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The Big Picture: Don't Sweat The Details

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Jon Westfall

on 28 June 2013

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Transcript of The Big Picture: Don't Sweat The Details

The Big Picture:
Don't Sweat The Details

The Problem
Anyone can memorize details for a simple recognition or recall task.
We recognize in our own areas that details aren't enough
Expertise does not require memorized details
Yet we feel like we're 'cheating' when we don't give details or rapid fire facts to students
What Do We Know About Experts?
They recognize patterns (De Groot, 1965) and they know how to deal with them when they see them (Newell & Simon, 1972)
They can recognize 'chunks' in problems (Anderson, 1999)
Expertise is domain-specific and takes around 10 years to develop (Ericsson & Lehmann, 1996)
They use clear criteria, avoid excessive navigation, and reflect on strategies. They also have background knowledge and a positive attitude (Tabatabai & Shore, 2005)
In teaching, they choose and use examples that are consistent with the learning objective. (Mohamed & Sulaiman (2010).
In essence, they don't give examples for the details, they give examples for the commonality.
What do We Know About Students?
When solving problems, they show evidence of mastery
Anderson's geometric proofs (Anderson, 1982)
Physics equations (Sweller, Mawer, & Ward, 1983)
Latency in addition (Logan & Klapp, 1991)
They don't generalize from one context to another (Carraher, Carraher, & Schliemann, 1985).
Formal discipline (Angell, 1908, Pillsbury, 1908) does not work.
Transfer does happen when mediated by identical elements (e.g., Thorndike, 1906)
The Hard Facts of Life (For Professors)
We want to build experts / masters.
Students may, or may not, want to become masters or experts.
Evaluations Sting!
We know we need more time or resources (or both) to accomplish our goal of expert building.
And we're practical - we can't teach it all in 1 class.
What We Can Do
Encourage "Deliberate Practice" (Ericsson, Krampe, & Tesch-Romer, 1993)
Incorporate "Mastery Learning" (Guskey & Gates, 1986; Kullik, Kullik, & Bangert-Downs, 1990)
Consider giving cumulative finals (Khanna, Bandura Brack, & Finken, 2013)
Use Groups, but only over a brief period (1-3 classes), higher interdependence, and no presentations! (Tomcho & Foels, 2012)
Encourage a Study-Test strategy rather than a Study-Study strategy (Einstein, Mullet, & Harrison, 2012)
Understand expectations regarding textbook reading - Students expect they will learn less, and enjoy the class less if they are expected to read rather than told to use the book as a resource (Marek & Christopher, 2011)
Consider using a computer-based test (Frein, 2011)
Consider what students think effort should count for, compared to what we think it should count for (Zinn et. al. 2011)
Attendance does not always equal better performance (Golding, 2011)
Shh... Jon's Cheat Sheet
These are tools I use, and how I use them to achieve my goal...
Moodle (Cost: 1/2 hour setup, < $10 a month, Possibly Free)
Socrative (Cost: Free)
Evernote (Cost: Free)
Google Docs (Cost: Free)
Google Voice (Cost: Free) + An Introductory Survey Assignment
Mendeley (Cost: Free)
LuLu.com (Cost: Free to use, Printing costs)
Text Expansion software

Things I'm considering...
Credley / Badges / Achievements (Cost: Free)
Prezi (More so than now!) (Cost: Free (Educator upgrade allows private prezis)
xMind (Cost: Free, Educator upgrade gives more features)
This Talk:
Article Cited:
Student Individual Differences
Need for Cognition (Evans, Kirby, & Fabrigar (2003)
Visual and Verbal learners are not the same cognitively (Mayer & Massa, 2003)
Metacognition changes as expertise grows (Veenman & Elshout, 1999)
Our time & resources
Full transcript