Favorite Principles


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Steve Gilbert's Favorite Principles
for Teaching, Learning, and Technology
  1. Nothing different is the same.
    Nothing is the same as being there.  No transmission, no recording!
    [May be better or worse - depends on purpose, .....]
    Also see #14 below.

  2. Try it.
    Trust your own observations, judgment.
    Don't trust those who have NOT "tried it."

  3. Voice is an important part of  identity.
    We don't understand why, how.   Note that highly successful computer animation movies use human actors' voices.
    Boudreaux goes to Paris"     "Detweiler on Shared Governance, Trade-offs, and Truth"

  4. Hybrids always win.
    Place, schedule, media, synchronous/asynchronous, responsibility, stage of expertise, authority, responsibility, role

  5. Using the Web is about controlling access, notification, viewing/hearing.
    All of the following are ways of controlling what we see/hear from a computer.  Each provides different ways of doing so.  Many appear to have been named and initially described in ways likely to offend or discourage the majority of normal human beings from trying them.  Don't be deterred - these can be VERY useful - and easy to begin using!
    Email, Google, Google Desktop, Feed2JS, feeds, Flashlight Online, Writely, Skype, FaceBook, MySpace, blogs, wikis, podcasting, social networking, Web 2.0 ....?
    Steve Gilbert's favorite info tech tools - mostly free, mostly easy to use - LTAs

  6. Lifelong learning isn't just for "them."
    Need universal, lifelong, hybrid professional development
    What resources are required?  Available?
    TLT Group's Online Institute - hybrid professional development
    Take advantage of LTAs!  (Low-Threshold Applications/Activities)

  7. "You are not alone!" - Collaborative Teaching
    Context for hope:  collaboration for professional development.
    "You are not alone!" - soccer coach.
    Collaborative Teaching:  Perhaps the most significant change - desirable, needed, difficult -  [e.g., MIT EECS "Cadre" model].  And "Collaborative Learning" - including team-based learning, isn't so easy either.

  8. Beware of those who most strongly advocate/reject "scalable" educational improvements.
    Don't expect a "Moore's Law" of human learning.   Don't dismiss/accept all educational research.
    See "Seven Principles of Good Practice for Undergraduate Education" [Could the 8th be "Caring"?]

    nformation technology revolution brings no easy, fast windfalls of efficiency for teaching/learning.
    No Educational ATMs.  Educational research can provide some useful guidance.  So can experienced teachers.
    Some educational improvements can be used by a wide variety of faculty.  Some faculty members have combinations of skills, attitudes, personalities, ...  that can be unusually effective in helping some students.

  9. Personalize Pedagogy!
    As much variety among teachers, administrators as among learners.
    Not teacher-independent "learning objects" - not just adding Betty Crocker's egg!

    Teach to Fish or Give a Fish?
    A course is not a pizza!

  10. We can't keep up.
    Too many attractive new options, too much info, too fast - can't keep up!
    Strategic Planning is changing. 
    "If working 24 hours a day isn't enough, you have to work nights." - James Moss, ca. 1985, USNA

    Overloaditorium        Keeping Up - Steven Bell

  11. All important, difficult decisions are political.  So is assessment.
    Many "Dangerous Discussions" topics can be handled civilly, constructively. 
    The best kind of assessment is really about giving, getting, and using feedback respectfully and effectively.

    See Flashlight!

  12. Class size matters.
    Covering vs. Sampling.

  13. Students can be educational resources - take active roles. 
    Some students, some of the time.
    Highly constructive assessment?

  14. Don't expect old models to work under new conditions.
    At least not the same way.
    - Dissemination of innovation - especially educational uses of information technology.
    - Strategic planning.
    - Professional development.
    - Shared governance.
    When conditions change, the same process cannot produce the same results.
    No leader can mandate the results of an inclusive, consensual planning process.

  15. Decide with uncertainty. [e.g., about "next step" in online education]
    - COLLABORATION, EXPERIENCE, ENTHUSIASM:  Favor collaborative groups of enthusiastic colleagues that include Compassionate Pioneers.  [Compassionate Pioneers are those who not only - reach beyond their own limits and lead the way in developing or trying new options, but who also encourage and help their colleagues to take the same path.] 
    Favor those who have "tried it" and still want to move ahead!

    - AUDIENCE & PURPOSE:  Favor project/programs/products that are clear about WHO they are serving, WHY, and HOW.
    - RESPECT DIFFERENCES:  Favor projects/programs/products that respect and address differences in learning needs and teaching needs.
    - CONSTRUCTIVE FEEDBACK:  Favor projects/programs/products that actively solicit and use frequent constructive feedback from students and colleagues.
    - LTAs:  Favor LTAs and other ways of using resources that are already available easily, comfortably, inexpensively - esp. using students as resources!
    FLEXIBILITY:  Favor projects/programs/products that do NOT "lock people in" to their usage for more than a year or two.
    - SUSTAINABLE SUPPORT:  Favor projects/programs/products that are and will be well supported for the duration of the anticipated useful life:   when things go wrong, it is obvious how to get help, easy to do so, and no one will be made to feel like an idiot.  [NOTE:  At many higher education institutions the incentive system makes it unlikely that a faculty member will support for very long an educational innovation he/she has developed.]

  16. Improvements vs. Transformations
    Incremental change is often much more palatable, feasible, and realistic than "innovation."
    One person's change may/may not be another person's transformation!
    Some people like to be and/or be perceived as "innovators."  Others don't really want to be the "first on your block..."




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contact:  Sally Gilbert

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