Category Archives: Professional Development

Literacy and the Learning Sciences

“A second program of research addressing multimedia learning has been conducted by Richard Mayer and his colleagues and is summarized in Mayer (2001). A caveat relative to this research is that multimedia are construed very narrowly in this research to mean ‘the presentation of material using both words and pictures’ (p. 2) and do not study information technologies specifically. Furthermore, the preponderance of his research has been conducted with young adults. Nevertheless, we include his work because: (a) it is informed by and contributes to a theory of multimedia learning, drawing upon Paivio’s (1986) dual coding theory, Baddeley’s (1992) working memory theory, and Mayer’s (1996) theory of meaningful learning; (b) it attends to the issue of individual differences; and (c) it may productively inform the work of learning scientists studying new literacies.

This program of research has yielded seven principles regarding the effective integration of words and pictures:

1. Multimedia principle–Students learn better from words and pictures than from words alone.

2. Spatial contiguity principles–Students learn better when corresponding words and pictures are present near rather than far from each other on the page or screen.

3. Temporal contiguity principle–Students learn better when corresponding words and pictures are presented simultaneously rather than successively.

4. Coherence principle–Students learn better when extraneous material is excluded rather than included.

5. Modality principle–Students learn better when an animation is accompanied by spoken text, rather than printed text.

6. Redundancy principle–Students learn better from an animation accompanied with spoken text rather than an animation accompanied with spoken text and printed text, and

7. Individual difference principle–Design effects positively correlate with users’ domain knowledge and spatial ability.

Learning scientists should study whether these principles still hold in the contexts they find most compelling: real-life settings in which learning is taking place through interactions with others and with technological artifacts.”

Excerpted from: Annemarie Sullivan Palincsar and Barbara G. Ladewski, “Literacy and the Learning Sciences,” in in The Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences, ed. Robert Keith Sawyer (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 306.

One Thought About Teaching

“Drawing connections to students’ personal lives, embedding the introduction of new concepts and skills within meaningful tasks, and emphasizing the instrumental value of mastering a skill or or doing well in a subject area enhances value. For example, teachers can bring in speakers and experts from the local community to more authentically draw connections with life outside of school. A second way to enhance value is by incorporating topics that students find interesting (e.g. space travel, dinosaurs). Finally, value may be enhanced by having students work on questions and use practices similar to those used by members of the discipline (e.g. scientists and mathematicians).”

Phyllis C. Blumenfeld, Toni M. Kempler, and Joseph S. Krajcik, “Motivation and Cognitive Engagement in Learning Environments,” in The Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences, ed. Robert Keith Sawyer (New York: Cambridge University Press, 2006), 477.

 

Strategies for Creating Cognitive Apprenticeships

During the month of July, I generally try to work on planning and professional development, so I’ve had my nose in both for the past three weeks. The summer’s reading is The Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences, which, 205 pages in, I have not found as useful to my own practice as I did The Cambridge Handbook of Literacy. Still, there are plenty of important ideas articulated in the book (Cambridge University Press has thoughtfully posted as a giveaway this PDF of the introduction to the book, by its editor, R. Keith Sawyer; if you search The Cambridge Handbook of Literacy, you’ll find a couple of different PDFs from its pages for free download as well.)

One of the first articles in this volume is by Allan M. Collins, who, as you can see from his Wikipedia page, is an important figure in the learning sciences. I like his ideas about cognitive apprenticeship. Here is an outline describing cognitive apprenticeship strategies that I took from his article and typed into a Word document.

I hope you find it useful.

 

 

The Weekly Text, July 1, 2016

Are you done with the 2015-2016 school year? I gather that our school year here in New York City goes much later than other districts in the United States. Our last day was Tuesday the 28th.

So it’s summer break! I always schedule my share of fun for these months, but I also work some–because I want to. You can continue to look for the Weekly Text at Mark’s Text Terminal, because I only plan to miss three Fridays during the summer.

Over the years, as an employee of the New York City Department of Education, I’ve experienced a mixed bag of professional development sessions. A few years ago, at least in the school in which I presently serve, teachers were responsible for performing professional inquiry groups, which selected its own topic for, well, inquiry, and analysis, germane to the work we do, but obviously for improving pedagogy. For this week, then, here are–in three separate links–the raw materials for a professional development presentation on executive skills and function I wrote for the group I joined in the 2011-2012 school year.

First up are the the proposal for this inquiry group, and a learning support for teachers, which are the teacher’s materials for this presentation; first up is the proposal for this inquiry group, and a learning support for teachers; second, here are four student surveys to assess executive skills; third, and finally, here is a letter explaining these surveys to students. I adapted the student surveys from Ellen Galinsky’s excellent book Mind in the Making.

I hope these documents are in some way useful to you. I’d like to hear how, if you are so inclined.

Until next week….

Addendum, July 27, 2016: Here is the scoring criteria for the surveys that this professional development asks students to complete.