Archive for July 10, 2012

How do faculty learn about and use Peer Instruction?

Passing on a request from the PI Network:
From Mike Reese

How do teaching innovations spread among faculty?  I am exploring this research question as a sociology doctoral student at Johns Hopkins University.  I am working with several faculty, including Dr. Eric Mazur, to examine the diffusion patterns of the teaching methods they pioneered as part of my dissertation project.
Would you be willing to participate in my dissertation study by completing a short survey?
I’m interested in your response even if you are not an instructor or don’t use Peer Instruction in your class.  As a sociologist, I’m exploring how information about Peer Instruction spreads, not how instructors use it.  “Don’t remember” and “Don’t Use” are valid responses on several questions.
The survey can be completed in as little as 7 minutes with only 2 open-response questions in addition to several multiple choice/rating questions.  All participants will be entered into a raffle for one of eight $25 Amazon.com gift cards or a $100 gift card. No sensitive personal information will be asked beyond your role and colleges at which you have taught/worked.  All data will be kept strictly confidential and will not be publicly shared.  Any publications or presentations resulting from this research will only include aggregate summaries or anonymous quotes. To ensure timely analysis of the data, I am asking all participants to complete the survey by Friday, July 20th.
I know your time is valuable—thank you for your help with this research.  Please don’t hesitate to contact me with any questions.Sincerely,

Mike Reese
Johns Hopkins  Sociology Doctoral Student

July 10, 2012 at 1:01 pm 2 comments

Does learning occur differently with physical or digital print?

I’m skeptical about this claim: That your brain interprets text in books differently than text in digital form.  One argument in support of the claim is an observation (not much data) that we have to re-read digital information more often than print information before we remember it, but doesn’t offer a theory for why that should be true.  I find this second claim a bit more plausible: That our memories rely on contextual information, and physical books provide us more cues to support recalling what we read.  I wonder, though, if we might not be able to provide more contextual cues through the interface.  I’ve started reading the “Our Choice” app on my iPad, and there are lots of cues in that book to provide a sense of “place” (what page you’re on, what pages are around you, what chapter you’re in).

But without stronger evidence that there is a difference, I’m going to keep reading on my iPad and Kindle (well, once I get a new Kindle — my Kindle’s screen died somewhere during my trip to Venice this last weekend).

In other words, the human brain uses location to recall the words it reads, which helps reinforce the information. To trigger a memory, the brain might recall whether it read the information at the top, middle, or bottom of the page, remember a corresponding picture on the page, or even a page number — essentially creating a mental bookmark to cue recall of the information.

“Anyone who has read an e-book can attest that the page provides fewer spatial landmarks than print,” Changizi continues. “In a sense, the page is scrolled without incident, infinite and limitless, which can be dizzying. On the other hand, printed books give physical reference points, which can be particularly helpful in recalling how far along in the book we are, something that’s more challenging to assess on an e-book.”

via Are E-Books Bad for Your Memory? – Mobiledia.

July 10, 2012 at 4:20 am 4 comments


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