Teaching Tips from the PLC for Fall

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The PLC (Professional Learning Community) will be providing the teaching tip of the week throughout the fall semester 2014 in support of their goal of interdisciplinary collegiality.

Building (and Retaining) the Basics
In our quest to involve students in higher order thinking skills we often grease the cognitive gears with the infusion of basic concepts. PowerPoint can be a useful “flash card” type tool in building or reviewing some basic notions. Because of its linear nature, sequential steps can be presented. The slides can be used as a prompt for “what comes after?” or “what came before?” “If we change one of the elements in this formula (or this chronology), what will (or might) occur?”

In language classes we use the flash card approach to learn and compare pronunciation and intonation, vocabulary, numbers, and complete the sentence. It can be fun to vary the speed, time the speed of the “flash”, or set up group competitions. Slide decks can be shared with students who can practice on their own in small groups. Such activities serve well as a warm-up or spring board to higher level discussions or tasks since students can more easily move from the “known” elements to new concepts.

John Medina, a developmental molecular biologist and researcher, has a fascination with how the brain reacts and organizes information. He writes in Brain Rules, “Repeat to remember; remember to repeat!” Basic concepts that are worth remembering must be stimulated on a regular basis. PowerPoint flashcards are one tool that can assist in that exercise.

~Laurel Mayo, lsmayo@uta.edu, Director, Learning Innovation and Networked Knowledge (LINK) Research Lab, Division of Digital Teaching and Learning

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