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Hey there, everybody! My question is primarily for Bio/Anatomy/Marine teachers.
Obviously, a lot of our subjects are content-driven, which means that, at least for a decent amount of the year, we have to provide direct instruction. How do you personally deliver that direct instruction? Do you use your whiteboards primarily, or PowerPoint, or Prezi, or another way of "getting the info" to the students? I'm curious as to what others are doing in the classrooms, and particularly how you modify your direct instruction to also include greater amounts of student engagement.
I personally use a lot of PowerPoint, but this ain't your college professors' PowerPoint! I've worked hard to squeeze every ounce of functionality out of PowerPoint my embedding videos that play within the slideshow (rather than going out to Youtube or a website), using animations to make "question boxes" appear, then disappear within the same slide, etc. What tricks do you use in your given delivery method to enhance student engagement? I'd love some new ideas!
This thread was posted on April 3, 2014 at 9:39 AM ET by Caitlin Johnston .
|| 4 Replies | Last on 1/22/2019 at 6:17 AM ET|
I have recently tried embedding some survey questions that kids respond to using smart response clickers or socrative.com (works with smart phones) and sometimes I just do little notecards that have the anatomical structures that we are studying or the components of the system we are in and have the students either arrange themselves into the correct sequence or from largest to smallest, since these seem to be the most difficult concepts for students. I also try to find some excuse for students to have to move...on occasion I will print out my notes...insert blanks for key terms and have students walk around the room in a certain order and find the correct term.
I teach at a medical school, so my experience is different but many generalities will transfer. To address your question about how do I deliver direct instruction, the answer is all of the above and more. I believe changing things up helps to maintain student attention. Moreover, different modes of delivery are better for different types of material. For instance, I deliver most of my lectures using Flash animations that I’ve developed. However, one of the lectures I present is Population Genetics, and I see no advantage to animations for that material. So I start the lecture with a screen introducing the subject, but when I click it goes blank. I pretend I’m having technical difficulties, then click again and the words “Not Tonight I Have a Headache” bounce in. When the students stop laughing I turn off the projector, turn up the lights and show them how to work out problems on the white board.
Another thing I do to engage students is ask for volunteers. For instance, there are several places where I ask for students to help handle props that I use to demonstrate concepts. Seeing their classmates at the head of classroom gets their attention. Moreover, the old school props give them a break from the animations which are engaging and effective, but would get old if that’s all I used.
I think making direct instruction as interactive as possible is important because if the students jsut sit there and copy notes for 20 minutes or more they are not getting anything out of it. I like asking questions, doing practice problems, having students share ideas in the middle, anything that gets them interacting with the material during direct instruciton is a positive. I mainly use Powepoint as well, but I really think it is all about the delivery.
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