Tuesday, July 19, 2011

Frank Noschese's TED Talk*

* DISCLAIMER: I'm making this up.

[Dramatic TED music.]


Thank you everyone. We've heard some fascinating talks today from some very knowledgeable people. Not only are the ideas great, but the lectures have been funny, exciting and engaging. And they really need to be. Every speaker here wants everyone to walk out of the room having learned more about their research, their work, or their writing.

I wonder, though: is a lecture the best way to do this?

Full disclosure: I'm a high school physics teacher, and there are often debates between those who think that the future of education is taking short lectures and distributing freely and widely, and those who think that there is something better than lecturing.

So what I thought we'd do today is run a little bit of an experiment. Let's do a quick poll to start things off. Text your answer to this number, and we'll get the poll results immediately and put them up.

[The question is a counter-intuitive implication of a point made by one of the previous speakers. Like, maybe the previous speaker.]

OK, so we've got the results and here they are.

They're not bad. Most folks got the answer correct. A big group didn't. That's not entirely surprising. Research supports the limitations of lecturing, and the research is constantly confirmed by any classroom teacher.

Now, if you're an educator, you might say, well, what can you do? Most of the people listening to the talk got the point, and you'll get the rest through remediation and tutoring. Send them to Khan Academy or keep them after school.

The issue is, that's pretty inefficient. There are other issues as well (etc.)

It would be great if we could do better than this. So that's what I propose we spend the next 15 minutes doing. Let's try something, and you won't have to believe me that it's better than lecturing. You're going to see for yourselves that it is.

First, I need to tell you an important fact about something called the modeling method. At its heart is the modeling cycle, which begins with modeling development, and is followed by modeling deployment. Here's what those terms mean... Now, remember this, because this is important.

Now, let's try something all together different.

[Insert: inquiry-based, modeling learning here. It can be about anything that you like. Here's how you pull it off:
* Start with another text poll to figure out how many folks get the answer
* Recruit a bunch of educators to help you.
* Have the educators pass out materials.
* Educators go around to groups and ask Socratic questions to groups of people in the audience. ]

OK, now let's all come back together. Sir in the front, what did your group's experiment show, please come up and show us.


Now, let's end with two polls. Right before the experiment, I told you an important fact about how modeling instruction works. Let's see how many of you remember that fact, which I told you, and I told you was very important.

[Poll results.]

OK, I'd say just OK. Now, let's ask another question, based on what you learned through inquiry and experiment.

[Show results.]

Let's not do lecturing better -- ladies and gentlemen, let's do better things.