What if I, as a teacher, took a step back in order to prop the students to take steps forward…? Forward, towards learning and learning techniques for life. I wonder if it’s even possible to do that with herds of students and so little time for each and everyone. Does it all comes down to motivation? Maybe my biggest responsibility as a teacher is to encourage the students to take charge of their learning and urge them to strive towards their vision of what they want to become? It all sounds great, but how do I achieve that?
When googling create motivation I get tons of suggestions of how to stay insanely self-motivated and how to develop unstoppable motivation. At wikiHow I learn that I’m supposed to build competence and confidence, encourage active engagement and help students to overcome procrastination. Is this even possible to do when you meet 135 students for four hours?
The Vanderbilt University in Nashville, Tennessee, provides an overview of different types of motivation, whereas the intrinsic motivation fits well with our educational platform that emphasize the students as active learners. As I understand it, intrinsic motivation builds upon a feeling of importance not for anyone else but for yourself. For me as a teacher, my responsibility, according to A Model of Intrinsic Motivation by Middleton et al (1995) is to design learning activities that both offers students a degree of personal control and are stimulating.
Many years ago, I heard a keynote speaker talk about rhetoric. It was Elaine Eksvärd and the thing I recall from her presentation is that what we remember is the stories. And I believe she’s right, I think it is true, because I remember her story about her beloved grandpa. As stated by A Model of Intrinsic Motivation one key component to attain this type of motivation is to present something that are interesting to the students. A solution for me, might be to present cases (stories) concerning my teaching subject that are interesting. Could it be that this strategy has untapped possibilities for learning? I don’t know, but I might as well try it out.
And then suddenly it happens… One colleague asks about how to use digital quizzes in the classroom… Kaboom! I´m pleased and beyond happiness. I gladly share the knowledge and experiences that I have with my colleague. So I thought, why not share it here too?!
Here´s how I do it… When lecturing nursing students in acid base balance, I start out with the commonly used (oh so boring…) power point presentation. I´ve really tried to make it appetizing with a good structure, fancy photos and everything, but still… it is what it is. After the initial feeling of being a “motivation butcher” (with the power point) I try to get the students back on track with some real life patient cases. Right now I have four of them, in accordance with the four disturbance of the acid base balance. Together we figure out which disturbance the patient have, relevant treatment and how to prevent it to occur. Last but not least… I end the hole lecture with a simple quiz. I tell the students that it is voluntary to participate and that they are free to go if they like. Stunningly, almost everyone willingly stay. I guess it has something to do with curiosity and an instinct to compete…? The tool I use for the purpose is nothing less then Kahoot. It is free and it is easy to use. You simply create an account and within 5-15 minutes you have done your first quiz. At first I had 20 multiple choice questions but that was too much, thus some students lost interest after approximately 10. Now I have 12 and I think that is a good quantity of questions. After each question Kahoot shows the correct answer and then top ten of fastest participant. As the quiz progresses the tension increases. At the end we have three winners. They all have to stand up and receive our tribute, consistent of applause, cheering, hugs and some silly prizes linked to acid base. Coca cola = acid, bicarbonate = base and SUPER-SOUR candy = containing an enormous amount of hydrogen ions.
This is higher education (undergraduate degree) and I am well aware of that this multiple choice quiz has nothing to do with critical thinking or research but I do believe it has something to do with motivation. I experience that the students do well on their assessment and they seem to remember the lecture as something good and joyful. I´m not sure they remember exactly how the kidney compensate for unprecedented levels of hydrogen ions but I believe that the students possess a basic understanding for acid base balance. When becoming nurses, most likely, they remember how to fill in the gaps of their knowledge, dependent on the current needs, and hopefully, still think of acid base as something understandable and engaging.
We´re all familiar with the expression “sharing is caring” but what if what you share is not great? Imagine if not everyone can use and receive what you share. That is not good care! Is that a problem or not? Until now I have thought that good is enough but now I realise that good is not always enough anymore. This week I have undergone an eye opening process where I´ve starting to be aware of that I have a big responsibility to make my sharing accessible to everyone. It´s a pity that I haven´t become conscious of it till now but better late then never, right?
When you sit in a wheelchair it´s kind of obvious that you’re in need of some accessibility to be able to move around at for example pavements. In the digital world your requirements are not always that clear. For those in need, I know that there is a lot of “aid-tools” which enable accessibility but for me, the big question is… – Where do my trustworthiness begin?
When David Wiley is talking about sharing he says that we have to overcome the inner 2 year old in us. We have to stop thinking… -Mine, mine, it´s mine!!! We have to act against a culture of withholding and instead he argues for giving, generousness and openness in education. So, I guess that I´m an adolescence when it comes to sharing. I love to share, if someone think it´s good enough for them to use I gladly share it with them. No problem at all! It´s almost like a recognition for my ego (as the self-centred youth I am) if someone asks if it´s OK to use some of my teaching material. Feel free!
Now, one of my next goal is to enter the adulthood (after all I´m 46 years old). This is of cause going to be a process but I´m good at focusing when I´m motivated so I believe I can cross the finishing line before the end of 2017. I have to make all my prerecorded content accessible for everyone. The main thing that I have to learn (and then do) is to add subtitles to my lectures. I also have to think of colors in some slides. Are there other things I have to consider?
What we believe we are isn’t always what others think we are. Do we all live in an illusion of the reality? Unfortunately, I don´t think I have the capacity to go further into this question. I do know that it is important to listen to others and I do think it is important to actively work with improvement.
Earlier this year I wrote a blog post about feedback . I am not finished with that thought so I will try to write something more about the topic. It´s not always nice to get feedback from others, thus sometimes it hurts and sometimes its a joy. When teaching and learning, feedback can be given on different levels both for students and teachers. These six different feedback options is what I´ve come up with.
1. From the teacher – That’s ought to be me
2. From a peer – A fellow partner in crime
3. From themselves – It is important to practice and to put improvement into words
To me as a teacher
4. From the students – The students experience are always interesting
5. From a colleague – I would love to have a critical friend
6. From myself – It is hard to be objective but important to strive for improvement
Feedback can be like a flower bouquet. Some are beautiful and some in colors we don´t prefer. All different comments are useful, however feedback is not a monologue. It´s occurs through interaction and dialogue so it is important to have a strategy for it. Multiple sources for feedback is always a good thing given the different perspective (Svinicki & McKeachie, 2014).
When teaching nursing students how to administer and handlecentral venous cathetersin a way that is patientsafe I will use these six different feedback options. Here´s how I plan to do it.
I move around and meanwhile the students are training practical skill procedures, in our clinical training center, I give them individual feedback, both direct on their performance and e.g. questioning why they chose to do some tasks in a specific order. I will try to balance the negative comments carefully with the positive once (Ramsden, 2003) and tailor them into their needs (Svinicki & McKeachie, 2014).
Feedback given from a peer is sometimes more valuable then from the teacher (Svinicki & McKeachie, 2014). So I will ask them to observe, by using a checklist on the correct steps in the procedure they are training, ready to give feedback when finished.
In long-term the goal and purpose of feedback is to foster the student to manage to given themselves feedback in the future. The students ability to evaluate their own performance is a key to life-long learning (Svinicki & McKeachie, 2014). According to, the Swedish Bachelor Programme in Nursing a nursing student are supposed to evaluate their ability to identify their need of further knowledge and continuously develop their skills (Högskoleförordningen, 1993). Before leaving the training I will ask them to write down on a paper what they think went well and what they think they need to know more about. As an offer they can put the paper in a box, like a letter to themselves and the future.
I can have my feedback from two different sources, the students evaluation and the result of the assessment. (Ramsden, 2003). Don´t want to live in an illusion! I will ask the students to evaluate the training after their participation. As a new teacher it is extremely important for me to know if I succeeded to motivate them and if the students believes that they have learn about how to administer and handlecentral venous cathetersin a way that is patientsafe. I will use Google docs for that purpose.
In the world of academics we are used to give constructive criticism to each other aiming to improve research. Having a critical friend is kind of the same thing. A skilled colleague how gives you constructive criticism with the aim to improve your teaching (Handal, 1997; Lauvås et al., 1997). If you can´t find a personal critical friend, a collegian learning communities can be a good thing. Exploring and learning together meanwhile given each other feedback can enhance your own learning (Stuck et al., 2013).
Self-knowledge is absolutely a good thing for a teacher. After I´ve had my classes in the training center I will give myself time to think it over and reflect on how to improve. I am very well aware of that feedback and reflection isn´t the same thing and in the future I will try to learn more about the topic and how to enhance students learning using reflection.
When I started to write this blog post I thought that feedback is feedback…is feedback and there is nothing more the feedback. It is extremely frustrating to realize , now, hours later, that each bullet point on my list could generate a whole assignment. Undoubtedly I will write about feedback again, but this will do for now.
References Handal G, (1999) Consultation Using Critical Friends. New directions for teaching and learning, Issue 79.
This summer I went on a vacation to Italy. Me and my family stayed in a house for rent, somewhere in the middle of nowhere, at the Italian countryside. The weather was fine, it was hot and sticky, so we mostly choose to hang around the pool… or at least nearby. For two days we visited Rome and then again back to the cooling water.
The vacation lasted for two weeks and we all had a great time. Italy gave me a taste for more since it showed itself from its best side. Next time I would love to see other regions of Italy. One region to visit could be Emilia-Romagna and the city of Bologna. Speaking of Bologna… In 1999 there were 29 European countries how choose to sign a declaration about the standards and quality of higher education qualifications. Nowadays it is more then 45 countries that are connected. The main focus is:
the introduction of the three cycle system (bachelor/master/doctorate)
strengthened quality assurance and
easier recognition of qualifications and periods of study
Did you know that the town of Bologna hosts the oldest university in the world, founded in 1088, the University of Bologna? One of the most important buildings at the university, Archiginnasio, situates the Anatomical Theatre, used at the medical school for anatomy lecturers.
Nowadays, when we teach our students we don´t do the whole “theatre thing”, we invite them to our clinical training center and sometimes I´m a teacher there. The center gives the nursing students a chance to practice their skills in a safe environments before they meet patients. Generally, both students and teachers are enjoying the skill training since we all have a feeling of finally doing it “for real”. I think it is extremely important that we take advantage of the opportunity to do workshops based on “hands-on” activities. I would like to leave the theory lecturing outside of the training center. The course I teach in has, for the moment, a course design of teaching/learning activities that starts out with a theoretical lecture for approximately 45-60 minutes. Only after the lecture the students are allowed to actually get their hands on the different training scenarios which sometimes can be utterly frustrating for all of us. I would like to change this into a flipped classroom design, but first things first… Let´s start with the learning outcome.
Biggs & Tang (2011) describe different stages of how to design constructively aligned teaching and assessment. First of all, the intended learning outcome, shall be described. The active verb of the learning activity is “administer and handle“. Second, its object or the content is “central venous catheters” and last the standard the students are to attain is “in a way that is patientsafe“. In fact, as it is now, the learning outcome consists of the verb and the content. I would like to add the last part about the patientsafety since the whole core in administer and handle is about how to prevent complications.
Back to the design of teaching/learning activities. To be able to administer and handle something I believe that you have to use your hands and mind together. By flipping it around and letting the students work with the theoretical background of the topic before they come into the training center, they can get most out of their skill training. For me this is a question of quality and efficiency. Therefore, my intention is to record my theoretical lecture in short film clips which the students get access to minimum a week before they´re scheduled to the skill training.
Recently, two of the major journals for nursing education have published a respective review articles about flipped classroom approaches in nursing education (Betihavas et al, 2016; Presti, 2016). Both articles refers to a book by Benner et al in their introductions. The book title says it all: Educating nurses: A call for radical transformation. The authors argues for BIG changes in how we educate nursing students and that we teachers have to acclimatize into the 21th century. We have to embrace student centered methods in our pedagogy. Flipped classroom can be one example of how to meet our students in other ways then we nursing teachers by tradition are used to. Presti (2016) claims that flipped classroom enhance active learning but asks for further research since evidence of learning outcomes are missing. Even Betihavas et al (2016) argues for more evidence but the authors conclude that the flipped classroom has a potential to reform nursing education. Although, fully evidence to the method flipped classroom is lacking I feel confident that optimizing the time in the clinical training center is a good thing thus the learning outcome is to administer och handle. Of course I have to evaluate the flipped method and if it doesn´t work out I would like to give a theoretical pre-lecture face-to-face before entering the training center.
References Betihavas, V. Bridgman, H. Kornhaber, R. & Cross, M. (2016) The evidence for “flipping out”: a systematic review of the flipped classroom in nursing education. Nurse Educ Today, Mar(38), 15-21.
Biggs, J. B. & Tang, C. (2011) Teaching for quality learning at university. (Fourth edition). Maidenhead, Open University Press.
This summer I participate in a course about “Academic Teaching” where I am expected to learn how to support the learning of others. The course is given by Malmö university and is an educational part of my personal development plan. The main learning outcome is to describe and justify the academic teaching on a scientific basis and proven experience.
In the assessment I will make a presentation of a design and a plan for teaching. I am expected to describe and justify my choices concerning learning outcomes, assessment and teaching and learning activities in relation to relevant research and proven experience.
The intended learning outcomes for the course are:
use teaching and learning activities that are tailored to course content and learning outcomes
describe and justify the academic teaching on a scientific basis and proven experience
develop different strategies for equal treatment in the meeting with students / participants in heterogeneous groups
compile a curriculum that relate to the concept of “constructive alignment”
relate their own teaching to national policy documents and the internationalization of higher education
According to my teachers, Mikael and Kristina, I am free to do my presentation just the way I want as long as I can demonstrate and show that I´ve achieved the intended learning outcomes. So, here´s an idea – I will do several blog posts on the different topics.
I think it´s scary to do this – so that is why I do it!
I’m keeping the fearsome spider in the cage and while I am floating away in some kind of weightlessness with only the intended learning outcomes as my navigator I will try to master this task.
What I should be doing isn´t what I am doing right now. I´m supposed to correct and modify my scheme for next semester. Other things on my ToDo list are,
Register participants from CPR-training
Construct a new website
Fill the new website with useful content
Making videos (several) of safe management of central venous catheters
Edit a video about parenteral nutrition
Instead of preparing the last things before summer break I found myself searching the internet of how to make learning videos like Khan academy. What software do they use? How do they draw on the “blackboard”? The questions were raised at a meeting earlier this week and I said that I could investigate it and get back to my colleagues. After a quick googling session I now think that I know how they do it.
This is where I would have stopped and getting on with my other commitments. I failed and I couldn’t stop due to lack of self-control.
I remember when Khan academy came, that was long before I was a teacher. It really was a Khan-hype! Salman was everywhere in 2011 and all learning blogs had posts telling the story’s of a former hedge fund analyst. The Twitter feeds were massive about the sensational non-profit academy. A year ago, when I became a lecturer I started to use Khan academy myself and I also recommend some of the videos to my students. It has become a natural resource which I have taken for granted…until now. Today, I realize how amazing the academy is! I´ve been looking on this TED-talk where Salman is talking about humanizing the classroom. He also gives great examples of how videos can be positive for learning. I reflect on self-paced learning and the power of it, because it is essential for understanding and the personal learning curve to learn in a pace that suits you – just you and not someone else. Videos can give students this opportunities.
OK, now I really have to get on with my highest prioritized ToDo task this evening, since I´ve been invited to participate at a Skype connection at the EDEN conference on Friday. I will be talking about my experiences of participating in the ONL161 for 5 minutes. I´m full of expectations!
I know that I possess a greater digital literacy then most of my colleagues and I do want to share, collaborate and explore our digital world with them. In a strange way it is difficult for me to know how to reach out for them. There´s absolutely nothing extraordinary or innovative in what I´m doing. I´m not trying to build any greatness and I´m not an expert, obviously… So, how do I get their attention?
When reading about the adult learner (=myself or a colleges of mine) and the andragogical model I think of the six different assumptions of learners. 1) At first we need to know why we have to learn. What benefits do we gain if we learn? 2) As adults we also have a self-concept of being in charge of our own lives and decisions. We learn when we want to. 3) Learning is build upon our previous experiences and 4) we adults are ready to learn when the timing for learning is right. When we learn 5) we do it best in a problem-based real-life context and when 6) we are motivated. Considering this I realize that I cannot teach another person directly, I can only facilitate the learning.
Usually, I´m always in a hurry, a restlessly person, don´t know why I can´t let things take its time. I want to proceed and get on with it. My strategy for now is based of what I learned in life so far: Sometimes things has to mature and meanwhile I can be a good example. Hopefully a curiosity about digital literacy will ripple through to one or two of my colleagues.
Knowles, Holton & Swanson (2015) The adult learning. 8th edition. New York, Routledge.
I believe in lifelong learning and Jarvis (2010) has defined learning as:
“the combination of processes throughout a lifetime whereby the whole person – body (genetic, physical and biological) and mind (knowledge, skills, attitudes, values, emotions, meaning, beliefs and senses) – experiences social situations, the content of which is then transformed cognitively, emotively or practically (or through any combination) and integrated into the individual person´s biography resulting in a continually changing (or more experienced) person.”
The definition is hopelessly complicated and if you want a catchy slogan to promote learning, this is not the one. Yet, I can´t help myself – I love it! I think it is brilliant and the more I learn about learning the more I get to adore the definition.
I have designed a learning activity and today I was trying to argue for what theoretical framework it has. The activity aims to enhance the students awareness of ethical dilemmas linked to CPR-resuscitation and what considerations to be highlighted. The students will be divided into small groups and they will get three short introduction videos to the topic,
Not surviving CPR-resuscitation
No active CPR-resuscitation
After watching them the students are supposed to discuss ethical considerations and argue for pros and cons. Finally they are asked to present a quick version of their discussion for the other groups.
At first it was not an easy task to take a theoretical stand but after some reading and thinking it ended up with me arguing for Vygotsky´s Sociocultural Theory… or at least from that tradition. Development and learning process is dependent upon collaboration, interaction and relationship. When I got feedback from my colleagues I learned that this learning activity also could be related to Variation Theory by Marton. At first sight CPR-resuscitation is all about saving lives. When diving into the topic, viewing from different angles students can learn throughout discerning differences about the topic.
It appears to me that teaching is a blessing thus you can pick and choose from a diversity of learning theories when designing learning activities. The main thing is to choose the right theory for the right purpose. The purpose of learning! As Jarvis definition implies, learning is a complex process, occurring both cognitively, emotively and in social contexts. Learning is truly embedded into a persons whole lifetime.
References Jarvis P (2010) Adult education and lifelong learning. Theory and practice. 4th edition. New York, Routledge.