Thursday, February 5, 2009

One for the educators...

I taught an instructor CE class on online learning last Friday (to a great group in Bangor, Maine). One of the statements I made was that our educational system in EMS uses the worst possible methods for the students--and the best for us--or at least the one that makes us feel best and most secure. If you haven't guessed, I am talking about lecture.

Everyone is angry at the AHA for going to the video-driven classes but the AHA is right. We talk too much. Students don't practice and apply enough. Listening to the instructor is one of the worst ways to learn. I'm sorry but war stories have a limited value and only when short and in context. Students need to think, apply and problem solve.

In Maine there are many who oppose online classes (better termed asynchronous learning). When I suggested a hybrid online/classroom-based EMT-I class two years ago you'd think I kicked Johnny and Roy right in the nuts.

My opinion: asynchronous learning can provide better learning than we offer in the traditional classroom when done right...and make it easier for us to reach more people. Doing it right involves well constructed classes, choosing appropriate topics and providing active student/instructor participation.

I believe students text and Facebook in class because they are bored. Students are tech savvy and have outgrown our fascination with PowerPoint long ago (which seems to drain interactivity right out of the classroom unless it is done properly).

My sister-in-law (a teacher and school board member) recently posted a youtube video on her facebook page. It gives an interesting glimpse into the lives of students and some shocking realities for the classroom. Please take a look.

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