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2012-05-V20(3)-PedagogicalPassiveIncome

2012-05-V20(3)-PedagogicalPassiveIncome

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Published by: Robert Borgersen on Jul 12, 2012
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11/29/2012

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HowRetirementandEducationarethesame.
Ireadanopinionblogpost'recently
onwhywhatiscalled"PassiveIncome"isreallythewaytogoforretirement.Theincomeweareallusedtois"EarnedIncome",whereweessentiallytradetimeformoney,whereas"PassiveIncome"isincomewhichyoumakewhilenotactivelyspendingyourtime(someexamplesincludedividendincome,investmentgrowth,andrentalpropertyincome).Basicallythepointofthearticlecomesdowntothis:wedon'tknowwhenwearegoingtodie,wethereforedon'tknowhowmuchmoneytosave,andsowemightsavetoolittlebeforeweretire,andenduphavingtogobacktoworkattheageof80.Thesolution,theysuggest,istospendyourworkingyearscreatingasystemthatproducespassiveincomethatwillgenerateenoughincometoliveonforyourentireretirement,regardlessofhowlongyoulive.Niceidea.However,asamathematician,Ibegantogeneralize.Inthisarticle,I'mgoingtousetheterm"income"torefermoregenerallyto"educationalincome",whichcouldinclude"incomes"suchas"studentsatisfaction"
r
"studentunderstanding","studentmotivation",and"student
engagement".'
Considerallthedifferentactivities
youspendyourtimeviewofficehoursasanopportunitytohelpcorrect,enhance,anddeveloptheunderstandingofstudentsthroughthedifficultproblemstheyencounterintheirpersonalstudy.Evenwhenthetimeisusedtointeractwithastudentjustlookingforthatonemoremarkthattheydon'tdeserve,Iamhopingforthemtodevelopamoreclearunderstandingoftheexpectationsintheclass,andrefinetheirviewsonwhatisacceptable(whichwouldbothbeincomes).
Spendingtimeas
we
do
onsomanydifferentthings,Iwonder-couldwespendourtimewiselytoproduceasystemthatproduceseducationalincomesindefinitely?Aretherewaystoinvestourtimesothatthe"educationaldividends"thatareproducedareproducedwithoutushavingtointeractwithorcontrolthesystematall(oratleastinaminimalway)?Coulditbepossibletocontinuallyincreasethiseducationalpassiveincomesystemuntil,oneday,ourstudentsarerichinengagement,motivation,fascinationandoveralllearning,evenafteronlyspendingafewminuteswiththem?Idon'tknowtheanswertothesequestions,butIhavediscoveredinmyfewyearsofteachingonebeautifulandeasywaytoproduceasystemthatdoesinonastheinstructorforaclass:creatinglectures,creatingfactgenerateconsistentandregulareducationalincomequizzes,creatingexams,holdinglectures,holdingofficehours,markingassignments,markingexams,communicatingwithTAs...andthelistgoeson.Iwouldclaimthateverythingwespendourtimeonisforanincomeofsomesort.Forinstance,inmathematicsI
30
inatrulypassiveway,andthatsystemis
collectingdigitalresources.
Ihttp://bit.ly/GH4SDy2Underthismind-set,SEEQevaluationscouldbeconsideredmorelikeincomestatements,indicatinghowmuchofcertaintypesofincomewereceivedduringacertainperiodoftime.
VOLUME20NO.3SPRING2012
 
(Continuedfrom
page
30)
Why
CollectingDigitalResources
Digitalresourcesingeneral
havesomepropertiesthatmakethemideallysuitedforapassiveincomesystem.First,theyrequirenophysicalspace,allowingyoutocollectapracticallyinfiniteamount.Second,theyrequireonlyminimalmaintenancetoensuretheyarestillworkingastheyaremeantto-usuallyasquickasaclick.Third,studentstodayaresointimatelyfamiliarwithdigitalresourcesthattheyhavenoprobleminteractingwiththemandlearningfromthemwithminimaltrainingandoversight.
Let
me
tellastory
toillustratethepoint.Inthefallof20111taughtthreesectionsofthesamecourse,anddecidedtouseanewpedagogicaltechniquethathadbeensuggestedtomeataconferenceduringtheprecedingsummer-let'scallthattechniqueA.However,lookingattheparticulartechniqueandtheparticularcourse,IdecidedthatwhilestudentswouldlikelybenefitfromA,thetimerequiredcouldalsoslowdowntheclassunreasonably.Therefore,Icameupwithanotherpedagogicaltechnique,callthistechniqueB,thatcouldallowustomovefasterinclasstokeepuptherequiredpace.Bothtechniqueswereusedthroughoutallthreesections,andattheendIgaveallthestudentsasurveyaskingwhattheythoughtofthedifferenttechniques(plussomeothersIhadattempted).StudentoverwhelminglylovedAandthoughtitwasabsolutelyamazing(forvariousreasons),andBwasaclosesecond,withmanystudentsgoingasfarastosaythatBwasachiefreasontheyexpectedtodowellinthecourse.
Theclassesfinishedwell,
andinJanuary2012Iwasagainteachingthreecourses,butinsteadofthesamecoursethreetimes,Iwasteachingthreedifferentcourses(oneofwhichisthecourseItaughtinthefall).HavingseenthegreatincomegeneratedfromtheworkIhadputintoAandBinthefirstterm(earnedincome),Iwantedtoreusebothtechniques(andmodificationsofthem)inallthreeofmycoursesinthewinterterm.IsoonrealizedtherewasaproblemhoweverwithreusingA.DespiteusingAinthefallterm,tocommitusingitagaininthewintertermwouldmeancommittingtospendtherequired2-3hoursofworkperweek.WhileIcouldsparethatlastterm,IknewwithmycurrentschedulethatIcouldnotsparethatthisterm.SpendingtimeonAduringthefalltermhadbeenexactlythat:spending,notinvesting.Thattimewaslost,andIwasnotabletoprofitfurtherfromanyofit.
Ontheotherhand,
techniqueBwasaverydifferentanimal.Inoticedthat99%oftheworkloadinBwascollectingdigitalresources.Istillhadthemofcourse
r
andsothistermIcouldreuseBwithnearlynowork:asourceofpassiveincome!Performingsomeinformalsurveysoftheclasssofar,IfindthatabouthalfthestudentsaregettingseriousincomeoutofBthisterm
,
whileIhavehadtoputlittletonoadditionaleffortintocreatingormaintainingBthisterm.
SowhatwasB?
TechniqueBwascollectinginstructionalvideos,producedbyvariousorganizations"andpeoplearoundtheworld,thatareprovidedfreeofchargetoanyoneandeveryoneviaYouTube.Icollectedthevideosandsortedthembasedonthecontentaswetaughtit,groupedthembyweeknumber,andpostedlinkstothemonthewebsite.Studentsareinstructed(andwarned)thattheirusewasoptional,thattheycouldbeusedtohelplearnthecontent,thattheyshouldbeseenasanadditiontoclass(notareplacement),andfinallythatanyandallrequirementsonshowingworkweredeterminedbymyself,andnotwhatwasdoneinthevideos.Nomatterhowgoodaninstructoris,therewillalwaysbestudentswhothinksodifferentlythantheinstructorthattheywillhaveseriousdifficultylearningfromthem.Thisisagreatreasonwhytextbooksaresouseful-theyexplainthesamecontentbutinadifferentway.Thesevideosplayedtheroleofthetextbookinthatway(studentsweremuchmorewillingtowatcha10minutevideo
VOLUME20NO.3SPRING2012
31
 
thanread3or4pagesofamathtextbook}.IfyouwouldliketoseethevideosIused,youcanvisitthecoursewebsiteathttp://bit.ly/KlogsQ.
OtherExamplesofCreatingPassiveIncomeinEducation
CreatingVideosofLectures.
Irecentlywatchedarecordedwebinar
on"TheFlippedClassroom"(availableonlineathttp://bit.ly/GN9mCd).
If
you'renotfamiliar,theconceptofthe"FlippedClassroom"isoneinwhichstudentsdothingsinclasstheywouldnormallydoashomework,anddoforhomeworkwhattheywouldnormallydoinclass.Thisisoftenaccomplishedbycreatingdigitalvideolecturesthatthestudentsareexpectedtowatchathomeontheirowntimewheretheylearnthecontent,butthenwhentheycometoclassthenextday,theydoproblems,gethelp,andresource,theyhadn'tplannedtofliptheclassroom,butwhentheydiddecidetoflipit{alaterpedagogicaldecision},theywereabletousethistechnologicalresourceforthispurpose.Evenmorepassiveincome,allproducedbypressingonerecordbutton.
LectureNotes.
Whencomputersbecamecommon
place,manyinstructorsmovedfromhandwrittenslidestodigitalslides{createdinPowerPoint,orsomeothersoftwarepackage}.Whilethisinitiallytooksomeinvestmentoftime,thedividendshavebeenpayingoffforyears-nowdigitallyproducedslidesareeasiertostore,easiertoworkwith,easiertofix,andcanincludemultimediathatwouldhavebeenimpossibleonhandwrittenslides.Morethanthisthough,manyhaveevenreleasedtheirlecturenotestotheirstudents.Thiscreatesevenmoreprofitforthestudents-theprofitofbeingfreetolistentoalectureratherthanfranticallycollaboratewiththeinstructorandwithpeerstowritenotes,oreasilyacquirenotesfromaclasstheydevelopandunderstandingandamasteryofthemissedduetoillness.Allofthisispassiveincome.material.Thepresenters,JonBergmann"andAaron
Worksheets.
OnetechniqueIlovetoemploy
isthatof
Sarns",
discuss{startingat12:50}thattheyhadthisgreatworksheets.Therearemanytopicsinmathematicsinandsimpleideatohelpproducesomeincomeamongthestudents-theywouldrecordtheirlecturesandmaketherecordingsavailabletothestudents.Theresultwasanabilityforstudentstocorrecttheirunderstandingbyre-watchingthevideosoftheclasswhentheywereconfused-animmediatepassiveincome{passiveinthesensethattheamountofworknecessarytoproducethisincomewasverysmall-justrecordthelecturesandpostthevideos}.Nowstudentswereempoweredtocorrecttheirunderstandingontheirowntimeandwithoutanyextratime"expense"onthepartoftheinstructor.However,oncetheyhadthesevideos,theywereapermanentdigitalresource,andtheyhadstarteda"videolibrary"thattheycoulduseinthefuture.Whentheyinvestedinmakingthewhichstudentswillbenefitfromrotelearning,orlearningbyrepetition.Ihaveusedmyprogrammingskillsovertheyearstowritecomputerprogramsthatgenerateapracticallyinfinitesupplyofmathproblems,withsolutions.Ithenusetheprogramtoproduceapdfworksheetofalargenumberquestions,andonefollowingitofthesolutionstothosequestions.Thesearepostedonmywebsiteandeverysingleyearstudentshaveaccesstothem.Theyrequirenorealworktomaintain,excepttopostthemonthewebsiteattheappropriatetime,andadvertisethemtothestudents,andconsistentlystudentsinformmethattheyfoundtheseworksheetsinvaluable.
(Continued
onpage
33)
3
Therearesomegreatorganizationsouttherewhichcreatesomeamazinginstructionalvideosinthespecificaimofsharingknowledge.TheorganizationsIusedinparticularweretheKhanAcademyhttp://www.khanacademy.org,PatrickJMThttp://patrickjmt.com,andMIT OpenCoursewarehttp://ocw.mit.edu/index.htm.TheKhanAcademyhasmadenewsrecentlywhentheyreceivedsignificantfinancialbackingfromboththeBill
&
MelindaGatesFoundation,andfromGoogle.FormoreinformationontheKhanAcademy,thecreatorSalmanKhangaveaTEDtalkyoucanwatchhere:http://www.youtube.com/watch?v-nTFEUsudhfs.4http://blendedclassroom.blogspot.cal
5
http://chemicalsams.blogspot.ca/
32
VOLUME20NO.3SPRING2012

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