Wednesday, March 5, 2008

Powerful learning !

I really don't know why I titled the post that way :) , but yes it has got something to do with effective learning , more specifically - ' Effective Teaching '.

Most of us remember some specific teachers more from our school days than the usual ones who used to help us cram up our lessons. The way they used to teach, the methodologies they employed, their conduct in class everything together made sure that the learnings they imparted always had a special place in our brains. Some of course , still rose to higher standards by just making us sit in awe and listen , imparting an inspiration to learn and perform !

I have always been a fan of good delivery methods in teaching (for that matter who isn't ?) I do make it a point to keep a tab on methods used by different teachers & professionals whom I bump into once in a while. I later try to use and test them in my own sessions to see the effectiveness. More recently, I have shifted to the Internet to observe and learn such techniques and have come to believe that the net is going to revolutionize learning in a way none of us could have imagined a couple of years back.

The idea is pretty simple . The net breaks couple of very important barriers (Often repeated, but yes, worth a read ) :
1. Geography.
This doesnt need explanation, the best of the best teachers can come to the student , transcending geographical boundaries.

2. University entry barriers .
While a teacher can be accomplished cos of his individual brilliance, an entire university working towards a common goal can be still more amazing. Some of the best demo videos, curriculum, course materials are increasingly becoming online for free. While you need to clear an exam and a rigorous exam process to get there and see it live, you could settle for a video without any of that effort. I agree that the kick of the live interaction is different, but then thousands of students can anyway never sit in a MIT classroom together, what they can however is logon to a video lecture together. And technologies are at it in increasing the interactive experience.

3. Amazing ideas .
When you see some of the people across the globe using innovative ways of learning and teaching , you tend to know how some simple things can help create powerful impact .A cool example that I learnt from Prof Randy Pausch of CMU is the idea of a 'head fake' - If the learner never knows the real learning that she is being imparted ( which is often boring) and is actually made to go through an experience that is pure fun for her, then the rate of learning & assimilation of ideas is far more superior. Prof Pausch used it in learning, but I can see that some other institutions too are using the same funda in enriching human lives as in the video below.

An interesting work of Prof Randy is in the Alice project where children are taught programming through a fun filled method.

And to conclude, the net's prowess might not end up with just teaching kids and children , it might as well help as in community initiatives like the Digital Green program of Microsoft Research

1 comment:

SB said...

Really very informative.

Inspired me a lot !!!