuals from around the world debate with one another
  • Create Debate : is a learning tool that can help students to sort their viewpoints and opinions, it help  to reach out consensus and achieve better understanding.

4- Student Self-Assessment

Marni Bedrish posted an infographic  for an explicit teaching strategy for developing students’ self-Assessment skills on 8th of September, 2016. I liked the topic as many educators assume that self-assessment skills are picked up by students independently, and unfortunately they aren’t, its educator mission to develop them by providing critical reflection on learners assignments, critical reflection that discuss what they achieved, what they struggled with and what they can do to enhance their work.

Leaving these skills means they may never fully develop therefore it will be an essential part of any future course, I will introduce benefits gained when they have self-assessment skills in their learning and jobs , I will ask my students to regularly write short reports critiquing their own work and describing improvements can be made, beside evaluating their own they can look at work of their peers, looking at the work of others prepares students to look critically at their own work as they develop “appraisal expertise (Sadler,2010)” (as cited in Weimer, 2012, January 27). I can discuss examples of effective and ineffective pieces of work which will help them to ” critically review their own work with an eye of improvement (Andrade & Du, 2007)“ (as cited in Weimer, 2010, June 18).
I must take into consideration the key points from research made by David Boud on self-assessment skills, he pointed that for self-assessment skills to develop, learners should consider both assessments for their own and their instructors and start questioning themselves “the reasons they used to justify that self-assessment. What’s wrong with those reasons? What did the teacher see in their work or performance that they missed? What’s involved in the ability to make judgments” (Weimer, 2014, December 10), he also pointed that these skills are not developed after one or two exercises.

Accurate self-assessment requires multiple practices and time as Marni mentioned in her infographic because the goal isn’t a complete match between instructors and learners assessments, but the ability learners to make accurate judgments on their own (Weimer, 2014, December 10).


5- Post-Test Analysis

Done by Marla Becking , 2016, September14.

I find the Post-Test Analysis strategy is far effective than traditional methods such as reviewing the correct responses with students after test. One of the most significant benefits is that it can help students to develop their self-assessment skills. I believe that the two stages of the strategy can help students to become more conscious of their perception of performance and effort which the key to be able self-evaluate their performances.

The idea that students have to list their specific learning strategies and resources that they used to study for the exam is brilliant as I believe that students’ replies can help them to learn how their effort, resources and strategies used are related to their performance and will develop more of their complex critical-thinking skills like analysis, synthesis, and evaluation. Beside the benefits mentioned in the video above, I believe that The approach can improve the teacher-student relationship as students will feel through the process that their educators are keen to help them achieve success not just teach the course content.

Though the strategy seem to be time consuming as mentioned but I believe it will pay off students not only through their learning journey but in their future career life.

6- Digital Storytelling

Done by Heather Burke , 2016, July 24.

Though digital storytelling isn’t a new practice but I never considered using it as a teaching strategy. I always had the perception that this strategy doesn’t work with materialistic courses as programming. After watching Heather’s video I visualized my students talking about complex mathematical and logical concepts through their digital stories and how this can reduce the levels of stress and frustration associated with the subject matter. The strategy is extremely powerful as it can motivate students, add a practical experience that supplements the course content, increase retention rate and understanding of subject matter and promote cooperative and active learning.

I found some good examples of digital stories implemented by students in different areas Math, History etc. in the website of university of Houston. There are plenty of mobile applications for implementation that can be learned in few minutes such as boom writer, 30 hands, and IMovie which I believe can take digital storytelling to a new level as the process is getting much easier and more mobile.

7-  One Minute Paper

Done by Cynthia Grant 2016, May 9.

One minute paper is one of most preferred classroom assessment technique for me. It provides timely and useful feedback with minimum time and effort. It is flexible, can be used anytime within the class, at the beginning to turn on ideas on a topic, during the class to keep students more alert and active, and at the end of the class which I prefer to have students reflect back on the most important concepts covered in the class on that day. Minute paper is mostly an anonymous instrument which gives a valuable opportunity especially for shy students to express their opinions and concerns and the results will be reluctant to use by educators. And the time cost of using this strategy and analyzing its results is shorter than other instruments even in large classroom as educators can analyze a sample of paper.

8- Role-Playing

Done by Taryn Hubbard, 2016, September 11.

Role-playing isn’t just an effective teaching strategy that engage students in a learning experience. I consider as one of the most memorable and motivating activities in any course I taught. Each time students take on the role of another person  i.e. “walking in another’s shoes” , they enhance their communication skills, take opportunities to express their feelings, explore new ideas  and address multiple intelligences  and increase their awareness of how others think and feel.

Though some of drawbacks of role-playing that include time consuming, polarization and students’ shyness. Yet I believe that the strategy gives great opportunity for learning and engagement as it involves planning, observation, moments of joy and sometimes laugh during presentations, clapping , and most important  is the follow-up discussion or “debrief the provide effective feedback on what was presented and more clarification and understanding on the related topic.

9- Think-Pair- Share

Done by Andrea McKenzie, 2016, April 29.

Think–pair–share is a popular cooperative learning strategy that provides opportunities for students to participate, learn from others and make connections. The most important benefit of utilizing this strategy is that it is not only tailored in favor of extroverts but it includes introverts as well. After the teacher pose the question, she ask students to think privately which gives introverts the time they need to process. When students are asked to pair up, introverts get the experience of articulating their thoughts out loud but in front of only one other student. During sharing stage, introverts would have warmed up with one other student, thus they are then much more likely to want to share with the whole class.