V01: Laboratory experience


WHEN WATCHING THIS 06:04 min. VIDEO, look for…

What are students doing indicating engagement & learning:

  1. Expressions: interest, curiosity, focus, discussion; these are very “engaged” students. They are all busy, the lab space seems a little chaotic, and nobody is off-task.
  2. Experiences: students handle / measure / sketch real rock and fossil samples, look for features and clues, explain to each other, and interact with experts.
  3. Learning: groups or peers are discussing / arguing about concepts. Experts and novices are interacting. Engagement styles range from solo through large groups of 6-7 students.
  4. Novices-expert interactions: the instructor and TAs ask about the thinking, respond to questions, discuss in a Socratic manner, and guide thinking without simply telling answers.
  5. Students recognize benefits of hands on work: hear student feedback in the video’s last couple of minutes.

Aspects of logistics to notice:

  1. Setting up the exercise. Worksheets delivered online ensure consistency so all students do the work and collect necessary results. Then, only 2-3 minutes of introduction time is needed.
  2. Referencing pre-lab homework; current tasks and resources (handouts, samples, work expectations); follow up homework.
  3. How space and resources are used. Sufficient space to allow a range of engagement options. No further direction is needed, except warnings when time is running out. Only 50 students at a time are scheduled into each lab session – hence 3 identical sessions for 150 students.
  4. Why no wrap-up or closure within this 50 minute time slot?
    Instead, follow up homework is assigned, and a subsequent 50 minute lesson synthesizes and uses data gathered in this lab.
  5. How many “experts” are working with students? What are they doing? How do they interact with students?

Instructor & TAs respond to these questions (middle of clip):

  1. How do these labs compare in terms of work load to build and run them?
  2. Why do you think this interactive approach is effective?
  3. What to you personally like about these sessions? What is satisfying to you as a teacher?
  4. What do you like about being a TA in this kind of course?
  5. Why are these labs particularly useful for students, instead of more lectures?

Students answer these questions (end of clip):

  1. How do these activities help you learn what is needed for doing well in this course?
  2. What do you like about these lab activities or exercises?

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