Assignment: Locate an online resource (website, article) that you will use in the future to improve the delivery of your lessons. For each of the five lesson planning components, explain why you selected this resource and how it will improve your instruction.
I chose this article because it describes how Bloom’s Taxonomy can be applied to my subject area. Crowe, Dirks and Wenderoth describe the characteristics of exam questions and learning activities that address each of the cognitive domains, and provide biology-specific examples (2008). I plan to use this article to evaluate my next biology exam, and to implement some of the authors’ suggestions for learning activities and exam questions at higher levels of Bloom’s Taxonomy. For example, I could give students published graphs and ask them to interpret the data; this requires that they perform analysis rather than simply recalling knowledge.
Formative assessment, in which the instructor gathers information from students and uses it to modify learning activities, can be highly effective in improving student learning (Black & William, 1998). I selected an article by Crumrine & Demers (2007) because it provides several easy-to-implement methods of formative assessment as well as anecdotes describing their use in teaching science. I currently use a daily quiz to encourage students to pre-read for class, but this article shows how easily I could adapt my quizzes for use as formative assessment by spending more class time on areas that many students did not understand from their pre-reading.
Inquiry-based labs (abstract only)
Inquiry-based lab activities engage students in the process of designing experiments, as opposed to traditional lab activities that ask students to follow a set of prescribed steps (Weaver, Russell & Wink, 2008). I chose this article because it describes a continuum of increased student autonomy (from traditional labs to research apprenticeships) that may serve as a useful framework for designing inquiry-based labs at an appropriate level. While many of my students still lack the background for a fully open-ended inquiry lab, this article encourages the use of a guided inquiry model that would be a useful intermediate in my classes.
Striking images of plants, animals and microorganisms grab students’ attention, and may provoke an emotional response, which can help them to remember the concepts connected with the images. However, it can be difficult to find high-quality images without copyright restrictions. Because of this, I chose to highlight Flickr as a resource for finding images with Creative Commons licenses* that allow their use (with attribution) in Powerpoint slides and course websites (Flickr, n.d.). I will use this resource to update my lecture slides with better images and to avoid text-only or text-heavy slides.
*Not all Flickr images can be used this way; use the advanced search option to find these images.
Allen and Tanner (2007) describe a model of course design in which the educator first identifies learning objectives, then determines what measures of learning would be appropriate, and finally plans teaching and learning activities. I chose this article because it provides detailed explanations of what I believe to be a better model of course design than the traditional model of making a list of topics from the textbook and deriving learning objectives from that list. I plan to gradually move my course toward this model in order to ensure that what I teach is meaningful to students beyond my classroom.
Allen, D., and Tanner, K. (2007). Putting the horse back in front of the cart: Using visions and decisions about high-quality learning experiences to drive course design. CBE Life Sciences Education, 6 (2), 85-89.
Black, P., & William, D. (1998). Assessment and classroom learning. Assessment in Education: Principles, Policy & Practice, 5 (1), 7-74.
Crowe, A., Dirks, C., & Wenderoth, M.P. (2008). Biology in bloom: Implementing Bloom’s Taxonomy to enhance student learning in biology. CBE Life Sciences Education, 7 (4), 368-381.
Crumrine, T., & Demers, C. (2007). Formative assessment: Redirecting the plan. Science Teacher, 74 (6), 28-32.
Flickr. (n.d). Retrieved from http://www.flickr.com
Weaver, G.C., Russell, C.B., & Wink, D.J. (2008). Inquiry-based and research-based laboratory pedagogies in undergraduate science. Nature Chemical Biology, 4 (10), 577-580.