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.
Right now, as a PhD student, I´m a participant in a course named “Cultural awareness in health and social research”. This course is a great collaboration between La Trobe University (Australia), The Hong Kong Polytechnic University (Hong Kong) and Malmö University (Sweden). We have meet once in a Zoom meting. At this webinar we presented us for each other and one of the instructor held a short opening introduction to the topic “cultural awareness”. As a common digital space our competent instructors have made us a Facebook group were we have been asked to post our personal reflections after this first webinar.
I guess we are all products of our experiences… I´ve participated in the ONL course and that have of course made me to who I am today 😉 No, but really… The experiences I had in this ONL course goes beyond oral explanations. The more I think of it… it has helped me and shaped me and my digital literacies in an amazing way (both personal and professional).
So, back to the course about cultural awareness. I was surprised by reading the other participants reflection since most of them dealt with the idea of coming together and interact with fellows worldwide. I am trained in the spirit of ONL and started with great joy to comment the other participant reflections, eager to discuss cultural awareness. I got an answer to all of my comments but then… nothing happened… ABSOLUTELY nothing! Until this day, no one else have made a comment and the Facebook group is a “dead” place for posting reflections and there is zero interaction.
We are a total of 18 participant and we have been divided into three smaller groups. And here comes trouble again… I find it extremely hard to get a group discussion going and a productive atmosphere to appear. It´s not that it is hostile, absolutely not, it just isn´t… it is nothing, as I said, lack of activity. Some of my dear group fellows don´t even return with answers about suggested times to meet. Some of it has probably to do with absent motivation but I am quite sure it also has something to do with digital literacies.
Lastly, I am utterly thankful for the time I spent in the ONL community! And you know what…? Today, I´ve been accepted into another Facebook group – the ONL alumni 🙂
Right now, there is too much focus on myself when I am teaching. I want to make a change!
After participating in a workshop held by The Centre for Teaching and Learning at Malmö University (about student-centeredness) I made a promise to myself and now it is time for me to embody it. Stop the talking and start making it into a real shape. I want to model with clay and I want to create digital visualizations of “real life” patient scenarios.
Two things inspire me. First, I participated in yet another workshop held by The Centre for Teaching and Learning at Malmö University, this time on the topic storytelling. Secondly, at a rhetoric lecture some years ago, I learned that what we remember from a lecture is the stories that are told and I do believe that is a truth!
Usually, when I lecture in acid-base balance I tell the students a story about when I was working in Copenhagen at a Thoracic Intensive care unit and we used a medicine called Diamox (which is an example of a specific carbonic anhydrase inhibitors who slow the acid-bace balance down). My other “story” is when the football player Henke Larsson broke his leg in 2006 (which is an example of acid-bace disorder, putative respiratory alkalosis). Thinking of it, this is NOT the stories I want my students to remember!
I want them to remember stories about different patients’ symptoms and treatments. I want them to remember how the amazing human body compensate for the disorders and I want them to remember how they as nurses’ can prevent the acid-bace disorder to happen. I want them to remember “real” patients!
My idea builds upon enhancing student-centeredness since I will give them the patients´ stories and I want them (the students) to give the answers. By recording stories and edit, those into short movies (eBites) I hope to keep the students interest and attention. After watching an “eBite” I will encourage the students to discuss with each other about for example the patient’s symptoms and suggested treatment. I would like the student to have different stories to discuss and at the end of the lecture present their discussions and answers for one another.
In conclusion, I want to enhance student-centeredness by using storytelling.
This spring I got an excellent offer to participate in a “Grounded scholar” at Malmö University. The grounded scholar will be an ongoing activity during 2017/2018 containing of,
Six whole day seminar sessions
Identification of outcomes and outputs (e.g. conference papers, learning and teaching materials etc.)
Discussion based seminars
Explore the concept of the ‘blended HE professional
In-seminar time to develop scholarly outputs
I am super excited and tomorrow I will present this idea about storytelling for my colleagues. Let me get back to you regarding the process of this project.
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.
I sense increased opportunities by participating in this iteration of the ONL course. So what´s the secret to sucking me in to engage once again? Opportunities to interact and engage in this amazing community of fabulous, creative and knowledgeable people. Yesterday, when I was casually looking into our Goggle+ community I got inspired by Anita Berlin. She´s made a great post about digital literacies and ended it with a hilarious clip from the Ellen DeGeneres show with title “You posted that on Facebook?“. Ellen is showing pictures from some of the audience Facebook timelines and… oh my goodness – what did they thought of when they published some of the photos? The photos were (I believe) intended for personal amusement but obviously easy to find for those who wanted to. So we really have to think of what we upload to this thing called internet and we need to reflect of how we want to be perceived.
I try to keep my digital identity clean and sober. I do have a weakness for guinea pigs and that has resulted in their own Instagram but apart from that, I don´t think I have any skeleton in the cupboard…
David White (2014) is talking about our motivation to engage and that we have different modes that we use depending of the context we´re in. When we´re in visitor mode, we don’t leave any trace of our-self online, comparing to the residents mode, where we choose to be present with other people.
Last year I started this blog (in residents mode) and I felt then, and still does, that it is scary to write “in public” like this. I see this blog posting, as a challenge and it is a part of a plan for my professional development as a lecturer. I want to reflect, to write down my thoughts and get comments from wise colleagues and by that process and interaction grow and enhance my digital literacies.
Is it Dewey who coined the phrase “Learning by doing”?
Dewey claims that there is a relationship between knowledge and active inquiry. He also advocated that action, reflection, emotion and theory is prerequisite for continues life-long learning. The teachers role is to facilitate learning by assisting creation of a cooperative learning exercise. The teachers leadership includes e.g. being aware of past experiences, needs and capacities. To be prepared and have the ability to suggest further learning activities based on the class experiences and by this achieve continued growth (Jarvis, 2010).
I found a quote about learning and doing on the internet, from the book “The Cardturner: A novel about a king, a queen and a joker” written by Louis Sachar. It goes like this:
“I hope I remember everything,” said Toni. “You won’t,” said Trapp. “That’s how you learn. But after you make the same mistake one, or two, or five times, you’ll eventually get it. And then you’ll make new mistakes.”
I would like to use these insights in my work as a teacher with nursing students. To know and “feel” their needs and to let them fail, and fail again and just encourage them to keep on trying until they get it right. The diversity of different students and their needs are just as big as they are numbered. I believe that diversity is so much more that cultural and ethnically differences. We are all different human beings with different experiences and my job as a teacher is to greet these differences and to facilitate their learning experiences. Some are introvert and maybe they need the courage to speak up, while the opposite to this is them who often say what they think and sometimes in the need of listening. As a teacher I have to pay attention to this diversities so that I can facilitate the learning experience in a correct way.
One concrete example of how I try to work with facilitation and diversity is when I see my nursing students at our clinical training center. In the introduction, I usually start out with asking them of their experiences of administer and handlecentral venous catheters. You could say that I use this as a baseline for the rest of the class. As often as I can, without being to excessive, I connect and refer back to what they told me. I try to ask questions like, -What if this…? and -What if that…? to students that I have identified in need for it. It has not always been a delightful and easy way to go cause some of them have had tough experiences of those damn catheters. Often relatives in connection with cancer treatment (some alive and some dead). Even themselves who sometimes have been through the cancer treatment – and yes, we have had tears and both physically and mentally reactions but in the end I am confident in my decision to use the students own experiences since I can see that it enhances their motivation to learn.
I strive to be student-centered and one key to that is to motivate. In 2013 The Swedish Federation of Student (not sure of the correct translation) released a report (SFS, 2013). When it came out it got lots of attention and still… we really need to work with these issues. The report argued for the lack of pedagogical and teaching skills of Swedish teacher in higher education. One thing to make it more student-centered is, as I mentioned, to motivate the students while facilitating a learning activity. The students are also eager, if motivated, and requesting activity. I take along this thought and will try to design some student-centered learning activities with hands-on training.
I am, obviously not a graphic designer but I have tried to do a simple sketch of how the workflow of the training cessions are supposed to look like. We have a common introduction and then I divide the students into two smaller groups. One group will work with wound dressing and the other one with injections. After a coffee break, fika as we say in Swedish, the groups are swapping subject to the other. You can´t have too many fika so we go for that one more time and after that we have a common discussion around cases. At the end of the session we summarize. When they are training wound dressing and injections the students are doing it hands-on. In our training center we have dolls for simulation. The students are prepared theoretical by flipped classroom pedagogy and they will also get a film of how the procedure can be done. The task they are supposed to achieve is to train the procedure. Meanwhile a peer is observing using a checklist on the correct procedure, ready to give feedback when finished. So the students are active both by doing and observing. The students will be like critical friends to one another. I cross my fingers that this will work out!
Jarvis P (2010) Adult education and lifelong learning. Theory and practice. 4th edition. New York, Routledge.
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!
When I´m gone I don´t want you to say… She did not live to see the realization of her dream. Not that I´m planning to leave but you never know so I think I better get on with my dream and try to create a website with the aim to support students and preceptors. After taking a nap this afternoon is suddenly became clear to me of how to tackle the task. As a wise woman I often listen to advice from my senior colleagues but today I choose not to. Paulo Coelho says it wisely:
“Dream and don´t ask too many questions, or fear will overcome your feelings“.
So I decided to follow my dream, painfully aware of the challenge. I fear my colleagues thoughts and I am prepared for comments, criticism and even jealousy. Who am I to think that I can create worthwhile content to enhance students and preceptors knowledge and skills regarding to preceptorship? Well…I am! …as an act of defiance against all odds. I get the feeling of fulfillment to give it a go. To try makes me happy and satisfied so I will strive to overcome obstacles and to do my best. I believe in the idea and my gut instinct says me it´s a good one.
First of all I would like to praise Cambridge Dictionaries Online and Google translate for an inexhaustible source of knowledge. Second, I would like to embrace all my group members for being such good friends throughout the whole course period and for making me feel comfortable and safe trying to speak and write in English. In ten fantastic couple of weeks I think I have went from crappy English to good enough English. Thank you PBL group 7!
Yep, so ONL161 has come to an end. It has been an enjoyable experience and some extremely intense weeks. I have loved every second about them but some days I have felt like a violin string due to stress. Just as excited like I was at the beginning of the course just as exhausted I am now at the end. Gosh, I have learned a lot!
I am home from work at 17.30-18. Then it is time to make dinner for the family and homework’s with the kids. Left of the evening is 1,5-2 hours. Twice a week we have had Skype meetings including work before and after. Furthermore, one or two evenings desperately trying to read the suggested articles/videos ect. At weekends trying to catch up what has been missing from last week… The course is far more time consuming then I even could imagine. With that said – the whole course is far more of everything then I could ever imagine!
I have learned to be social in a digital context, both in our great BIG community as well as in our small PBL community. I have made friends with – Beautiful and inspiring smart – Nour from Sudan, Marc – The gentleman – from South Africa, always – Friendly Darth Wader – Jennifer and – The unforgettable Scottish – Mr Creelman.
I have started my own first blog – The fledglings thoughts – and I think that I have found my way of writing blog post just the way I am (the digital me). I have been practicing my critical thinking by commenting on others excellent blog posts. Learning about openness and sharing. I have participated in inspiring and thoughtful discussions in our PBL group.
There are so many thing that I take with me from this course. One thing that comes into my mind is the positive and sharing atmosphere that has been significant throughout the whole course. I will miss it! Last but not least I would like to thank the ONL-team for designing and facilitating best course ever.