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  • 1.  IMPACT in Action -  Incorporating Active Learning in a Demanding Course Schedule

    Posted 10-25-2021 08:32:00

    How do you create Active Learning activities that actively engage the students while developing proficiency in the mathematics content?

    Karen Gaines
    myAMATYC Online Community Coordinator
    Professor Emeritus - St. Louis CC-Meramec
    Kirkwood MO

  • 2.  RE: IMPACT in Action -  Incorporating Active Learning in a Demanding Course Schedule

    Posted 10-26-2021 11:46:00
    Hi Karen,

    I use POGIL, Process Oriented Guided Inquiry Learning. It is a framework that has students develop ideas and concepts on their own, while supporting necessary process skills. From their FAQs:

    "POGIL is based on the biology of learning (e.g. Zull, 2002), and has been developed and validated over the last 15 years, primarily in chemistry education (e.g. Moog, Spencer, 2008). In POGIL, teams of learners (typically 3-4) work on scripted inquiry activities and investigations designed to help them construct their own knowledge, often by modeling the original processes of discovery and research. The teams follow processes with specific roles, steps, and reports that encourage individual responsibility and metacognition. POGIL activities and processes are designed to achieve specific learning objectives. The instructor serves as a facilitator, not a lecturer. Multiple studies have examined the effectiveness of POGIL, and generally find that POGIL significantly improves student outcomes. "

    I started using active learning after listening to Dr. Eric Mazur talk about peer instruction. I thought his ideas were great, but at the time I didn't have the teaching experience to pose questions that would spur the conversations necessary to that method. I came across POGIL and it seemed to have everything I didn't: a way of structuring activities to be meaningful for students, a clear approach to classroom facilitation and student groups, and a way of talking about learning and process skills. Initially I fought many of the POGIL recommendations, and in hindsight it was my ego that prevented me from acknowledging that I didn't have all the answers. Now, I am happy to use the knowledge and experience of hundreds of POGIL practitioners, and those involved in the NSF grants to develop the framework.

    My favorite part of my job right now is participating in POGIL activity reviews. Getting to work with others on improving activities, learning new methods and approaches, and suggesting solutions is well worth sacrificing some work time.

    Robert Weston, he/him/his
    Clark College
    Vancouver WA

  • 3.  RE: IMPACT in Action -  Incorporating Active Learning in a Demanding Course Schedule

    Posted 10-26-2021 12:04:00
    Great ideas. I actually observed Laura Lens during my sabbatical years ago. The Calculus activities she and the other authors created are great. I used them in my classes and know that others in my department valued them also. 

    I find that I really value collaborations when creating activities. I really enjoy working with people in different industries - especially in STEM careers.  Otherwise I find my activities are too contrived and often don't involve as much rigor as I strive for.
    Karen Gaines
    Professor Emeritus - St. Louis Community College
    Coordinator - AMATYC Online Community

    Project Director - AMATYC Teaching for PROWESS (NSF Grant)

    Dream Team - IMPACT Live!


  • 4.  RE: IMPACT in Action -  Incorporating Active Learning in a Demanding Course Schedule

    Posted 11-22-2021 12:04:00
    Hi Robert,
     Like you, I was also impressed by Eric Mazur's live presentation and began adding active learning, not just in the classroom, but also in HW. In my College Algebra projects, I use active learning or inquiry type questions, so students can think about a real world problem. In the classroom, I try some active learning, but often it takes a lot of time. My frustration is with students who want a quick answer and do not like dwelling in mathematical thinking.
    But I do call on every student in the class, within a week, so noone can hide in the class. Some of them have to write answers with steps on the board or speak aloud. And lecture time is minimized. There is plenty of discussion time, though.
    I wish I could get them more actively studying outside of class instead of relying on tutoring, friends or "get help" features.

    Manisha Ranade
    Santa Fe College
    Gainesville FL

  • 5.  RE: IMPACT in Action -  Incorporating Active Learning in a Demanding Course Schedule

    Posted 10-29-2021 11:56:00
    I love using paired board work. I get to see how my my students are thinking about the math and they can see how their colleagues think as well. Another bonus is I can remediate foundational skill difficulties.

    Laura Watkins
    Glendale CC
    Glendale AZ

  • 6.  RE: IMPACT in Action -  Incorporating Active Learning in a Demanding Course Schedule

    Posted 10-30-2021 19:04:00
    This response may open up a different issue than that posed by Karen...but is an important issue...

    It is important to create activities such that student feel the need to engage in mathematical thinking...problem that activity may come more naturally since there is something substantial to think about...

    But here is the new part of the issue...the task needs to allow for the mathematical idea to come out. That is, sometimes I see really cool, fun tasks conducted that students find interesting...but the big mathematical idea is avoided.

    Here are some examples of what I mean by big mathematical ideas...proportional reasoning, algebraic structure, equality, covariation...

    Scott Adamson
    Chandler-Gilbert CC
    Chandler AZ

  • 7.  RE: IMPACT in Action -  Incorporating Active Learning in a Demanding Course Schedule

    Posted 10-31-2021 15:50:00
    I use a similar approach to POGIL. I published an article on it in 2018 and presented at AMATYC around the same time. It uses the Learning Process Methodology to create activities where each component of the activity aligns with the model of the learning process. Here is a link:
    This is published in the International Journal of Process Education. The Academy of Process Educators is where Dave Hanson, one of the founders of POGIL got his start. Feel free to reach out to me if you have any questions.

    Matthew Watts
    Assistant Professor
    Red Rocks CC
    Lakeside CO