In the summer of 2016, I completed a MOOC based in Australia designed to help teachers, facilitators and/or educators to reach out and help their adult learners. There were a lot of good activities, I should be able to use some myself. One idea was the “Values Line” where students were asked to make a value judgement about a controversial topic. They would then line up on a number scale somewhere between one and ten (or whatever number set chosen) after which the class would be split in half. People on side one are then paired with people on the other (with differing opinions). In pairs, each person is given a minute (or two) to explain their reason(s) for agreement or disagreement on the subject. This activity promotes active listening and doesn’t suggest persuading one’s partner, rather understanding her/his reasons for supporting or disagreeing with the topic of controversy. This also a great way to build camaraderie among classmates and I plan to use this next semester for use as an icebreaker.
I have two things worth mentioning and one is that because education is changing so quickly, students ultimately expect more from their classes and teachers. So much of the content is now available online and there weren’t any strategies for use in blended learning and/or flipped classrooms. While the activities presented may work well in a face to face envioronment, I felt that the online portion of courses was desperately needed here (especially since this was an online course to begin with).
Secondly, one of my pet peeves Howard Gardner’s “Multiple Intelliegences” theory was once again used to try to determine the best ways that students learn. This theory has been branded by some as “pseudoscience” or “junk science”. Waterhouse and Lynn (2006a) go so far to say that “there is little empirical evidence to support MI” and that “cognitive neuroscience research does not support the theory of multiple intelligences”. Those two complaints being aired, I still feel the course was worth the time invested and suggest taking it if you have a few extra hours per week and want some new ideas for your classroon.
Waterhouse, Lynn (Fall 2006a). “Multiple Intelligences, the Mozart Effect, and Emotional Intelligence: A critical review”. Educational Psychologist. 41 (4): 207–225.