uLearn: Day One Key Note

Wow! What an amazing opportunity! 
I walked in to the uLearn Conference not sure of what I should expect and not understanding the huge scale of this learning opportunity. I was blown away at the people, the presenters and the keynotes. 

Our First Key Note was Eric Mazur
Harvard professor - physics - Lecturer

He spoke about life BC - before computers, which is an uncommon thought in this day and age!
He asked about the transmission of knowledge?! Can you do this? and how do you? He said that the Transmission of information was a lecture and that this was not the way to help students understand information. So it is interesting to think about what is happening in our university halls... Are we preparing students for todays workforce by standing at the front of a room and talking about our own knowledge?

Next he went on to talk about "the curse of knowledge", which is the theory that once you understand something it is hard to explain how you got to that point. Someone who has just learnt the information is more likely to convince someone else of that knowledge because they can see the knowledge from a different point of view.

Eric went on to say that we need to get the brain engaged. He had changed the way that he was teaching and was now including a learn-create-share element in his lessons. He would ask a question with the aim that 30-70% can get the right answer. Then he would instruct his students to find someone with a different answer and try to convince them of your answer. After this he would get the students to revote on the final answer - he found that more students around 90% had the correct answer after doing it this way.

Asking a question and getting students to transfer and apply the knowledge that he had been speaking about allowed his students to have a deeper understanding of the concepts he was teaching. Which makes sense. He then went on to talking about a new programme that he had developed called Perusall - which is similar to google docs. He would give students a reading and ask them to annotate notes down the side - students could leave comments for others when they were unsure or to deepen their understanding. He started to use this information and created a rubric where students would get credit for their answers and comments. Pretty cool to see this happening in a university setting!

It was also really cool to have an artist taking notes during the key notes! Here is the first one:

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