My Best Lecture: The Casual Adventurer’s Guide to the Sistine Chapel Ceiling

In the fall of 2014, the Adams Center began our popular “My Best Lecture” series, which spotlights faculty presenting on a topic that excites them and engages their students. The series connects colleagues across the university to engage meaningful conversations and to nurture our relationships with one another.

In this video, Dan McGregor presents his best lecture: The Casual Adventurer’s Guide to the Sistine Chapel Ceiling. For centuries, Michelangelo Buonarroti’s famous Sistine frescoes have been considered one of the towering achievements of Western Art. But why? Do they deserve their august reputation? Are they worth visiting, considering the twin headaches of being herded like tourist-livestock and shushed by guards? This lecture will unpack the secrets, symbolism, and cultural impact of this most famous cycle of paintings.

Jonathan Camp introduces genomics research into CORE 210 classroom

The Adams Center would like to recognize faculty who have exhibited extraordinary teaching, scholarship and service. We want to congratulate faculty members for their hard work, achievements and advancements in their field. This month we are spotlighting Jonathan Camp, who was nominated for his research in introducing genomics to his CORE 210 class.

campWhat are you doing? 

In my CORE 210: Identity and Community class, my co-teacher Trevor Thompson and I invited a dozen students to participate with us in sending off a vial of DNA to be tested for ethnicity. We got the results a few weeks later, interviewed the students and discussed in class what we learned from this experience. This was a pilot study that we intend to continue with more students, especially as the technology improves.

Why are you doing it? 

Contemporary genomics offers an unprecedented glimpse into our past. Sometimes, the story in the DNA doesn’t necessarily match the story that is handed down. How does learning about our deeper ancestry impact how we understand ourselves, and how we communicate who we are? More importantly, as a communication scholar, I’m interested in how the experience of DNA testing can help us question harmful categories of “race” and move toward a more constructive, bridge-building dialogue. Whether you believe we are descended from Adam and Eve or evolved biologically from stardust, genomics research shows that we are all deeply connected.

Why do you think it is important to incorporate this practice into the classroom? 

One of our required texts was Deep Ancestry by anthropologist and geneticist Spencer Wells, who led The Genomic Project from 2005-2015. This book introduced students to the science of genomics and gave us a platform for informed conversations about the impact of DNA research for new understandings of our main subjects in the course–the nature of human identity and community. What better way to enliven this subject matter than to participate directly in it? Thus, this integration of content with research created a unique opportunity for engaged learning.

Who is being impacted the most? 

Obviously, we who participated in the DNA project were impacted the most, since it was our individual DNA that we sent off for analysis to determine where in the world our ancestors came from. For instance, I learned that I am mostly Irish. I didn’t know that, nor did my parents, although a good friend quipped, “Well, that explains a lot!” A student-participant was astounded to find out how much Native American ancestry was reflected in his DNA, which prompted a desire to learn more about “that side of his family,” as well as the general history of native populations on this continent. Although these personal narratives are inherently interesting and shed an intimate light on course content, we hope the impact spreads beyond the personal, and helps us frame more constructive conversations about how we are connected on this planet.

What hopes do you have for the future when this work is done? 

I’m wanting a greater depth of richness in the reporting of research. So, as we move forward with more rounds of study, I’d like to integrate student-produced digital story-telling projects, perhaps to be featured on a blog platform.

Adams Center Learning Feast and Festival

RecipeCardEach new semester brings a chance to try new approaches in your courses: we get the opportunity to rethink how we present material, connect with students and content, or assess learning. Join us for our Spring Semester kickoff on Friday, January 15 for a Learning Feast, a mini-conference with food, great ideas, and a chance to share with your colleagues new strategies you are using in your classes.  

The Learning Feast will run from 11:30-3:00 with different options during each time slot.  This come-and-go event will provide food, four sessions worth of teaching ideas you can integrate into your courses this semester, and a flash drive “cookbook” of learning recipes and ideas.

 

11:20-12:10 Session 1

Learning Strategies Roundtable — Laura Carroll, Jennifer Shewmaker, David Christianson, Berlin Fang (Classroom)

Join us for quick overviews of four different strategies you can integrate into your classrooms — from enabling students to combat bias to using Canvas for active learning. There will be four stations on different topics, with the opportunity to rotate among the stations for 10 minutes each. Participants can attend each station or choose to focus on those of particular interest. 

Adobe Apps and Creative Cloud — Marisa Beard and Lyndell Lee (Woods)

Curious about how to use our new Adobe access? Join us!

 

12:15-12:55 Session 2

Speed Geeking —  David Christianson (Classroom)

Speed Geeking invites ACU faculty to share an example, activity, or idea that might enhance teaching. Each presenter (first come, first serve!) will have 7 minutes to present their ideas or experiences, after which listeners will rotate to the next idea. Topic ideas might include storytelling, gamification, problem-based learning, reflective writing, flipping the classroom, writing strategies, student engagement techniques, and other things we haven’t dreamed of (but you have).

One-on-One Consultations — Laura, Berlin, Jennifer (Conference Room)

Want the chance to brainstorm one-on-one about ideas for your courses? Come ask questions about writing, active learning, Canvas, or anything else you’d like to brainstorm about for your courses.

Understanding your IDEA feedback — Marisa and Lyndell (Woods)

Learn how to interpret your student feedback and use it to shape your approaches to teaching.

Stage 1 — Kyle Dickson (Bamboo Room)

Our main production studio upstairs in the Learning Studio is now available to trained faculty and students. Stage 1 makes high quality video possible in 3 creative zones. Allow yourself to be inspired and challenged to upgrade your video projects using the same tools industry pros use.

 

1:15-1:55 Session 3

Speed Geeking Round 2–  David Christianson (Classroom)

Speed Geeking invites ACU faculty to share an example, activity, or idea that might enhance teaching. Each presenter (first come, first serve!) will have 7 minutes to present their ideas or experiences, after which listeners will rotate to the next idea. Topic ideas might include storytelling, gamification, problem-based learning, reflective writing, flipping the classroom, writing strategies, student engagement techniques, and other things we haven’t dreamed of (but you have).

One-on-One Consultations — Laura, Berlin, Jennifer (Conference Room)

Want the chance to brainstorm one-on-one about ideas for your courses? Come ask questions about writing, active learning, Canvas, or anything else you’d like to brainstorm about for your courses.

Adobe Apps and Creative Cloud — Marisa and Lyndell (Woods)

Curious about how to use our new Adobe access? Join us.

Stage 1 — Kyle (Bamboo Room)

Our main production studio upstairs in the Learning Studio is now available to trained faculty and students. Stage 1 makes high quality video possible in 3 creative zones. Allow yourself to be inspired and challenged to upgrade your video projects using the same tools industry pros use.

 

2:00-2:45 Session 4

Recipe and Action Planning — Berlin (Classroom)

In the last part of the learning feast, you’ll get the chance to reflect on how you might use the strategies you’ve been thinking about.  We will ask you to finalize and present your learning “recipes”, which will include name of the learning solution you are cooking up, time to prepare it, servings (large classes or small classes) , ingredients, and steps to follow. No cooking skill is needed, but some action planning is expected!

Understanding your IDEA feedback — Marisa and Lyndell (Woods)

Learn how to interpret your student feedback and use it to shape your approaches to teaching.

Stage 1 — Kyle Dickson (Bamboo Room)

Our main production studio upstairs in the Learning Studio is now available to trained faculty and students. Stage 1 makes high quality video possible in 3 creative zones. Allow yourself to be inspired and challenged to upgrade your video projects using the same tools industry pros use.

 

Holy Hospitality: Following the Call of Jesus to Welcome ALL Children with Dana Pemberton

We all know the passages. Whoever welcomes a child in my name welcomes me.” Let the little children come to me . . for it is to such as these that the kingdom of God Belongs. And yet, we often struggle in our churches and children’s ministries to welcome many of the children we encounter — children who are difficult, different and even damaged. How does our theology of childhood limit our ability to welcome all children? What perspectives might equip us better to answer the call the let the little children come?

Social media and student self-regulation: Can they coexist?

We often blame technology and social media for distraction, lack of social skills, etc. Is it possible, however, to leverage the power of social media to facilitate learning communities outside of the classroom? In this presentation, Stephen Baldridge looks at the literature behind this and details ongoing research conducted on campus about utilizing Twitter to build community and increase healthy academic behaviors with students.

The Idea of the University: Pursuing Wisdom in an Information Age: Critical Reflection on Newman’s Idea of a University

We live in a world with unprecedented access to vast quantities of information. In one sense, we feel more connected through social media and various technological advances. At the tap of a finger, the requested pieces of information are readily available. Yet, such information alone does not necessarily produce understanding or wisdom. In a more profound sense, we recognize the difference between acquiring many pieces of information and seeing how they fit together in light of one another. Recognizing such a difference raises an important question: what does it mean to pursue wisdom in an information age? This session explores the relevance of John Henry Newman’s thought for addressing such a question. Readings for this session can be found here.

Houston Heflin researches HeadsUp as a technology tool in collaborative learning environments

The Adams Center would like to recognize faculty who have exhibited extraordinary teaching, scholarship and service. We want to congratulate faculty members for their hard work, achievements and advancements in their field. This month we are spotlighting Houston Heflin, who was nominated for his research on the impact of mobile technology on student learning.

Heflin_Houston108x153What are you doing? 

Over the past two years I have collaborated with the Adams Center and Cornerstone faculty to investigate the efficacy of HeadsUp as a technology tool in collaborative learning environments (small groups). HeadsUp was created at ACU to facilitate assigning students to small groups and then disseminating prompts as well as roles for students to fill as they engage in conversations created by an instructor. Beyond positive faculty reports of its effectiveness, we were interested in learning what influence HeadsUp has on student engagement and critical thinking.

(This collaborative research project would not have been possible without significant contributions from Dr. Jennifer Shewmaker, Jessica Nguyen, Lyndell Lee, an undergraduate researcher, and two graduate assistants.)

Our research involved 159 students participating in 39 different small groups that were constructed in one of three ways: “common practice,” “best practice,” and “HeadsUp.” The common practice groups were characterized by the instructor verbally stating the prompt and the students self-selecting the small groups. The best practice groups were distinguished by the instructor handing out a written prompt and the students being assigned to random groups. Finally, HeadsUp groups were also assigned random small groups and had the written prompt for the small group on their mobile device. Each group was required to answer the prompt with a written response at the end of their group time.

Comparing the qualitative data from the written responses, the quantitative data from exit surveys of students, and most interestingly, the video footage of these students involved in their small groups, we are hoping to draw conclusions about the most effective ways for teachers to construct small groups and implement technology in classes.

Why are you doing it? 

It is now commonly accepted that lecture cannot be the only teaching strategy used in college classrooms where faculty seek student engagement. Collaborative learning environments (or small groups) are one way to help students engage one another and the content of our courses. But what exactly is happening in these small groups?

Many faculty have observed social loafing and passive group participants who use small group time as an opportunity to disengage. Is there any critical thinking happening in the best small groups? How might faculty construct small groups so that students are truly learning? And how can technology be employed in classes so that it facilitates rather than distracts from learning?

These are questions we hope to answer. As we reach conclusions to these questions, we believe they have the potential to improve the quality of our teaching and the quality of our students’ learning.

Why do you think it is important to incorporate this practices into the classroom? 

Each year we see a report published from the National Study of Student Engagement because educators have learned that engaged students are more likely to be learning. Or as Terry Doyle has said in a book on learner-centered teaching, “The one who does the work does the learning.” Small groups are one way to engage students in active conversation that helps them discover and learn, but all small groups are not created equal…

Some small groups demand more of students, requiring them to follow specific, layered instructions. Some small groups require students to take a position on an issue they might not agree with. Some small groups require students to fulfill a role for the group to function. And some small groups require written or verbal products at the end of the group time. Theses are just a handful of the many ways small groups are constructed differently, and they may all impact learning differently. We want to know what these differences mean for learners.

Who is being impacted the most? 

The people most impacted by collaborative learning environments and technology are the faculty and students who use these tools in the classroom. Faculty at ACU have access to many resources and technology tools, but it often takes work to learn the tools that are most effective for the courses we teach. In addition, we are not always sure about the positive impact it has on education — if the payoff is worth the effort to learn the tool.

What hopes do you have for the future when this work is done? 

When our work is completed, we hope to be able to speak confidently about the ways faculty can construct small groups in order to promote learning. We also hope to describe ways technology can supplement our teaching and not distract students during small group discussions. Ultimately, I hope the faculty at ACU will continue innovating in the classroom, whether through the use of technology or other teaching strategies such as small groups, to promote more student engagement and, ultimately, student learning.

For further information on Houston’s research, please see his Adams Center presentation, The Impact of Mobile Technology on Student Attitudes, Engagement, and Learning.

The Idea of the University: Session 1 Video

This semester, Dr. Fred Aquino is leading a discussion on The Idea of the University.  Purposeful teaching and research at ACU is dependent upon sustained and serious reflection upon the idea of the Christian University within our context. Along these lines, the group will explore the theological and philosophical rationale for the idea of ACU. Readings for the faculty learning community can be found here.

Missed the first session? Catch up on the conversation:

My Best Lecture: Tom Lee

How are community dynamics shaped by ecological change and the interacting of human and natural histories? Tom Lee discusses what he learned from 14 summers spent in Northern Michigan, studying rodent populations in bogs and old growth white pine forests. Watch this latest contribution to our My Best Lecture series.

Terry Baggs and Denise Barnett publish research on cognitive variables and graduate program success

The Adams Center would like to recognize faculty who have exhibited extraordinary teaching, scholarship and service. We want to congratulate faculty members for their hard work, achievements and advancements in their field. This month we are spotlighting Terry Baggs and Denise Barnett, who were nominated for their research on predicting success in graduate programs when looking at cognitive variables.

terry-baggs Denise_BarnettWhat are you doing? 

We partnered with Kim McCullough of Appalachian State University to embark on a multi-year and multi-university research project to assess the relationship between the cognitive variables commonly used in graduate admissions with a student’s success in graduate speech-language pathology. This project became the largest known project of its kind. For the independent variables, we considered overall GPA, GPA in the major, GRE scores, and science courses required by the American-Speech-Language-Hearing Association. (These courses include biological science, physical science, and speech-hearing science.) Because our secondary accreditation body gauges program success based on student’s credentialing examination, the Praxis, it was decided to utilize the Praxis score as the dependent variable. More than 200 graduate students at four universities in the mid-south and southwestern United States participated with a response rate of 97%. We found that course grades in physical science and speech-hearing science and scores on the GRE were able to predict success on the Praxis examination with a high degree of accuracy. Being part of a clinical rehabilitation profession, we were also interested in knowing if any of these independent variables were related to clinical success. We discovered a significant correlation between the quantitative score of the GRE and clinical performance. These findings were published recently in the Journal of Allied Health (JAH, 2015, 44[1], 10-16).

Why are you doing it? JAH

All rehabilitation therapies (PT, OT, and Speech) are experiencing record demand for therapists and subsequent record numbers of applications for graduate school. Admission committees talk about numbers of applicants typically in the hundreds per program for only a few openings. (We have personally experienced this at ACU. This year, our program received 227 applications for 24 openings.) Can we improve the admission process by assessing typical variables? Is it possible to make the process more efficient by assessing the predictive value of these variables? Our findings have helped us solidify our admissions process here at ACU.

Why do you think it is important to incorporate this practice into the classroom? 

University graduate admissions committees have an ethical responsibility to students, potential future patients, and other constituents to admit only qualified applicants for their graduate programs. It is important to accept students who can meet the demands of academic and clinical work and pass their credentialing examination without the need for remediation. We believe that graduate admissions should not be relegated to guesswork but be grounded in an evidence base.

Who is being impacted the most? 

We believe this research assists graduate programs in finding the students who will succeed academically and become an exceptional therapist. This research impacts potential students, graduate programs, and future patients who will benefit from the services of our graduates.

What hopes do you have for the future when this work is done? 

Our first research project was recently published in the Journal of Allied Health. We are hopeful that many university admissions committees will benefit from our findings and will be able to advocate for modifying the process. Because of the aforementioned findings, we are embarking on a new study to assess the relationship between the SAT/ACT scores and the GRE in speech-language pathology students. We believe that early identification may assist undergraduate programs in recognizing good students who need some assistance in developing skills that will lead to acceptance into a graduate program.

The Idea of the University Reading List

The Idea of the University is a Faculty Learning Community taking place in the Adams Center over the course of the Fall 2015 semester. Purposeful teaching and research at ACU is dependent upon sustained and serious reflection upon the idea of the Christian University within our context. Along these lines, the group will explore the theological and philosophical rationale for the idea of ACU. The four sessions will be open to all faculty and administrators. The readings will be a springboard for discussion and will include theological and philosophical accounts of the idea of a university and of the relevant conceptual issues (e.g., the aims of education).

Please refer to the following for the assigned readings for each session:

Session 1: September 24

  • R.S. Peters, Education as Initiation (London: The University of London Institute of Education, 1964), pp. 7-48.
  • Basil Mitchell, “Religious Education,” in Faith and Criticism (Oxford: Clarendon Press, 1994), 131-150.

Session 2: October 19

Session 3: October 26

Session 4: November 9

  • Nicholas Wolterstorff, Educating for Shalom: Essays on Higher Christian Education (Eerdmans, 2004), pp. 155-171

The Impact of Mobile Technology on Student Attitudes, Engagement, and Learning

In this presentation, Houston Heflin shares the results of a study examining student engagement and higher order thinking skills in a cooperative learning environment both with and without mobile devices. The study was conducted with 170 university students in three different randomly assigned learning groups. Results compare the groups in four areas of attitudes, performance, perceptions, and engagement.

Sam Stewart and the Mastery Approach to Teaching

The Adams Center would like to recognize faculty who have exhibited extraordinary teaching, scholarship and service. We want to congratulate faculty members for their hard work, achievements and advancements in their field. This month we are spotlighting Sam Stewart who was nominated by his department chair for his excellent example in project-based approaches, facilitating effective peer feedback, and mastery approaches to assessment.

Stewart_Sam108x153What are you doing?

In order to assure student competence as a potential teacher educator, I am requiring mastery on all assignments in my classes. Simply stated, if a student fails to score at or above a 74% level on the assignment, the student must redo the assignment to a level that is at a minimum score of 74%. In addition, not turning in an assignment is not an option if the student wants to satisfactorily complete the course.

Why are you doing it?

My first reason for requiring mastery is that I want to model for my students, who are aspiring teachers, that good teaching is not about students obtaining good grades but is about what students learn. I make it a point to not assign what might be thought of as busy work and make sure that my students know why the assignment is of value. If the assignment is not important enough to be required to be done correctly, then it is not an assignment worth doing.

My second reason for requiring mastery is that I teach in a professional licensure program. Just as I would not want a physician or attorney who are not competent treating or representing me, I do not want to license teachers who have not demonstrated competence in skills and knowledge necessary to be a successful teacher.

Why do you think it is important to incorporate this practice into the classroom?

For too long it has been possible for students to play the grade game and not learn the content and skills being taught. This has been true at the K-12 level and at the college level. For example, a high school student might go to class every day, be on time, do all the homework, and receive a good grade even though the student failed to master or even comprehend some of the concepts being taught. Another example is that a really good student with many good grades might just opt to not do an assignment because as they calculate their grade they find they can take a zero and still maintain a grade that is acceptable to them.

Who is being impacted the most?

Ironically, the students in my classes are being impacted most as their grades are improved by the fact they are held to a mastery standard. It is really difficult to fail a class where you have completed all work competently. It also removes a significant amount of stress from the classroom as the students and I are all focused on the learning and not on the grade.

A second group that I hope are impacted greatly are the future students of my teacher education students. When my students become teachers, I am hopeful they will change the classroom culture to focus on learning and not on grades. This allows the classroom to be a place where everyone has hope; a place where teaching and learning are not punitive in nature.

What hopes do you have for the future when this work is done? 

When my students become teachers I am hopeful they will change their classroom culture and hopefully that of the schools where they work to focus on learning and not on grades. This allows the classroom to be a place where everyone has hope and teaching and learning are not punitive in nature. It is time that K-12 education becomes a places where it is the student and the teacher against the material, and students are evaluated by demonstrating competence on standards.

Faculty Fusion 2015 — EXPLORE

Let’s explore new ideas at Faculty Fusion, August 18, 2015. Save the date and register for activities here, by emailing  rsvp2ac@acu.edu or by calling the Adams Center at 325-674-2455. Registering saves your spot in each session and allows us to know how many to expect. We look forward to seeing you!Fusion invite8:30-9:00 Continental Breakfast: Adams Center

9:00-9:50 Session 1

Courage to Teach — Stephanie Hamm

Parker Palmer reminds us that “Good teaching cannot be reduced to technique; good teaching comes from the identity and integrity of the teacher.” This interactive session will explore ways of creating community in the classroom.

Canvas Intro — Berlin Fang and David Christianson

Ready to get started with the Canvas LMS? In this session, we will cover creating a Canvas course, sharing your content, collecting assignments, managing grades and creating quizzes.

How Learning Works — John Erhke, Sarah Lee and Rachel Slaymaker

How do students learn? What gets in their way? How can faculty set up our classes in ways that lead to optimal learning? This is what the faculty who piloted the new Master Teacher Program last year sought to understand. Join them as they talk about what they learned over the year-long program and share practical tips for helping students engage prior learning, organize knowledge to build mastery, and become self-directed learners.

How to Make it Stick in the First Week of Class — Trey Shirley, Phyllis Bolin, Karen Cukrowski, Steve Hare

Interested in learning about ways to help your students remember material? Participants in last year’s Make it Stick reading group share some helpful suggestions you can use in the first few classes of the semester.

10:00-10:50 Session 2

Courage to Teach — Stephanie Hamm

Parker Palmer reminds us that “Good teaching cannot be reduced to technique; good teaching comes from the identity and integrity of the teacher.” This interactive session will explore ways of creating community in the classroom.

Canvas Intermediate — Berlin Fang and David Christianson

Familiar with Canvas, but ready to learn more? This session will cover: promoting student interaction in Canvas, grading with rubrics, checking assignment originality with Canvas, harvesting data to improve learning, moderating quizzes, and using Canvas mobile apps.

Adobe Creative Cloud and Lynda.com — Kyle Dickson and Mike Wiggins

This fall all ACU students will again have access to Adobe Creative Cloud and Lynda.com. Adobe CC provides professional media and design tools like Photoshop, Illustrator, and Premiere Pro (among others). Lynda.com offers over 100,000 video tutorials for teaching most any software title as well as professional skills like interviewing and public speaking. Join us for a quick overview of Adobe’s Creative Cloud and Lynda.com and ways they support a range of classes on campus.

IDEA — Marisa Beard

According to Dr. Rhodes, “IDEA-CL provides an extensive database of ideas for improving teaching that faculty can apply based on the robust student feedback the instrument gathers.” Join this session to learn about your role in the new student feedback form process and how it can positively impact you.

How to Make it Stick in the First Week of Class — Trey Shirley, Phyllis Bolin, Karen Cukrowski, Steve Hare

Interested in learning about ways to help your students remember material? Participants in last year’s Make it Stick reading group share some helpful suggestions you can use in the first few classes of the semester.

11:00-11:50 Session 3 

IDEA — Marisa Beard

According to Dr. Rhodes, “IDEA-CL provides an extensive database of ideas for improving teaching that faculty can apply based on the robust student feedback the instrument gathers.” Join this session to learn about your role in the new student feedback form process and how it can positively impact you.

How Learning Works — John Erhke, Sarah Lee and Rachel Slaymaker

How do students learn? What gets in their way? How can faculty set up our classes in ways that lead to optimal learning? This is what the faculty who piloted the new Master Teacher Program last year sought to understand. Join them as they talk about what they learned over the year-long program and share practical tips for helping students engage prior learning, organize knowledge to build mastery, and become self-directed learners.

Practical Ways to Use Social Media in the Classroom — Stephen Baldridge

How do you engage students more effectively in class? Is it possible to teach a class without being face-to-face (or without them being stuck behind a computer monitor)? How can you create learning communities within your classes where students generate content long after your course is over? This session will rely on recent research to discuss best practices in pairing mobile learning strategies with frequent use of social media. Real course examples as well as syllabus wording and policies will be given.

Storytelling Through Digital Media — Kyle Dickson

Faculty at ACU have been teaching with digital storytelling since 2011 and the projects and approaches continue to mature. Come hear how digital media projects have been used to support teaching, scholarship, and tenure and promotion and how you can get involved in the next year.

Backwards Course Design — David Christianson

The usual questions one begins a course design with are, “What content do I need to cover?” and “What textbook will I use?” Later, attention is given to how the content will be covered, and how to assess the students’ knowledge. In their now classic “Understanding by Design,” Williams & McTighe encourage us to approach course design “backwards.” Come find out how to approach your course design (and redesign) using Backwards Design, to the benefit of your students’ learning.

12:00-1:00 Lunch: Hunter Welcome Center

1:15-3:00 Session 4

Maker Lab Demonstration — Nil Santana

This demonstration will be on laser cutting. A maximum of 15 people can attend, so RSVP soon if you want to reserve a spot!

Master Teacher Session One — Karen Maxwell and Lloyd Goldsmith

This session is for anyone planning on participating in the 2015-2016 Master Teacher Program.

Welcome to the Learning Studio Tour — Kyle Dickson

Canvas for Cornerstone — Cliff Barbarick 

Jill Scott partners with Reagan Elementary to train teacher candidates

The Adams Center would like to recognize faculty who have exhibited extraordinary teaching, scholarship and service. We want to congratulate faculty members for their hard work, achievements and advancements in their field. This month we are spotlighting Jill Scott, who was nominated by her department chair for her work with Reagan Elementary to provide hands-on training for teacher candidates and academic support for Reagan’s teachers and students.

What are you doing?

OLYMPUS DIGITAL CAMERAI have created a unique learning experience for ACU teacher candidates called Reading Rangers, an after-school tutoring program at Reagan Elementary. I started this program as part of the course READ 480 Problems in Reading. This senior level field-based course serves as the culminating literacy course for elementary teacher candidates. Developed in the style of project-based learning, students in this course are challenged to combine theory, best practices, knowledge of assessment and interpersonal skills to create a learning environment and instructional sessions for a first or second grade struggling reader.

After several weeks of front loading information, the teacher candidates work in groups to take an empty room at Reagan Elementary and create their own model classroom. Simulating their first year of teaching, candidates use the furniture and materials on hand to create the learning environments. They design the floor plan, create literacy stations and develop materials. Each teacher candidate is then assigned a struggling reader. The teacher candidate will assess the student, develop an instructional plan and deliver at least 12 lessons, while continually monitoring student progress.

Interaction with parents and other school personnel is a unique feature of this program. Parents are invited to an open house before tutoring starts and a Readers’ Theater presentation is at the end. At the end of each session, the teacher candidates have an additional opportunity to interact with the students’ families. They hold a conference with their student’s teacher to share their student’s work and make suggestions for further learning. Often times, in this authentic setting, the teacher candidates have additional opportunities to work with principals, nurses and custodians to resolve problems or create learning opportunities. These types of opportunities are unique to the setting.

Why are you doing it?

New teachers have many challenges their first few years of teaching. I feel strongly that it is my responsibility to prepare our teacher candidates to meet these challenges. The best way I have found to do that is to provide real life situations where I am in the situation with them, providing modeling and support but not all the answers. I tell my students that they will not like me very much at the beginning of this project, because I will not give them the answers. In a very Socratic teaching manner, I ask more questions than I give answers. When they ask me how they should set up the classroom, or where they can get materials, or what they need to do next, I respond with “What do you think?” Allowing them to synthesize all their knowledge and tools to create their own answers not only forces them to work at a higher level, it creates confidence and experiences for them to fall back on. I do promise them that I will not let them fail.

My work at Reagan Elementary began as a response to a request from the Abilene Independent School District’s administration. This was a great opportunity to develop a professional partnership that extended beyond Reading Rangers. Reagan Elementary has a high at-risk population, much like the schools where I spent my 36 years of teaching. Providing extra support for the students and teachers through the tutoring sessions is one way to help. Over the four years that I have been working with Reagan, their students’ achievement have risen in all academic areas. In addition to Reading Rangers, I mentor teachers and administrators, volunteer in classrooms and provide in-service training. I serve on several of their campus committees. Other courses and professors have worked at Reagan providing similar activities. Many of their teachers serve as cooperating teachers for our teacher candidates. This partnership continues to grow with their involvement with our Master’s in Teaching and Learning.

Why do you think it is important to incorporate this practice into the classroom?

Giving the students opportunities to use their knowledge and skills in real IMG_1502life settings is what learning to be a teacher is all about. I can talk about the importance of classroom environment and explain theory, but when a teacher candidate finds herself facing a blackboard with the students behind her and not knowing what is going on, it becomes a reality. When a teacher candidate asks her student why he is taking home canned food in a backpack and learns that the child is homeless and the school is helping to feed the family, the reality of teaching is evident. Modeling respectful interactions with parents cannot be done in the typical university classroom. Teaching problem solving and on the spot decision making cannot be replicated in a traditional classroom. This lab setting provides those types of opportunities. ACU graduates return after their first year or two of teaching and point to specific situations that occurred in Reading Rangers that helped them deal with situations in their teaching.

Who is being impacted the most?

Although all stakeholders (me, ACU students, AISD teachers, AISD students) are being impacted, I believe it is the ACU teacher candidates that are most impacted. These new teachers then go forward and impact their students. One of my former students shared with another professor that every time she faces a difficult parent “she sees and hears Dr. Scott and the way she treated parents.” I cannot create these experiences; they just happen during Reading Rangers. Our graduates are becoming the teacher leaders on their campuses because in part from some of the experiences they have in Reading Rangers. As AISD has moved to using the Fountas and Pinnell Benchmark testing which we teach in READ 480, our students have become the experts even as student teachers.

What hopes do you have for the future when this work is done?

headerI hope to continue working in situations that provide real life opportunities for teacher candidates to work with students where more knowledgeable others, including myself, can serve as models. I would love to work more in partner schools or develop a lab school where all our teaching is done in a cooperative manner. Following Vygotsky’s apprenticeship model in a lab school will always be my dream.

My Best Lecture: Steven Moore

As part of the My Best Lecture Series, Steven Moore leads colleagues in a discussion exploring the mighty power of words to realize their ability to unveil the ugliness of humanity as well as shine a light on the beauty that is around us and within us in a lecture entitled “Pie, Poetry & Prose: Teaching to Engage and to Inspire Social Activism.”

Lynette Austin designs Language Assessment Tool with Pearson Education, Inc.

What are you doing?

I am working with Pearson Education, Inc. to design a special language assessment tool to be utilized with children who are English language learners (ELLS) and who are suspected of having a language/learning disability. The type of assessment is called a “dynamic assessment”; it is intended to measure a child’s capacity to learn a new language-based skill during a brief, interactive (dynamic) teaching session.

Whereas a traditional language test checks what a child knows and does not know in different language areas, and then computes a score, this type of assessment tool will look at a quality called “modifiability,” (how easily can the child change and learn). It will also measure the amount of effort and time it takes to teach the skill to a particular child. Once completed, the measure should be able to compare the data collected on a specific client to a database of results from children who are typical English language learners. Current literature indicates that this type of measure can help identify those who are struggling with learning the new language due to a disability rather than a language difference stemming from having a diverse language background.

Dynamic assessment research teamMy graduate student researchers and I have developed two of the three projected tasks for the assessment, and designed an assessment protocol and procedural guide. We also have created a “mock-up” of the interactive teaching activities to be used (all the materials will eventually be available on a digital platform; likely a web-based application). We have collected research data on whether or not the dynamic assessment tool is effective at facilitating and measuring change in some English skills for these children–and the data so far indicates that it is! The tasks are now being sent out to speech-language pathologists in the field for their feedback.

 

Why are you doing it?

One of my primary teaching and research interests, and an area in which I continue to practice as a speech-language pathology consultant, is in the area of service delivery to individuals who have diverse cultural and language backgrounds (CLD). We have a history in Texas and in the US of over-identifying language disabilities in the CLD population, and that is a discriminatory practice (although accidental!).

It is very difficult for speech and language pathologists to test children in this country who are learning to speak English, and do so in a way that is language–and culture–fair. Obviously, English language learners do not yet speak English fluently, so our typical speech and language tests don’t work for them. Furthermore, it is often impossible to find assessment tool in these children’s home languages (L1). For this reason, we need reasonable ways to look at what they are able to do with the English they have learned, and decide if they are showing adequate language-learing skills.

English language learners are often referred by physicians, teachers and others for speech and language assessment; we must have assessment strategies that are supported by research to effectively assess speakers with limited English skills. I’m excited about developing an assessment tool that can hopefully be used with speakers from a variety of language backgrounds to provide more accurate speech and language diagnoses for them!

 

Why do you think its important to incorporate this practice into the classroom? 

Undergraduate and graduate students who are studying speech and language pathology need to understand the scope of this problem–that of over-identifying English language learners as having language disabilities when actually they don’t. Our population in Texas and in the US is growing ever more diverse, and all speech-language pathologists in the future will need to know how to appropriately work with these populations. I think that participating in this research has helped my graduate students be much more thoughtful in how they approach language assessment–I know that those on my team are very well equipped to assess ELLS!

In the undergraduate classroom, I introduce students to the topic of dynamic assessment for ELLS as an example of an appropriate alternative assessment strategy, so that as they move through the rest of their professional preparation they are alerted to and aware of the idea of culture-fair assessment (which is an area that is not away thoroughly addressed in graduate speech pathology programs).

 

Who is being impacted the most?

Right now I believe that graduate students in our program are those who are most impacted, as they learn how to design and conduct alternative assessments for ELLS. However, I think ultimately the children for whom this measure is designed will be the most impacted, as this should increase diagnosis accuracy for young ELLS begin tested for language disabilities.

 

What hopes do you have for the future when this work is done?

Our hope is that this assessment tool will be made available to SLPS throughout the country as a web-based application. The current project addresses ELLS who are between 6-8 years of age; we are in the process of considering dynamic assessment tasks for older children as well.

 

Adams Center Summer Workshops

We are pleased to host several workshops for faculty this summer. These sessions are open to all faculty members who wish to attend. If you are in the Tenure and Promotion process, these activities will help you build your portfolio. Spaces are limited. Please RSVP at RSVP2AC@groupmail.acu.edu or call ext. 2455.

Courage to Teach ® Teaching Institute

May 12 12:00-5:00 pm (Lunch Included)

May 13 8:30-5:00 pm (Lunch Included)

May 14 8:30-12:30 pm 

We often ask the what, how and why of teaching but seldom do we ask the “who” question. Who is the self that teaches? Building on the Courage to Teach ® model (We teach who we are), pioneered by author Parker Palmer, participants will:

• Reflect upon their journeys of faith and learning, remembering the lessons from significant milestones,
• Remember the power and importance of courageous teaching in their own lives as well as those of colleagues.
• Explore what encourages them, even in the midst of great challenge,  to continue to connect students with their subject.
• Draft a philosophy of education – and who they are as an educator.
• Participate in a community of learning and exploration with colleagues from across the university.
Courage to Teach, offered by facilitators prepared by the national Center for Courage & Renewal, offers faculty opportunities to reflect on the inner dimension of teaching and leading and explore “the heart of a teacher.” In exploring questions about purpose, values, and commitment to their challenging work, faculty increase their capacity to listen, to stay true to their mission, and to engage with the work of teaching wholeheartedly.
Introduction to Canvas Workshop
Monday, May 18 9:00 am & 1:00 pm 
In this workshop, we will show faculty members and teaching assistants how to use Canvas in general. Each session will last two hours. Please indicate which session time you are attending when making your reservation.

Applying Make it Stick Workshops

May 19 12:00-3:30 pm: Using Canvas to Encourage Durable Learning (Lunch Included)

This workshop will help participants use tools and practices within Canvas to help students learn in a way that sticks beyond the end of the semester. The workshop is based on the principles of Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning (Brown, Roediger and McDaniel). Bring a laptop and at least one syllabus/course schedule.

May 20 12:00-3:30 pm: Designing Courses to Encourage Durable Learning (Lunch Included) 

Based on the principles of Brown, Roediger, and McDaniel’s book, Make it Stick: The Science of Successful Learning, this workshop will help participants focus on designing courses that facilitate spaced, interleaved retrieval practice in order to achieve durable learning foundations and promote higher levels of learning. Bring a laptop and at least one syllabus/course schedule.

Canvas Training Camp 

Session 1: June 8-9, 2015, 9:00-4:00 each day (Lunch Included) 

Session 2: August 3-4, 2015, 9:00-4:00 each day (Lunch Included)

During this two-day camp, we will be exploring the basic functions and features of Canvas. You will also have time to work on building your courses. No prior experience with a learning management system is needed. All faculty are welcome to participate. However, please RSVP for us to make proper reservations. By the end of the workshop, we hope that you will be sufficiently prepared to teach with Canvas during the fall semester.

“Packing List” for Camp

  •  Willingness to Try
  • Your Laptop
  • A Syllabus
  • A Quiz/Test/Exam
  • An Assignment
  • A File to Upload to Canvas
  • A Rubric that You Might Use

 

Hosted by the Learning Studio


Digital Storytelling Workshop
May 13 8:00-5:00 pm 
May 14 8:00-5:00 pm 
May 15: 8:00-11:00 am 
The Learning Studio will be hosting a 3-day digital storytelling workshop that provides faculty a chance to learn about media creation and work with colleagues and media specialists to develop an original digital story.
This workshop is perfect for anyone wanting to share their teaching vision in an upcoming teaching portfolio or considering a media project in a course in the fall.  This May we’ll have two tracks:
Why I Teach
Our lives have been shaped by great teachers. So much of the way we look at the world as parents, as men and women of faith, and as teachers ourselves is the product of those who modeled a unique vision for us. As we talk to our students and colleagues about who we are as teachers today, an important first step is learning to share our story.
First Person
We’ll also be leading a traditional digital storytelling workshop based on the methods of the Center for Digital Storytelling at Berkeley. The workshop provides equal parts writer support group and technology training to lead new storytellers and old hands through the process together.
Here are a few stories from your colleagues produced in previous workshops:  http://blogs.acu.edu/learningstudio/digital-storytelling-archive/
Space will be limited so please RSVP today at http://go.acu.edu/gearx.

Faculty Writing Cafe

Microsoft Word - WCCamp.docxNeed help with dissertations, publications and portfolios? Come join us for the Faculty Writing Cafe in the ACU Writing Center! Every 2nd and 4th Friday morning, the Adams Center and the Writing Center host a productive writing retreat so you can meet your writing goals. Coffee, snacks and great workspace provided. For more information, contact Cole Bennet, Director of the ACU Writing Center.