New Learning and Understanding Our Students

In my opinion, many university professors continue to use the medieval lecture model of teaching which may not be the best way to engage today’s students. On many occasions I’ve seen colleagues go off on a tirade because their students “just don’t get” the importance of what they are lecturing about.  Maybe their students haven’t been provided the right context to know why or an appropriate method to learn the importance of what they are being taught.  We as educators need to better understand our students if we want to them to succeed.  We need to spend more time understanding today’s student and the cultural milieu in which they get, process, and use information.

These videos address what I’m saying about understanding today’s students:

and about Web 2.0 and its potential for learning:

and this one about media literacy:

We need to explore new ways of delivering our content and engaging students. Just look at the faces of the students in this video and tell me that they aren’t learning:

The best way to learning may not be the  “full frontal assault” of a lecture. I really like what Randy Pausch called the “head fake” approach to learning, i.e. get students interested in learning without them realizing it.  This man was an amazing individual that we can all learn from. The “last lecture” video should be required viewing for all professors:

These people and what they have to say have had a profound effect on me over the last year, and it is now what I’m dedicating the my time to.

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About Michael Ritter PhD
Professor of Geography at the University of Wisconsin-Stevens Point, science textbook author, educational technology blogger, podcaster, and freelance media consultant.

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