Active Learning Approaches and Ideas
MIT OpenCourseWare: The OCW Educator project offers a series of videos on active learning featuring Janet Rankin, the Interim Director of the MIT Teaching and Learning Laboratory and her course "Teaching College-Level Science and Engineering." She provides an overview of active learning and then, in each subsequent video, describes an active learning strategy and offers advice for instructors implementing the strategy for the first time. Many of the videos include classroom footage of the strategy in action.
Externally-collaborative, Project-based, Interdisciplinary Curricula for Learning (EPIC Learning): EPIC Learning is an active learning method that "closely mirrors what goes on in real workplaces across the country." It is an initiative of the Wentworth Institute of Technology. The site provides ideas and suggestions from real courses that have used the EPIC Learning approach.
These documents, put together by Mount Wachusett Community College, provide the basic steps for generic several active learning strategies, like jigsaw or think-pair-share. They also offer valuable information on other activities that ABLConnect doesn't cover, like the "Wagon Wheel" and "Fishbowl," among others. Check out their excellent guide to Active Learning Strategies and Collaborative Group Work Protocol for valuable suggestions on how to implement active learning in your class.
Polling and "Clickers":
Learning Catalytics: Interactive classroom management tool. Access students on their smart phones and laptops in real time, using open ended or structured questions with text, numerical, or graphic responses to probe student understanding. Think next generation clicker system. Free for Harvard classes.
Qualtrics: Online survey system. Easily design and field surveys for your class, inside our outside the classroom. Lots of features for embedding media and randomization. Immediately see class data graphics or download data for analysis. Free to HBS and FAS faculty/students/administrators.
Poll Everywhere: Similar to Learning Catalytics. Gather live responses to discussion questions, create quizzes, or poll the class. See results immediately and put them in your powerpoints. Can be used with Twitter for live twitter feeds during class. Free for classes of 40 people or less.
TurningPoint: Polling technology offered in collaboration with the Harvard Academic Technology Group (ATG). Students can register for free to use their browser or phone or can purchase a clicker. Free for instructors. Contact ATG.
Socrative: Polling technology that also includes games, "exit tickets," and other types of questions. Can be used with a smart phone, laptop, or table. Emails grade reports to the instructor. Free.
AskUp: AskUp is a flashcard app that students can use to aid in remembering facts and concepts. It helps students make sense and remember material they learn in class, at home, or in the hospital. It uses evidence-based principles to improve learning.
Answering Student Questions:
NB: Text annotation tool. Upload pdfs and have your students jot notes in the margins and respond to each other's comments and questions. Students can choose to have the entire class see their notes, just the staff, or nobody. NB is an MIT initiative and is free for Harvard instructors.
Piazza: Easy to use web forum that allows instructors and classmates to answer each other's questions. Questions can be tagged, and answers can be edited in a "wiki"-like manner. Instructors can endorse answers, mark when a discussion has been resolved, and can tract participation. Free.
Presentations and Concepts:
MindMeister: "Mind Mapping" website. Create collaborative concept maps. Allows two or more users to work on a map at the same time. Users can add images. Saves the history of the map, so the user can see how the map developed. Maps can be exported into pdfs. Free.
Prezi: Interactive presentation tool. Creates powerpoint-like presentations that are more dynamic and visually appealing. The pieces of the presentation create a unified whole that the user can view by zooming out. Embed videos and animation. Free to use basic features.
Picturing to Learn: A science program devoted to the idea that drawings of concepts can reveal misconceptions. Includes a database of 3,000 analyzed drawings and their related prompts from undergraduate science classes. Free.
EduClip: Enables site visitors to search video collections of thought leaders and world-class practitioners for content on a wide variety of topics. Sentences on particular topics are highlighted and quickly accessible to teachers and learners.
dotSUB: Online database with subtitled videos. Upload, watch, translate, and add subtitles to videos in any language. Great for language classes.
Critical Commons: Free online tool for media-based teaching. The user can view, tag, share, and annotate media. Provides clips a la YouTube but organized around academic concepts. Also provides information on fair use and copyright reform.
Games and Simulations:
EconVision: Web based platform for interactive game experiments and simulations. Students play structured games against each other in class or out of class. In real time or asynchronously. Free for Harvard classes.
For other technology links, check out Harvard's Technology for Teaching, Learning & Research website.