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Traditional Vs. Innovative Teaching Methods

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Constant changes in the educational system and other areas related to education always cause discussions around this topic. It is obvious, that changes turn positive only if they lead to development and improvement in the educational environment while other changes don’t bring any benefit. That’s why, when speaking about teaching methods, we can hear a lot of critical comments about variations in types of teaching. Nevertheless, we may also hear some supporting arguments. So, what arguments seem to be stronger – about traditional or innovative methods of teaching?

Traditional Vs. Innovative Teaching Methods

Traditional and Innovative Teaching – What’s the Difference?

What is the difference between the traditional lecture and the innovative one? New approaches to teaching are supposed to change the specifics of students’ involvement in the learning process from passive to active type. Surprisingly, this difference is not the only one. For example, before, lectures were formalized – professors used to deliver a lecture and students used to write down the most important things from what they have a heart. Recently some innovations came through, lectures became more interactive so that students and professors organized their work via cooperation in the learning process.

Game-based learning – fact or fiction?

One of the most famous for using up-to-date approaches to arranging educational process is Q2L (Quest to learn) school in NY. Its curriculum is based on game-based learning – it’s a very outstanding and productive way of organizing the studying process. That’s why students in this school show significant results in their learning activities. Children always study better if they have an interest in the subject.

A new vision of lectures and professors’ creativity

Today we live in the media age and this markedly affects us and our lifestyle. It also makes a great impact on the teaching process as well. Students take a new look at lectures as an optional way to expand an informational basis and gain some new knowledge, but not as the general one. However, students need professors to teach them how to interpret what they have already learned and explain how to gain new knowledge. In traditional teaching professors usually were spending most of their time and efforts for delivering information to students instead of using their creativity, which is a more efficient way of cooperation.

Top-3 Innovations in Teaching Process

Of course, professors do their work and share information with students, but professors’ guidance is not the only way to find the most relevant information and get knowledge nowadays, as there are some innovations in the teaching process:

  • Educational Video Influences Better Memorizing. Educational video stimulates students to pay more attention during classes and enhance their learning abilities. Besides that, some lectures in Universities and Colleges contain learning games (not only computer games) which are much more interesting than listening to the professor. This style of learning successfully enhances students’ motivation due to the strong connection between visual contact and better memorizing. Furthermore, watching videos helps students to create associations that help them remember learning material.
  • Social Media Simplify Cooperation with Educators. With the appearance of the Internet and media age, most schools, colleges, and universities started to renew teaching methods. Social media allow students, parents, and teachers to keep in touch and inform each other about assignments or events. Using such technologies, students can do more exercises for self-learning and save their time;
  • Computer-Assisted Instruction Makes Individual Study Possible. This technology allows teachers to help individual students who have some difficulties during their study. This can be a great extension for the traditional schoolhouse. Using computer-assisted instruction helps improve students’ skills and solve study-related problems in a group. This is a convenient tool for individual study. Besides that, computer-assisted instruction includes some programs for writing and studying certain subjects.

Innovative Vs. Traditional Teaching: who wins?

Some would say that any innovations in the traditional teaching system are unnecessary as they may distract students from what they really should do during their studies. Surely, this thesis can be considered as truth. But still, we live in a world of rapidly growing technologies and constant changes, so why the educational process should remain unchangeable, with no opportunity of self-education, game-based learning and all of those new arrangements? The answer is obvious. The modern educational system needs renewing in methods, usage and understanding the concept of up-to-date education, that should always correspond to the needs of our generation.

posted Mar 18 by Khemara

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There's no denying that the lecture model has long had a stranglehold on higher education, especially the popular undergraduate college courses that enrol hundreds of students per semester. But a few new technologies stand to change that forever. As new web-enabled technologies continue to be integrated into university curriculums, traditional lecture-based teaching may not be long for this world, at least in its current form.

How Technology Is Changing Traditional Learning Methods

Online education is not new, but the way it's being implemented is. Flipped classrooms, MOOCs (massive open online courses) and telepresence platforms are among the upstarts that could give on-campus lectures a serious makeover.

FLIPPED CLASSROOMS KICK LECTURES OFF CAMPUS

Flipped learning, popularized by startups like Khan Academy, is a hybrid model that turns the lecture-based model on its cranium by integrating online materials. With flipped learning, homework that has traditionally been done at home would be done during class time, while classwork would be expanded to include collaborative discussions, special group projects, field trips and other engaging activities. For example, in a physics course, more class time would be devoted to conducting hands-on experiments to help students fully understand the subject matter.

In an interview with Fast Company, Salman Khan, founder of Khan Academy, commented on how technology is changing the traditional lecture-based classroom:

We can question whether class time should be used for lectures. In the current paradigm, students don't need to review a concept until they get really deep mastery. Now we can move to a model like that.

If technology can take some of that passivity out of the classroom, if it can off-load some of the stuff that the teacher has to do, it liberates the teacher and peers to interact with each other.

While Khan Academy caters primarily to the K–12 communities, Khan's ideologies can just as easily be applied to higher education settings.

WILL MOOCS REPLACE THE TRADITIONAL LECTURE?

MOOCs, the mostly free, noncredit classes available to anyone with an Internet connection and a hunger to learn, continue to expand rapidly. Major MOOC platforms edX (founded by Harvard and MIT) and Coursera (founded by Stanford professors Andrew Ng and Daphne Koller) have recently added a slew of new U.S. and international universities to their rosters in a quest to help democratize higher education.

Some universities are even beginning a trial run of integrating for-credit MOOCs into their standard curriculums. In a deal spurred by California governor Jerry Brown, MOOC startup Udacity partnered with San Jose State University to produce a pilot program offering basic college math classes completely online for $150 a pop, significantly cheaper than equivalent on-campus courses.

Although the pilot is limited to 300 students, it could lead to more high-demand, lecture-based classes going the way of the MOOC. Unlike on-campus classes or even most traditional online courses, MOOCs aren't restricted by class-size limits. Students may no longer have to worry about being wait-listed in what Timothy White, chancellor of the California State University system, refers to as "bottleneck" classes, and universities could potentially save funds in their tight budgets by enrolling thousands of students in one course.

In a blog post about the pilot, Udacity co-founder and CEO Sebastian Thrun remained optimistically cautious in his expectations on the future role of MOOCs in higher education:

There may be a temptation to consider MOOCs the silver bullet of higher education. However, in the 1960s, we thought of TV as the solution, and it wasn't. If MOOCs are to stay, we need patience, diligence, an ability to think critically about our own work and to continuously improve.

TELEPRESENCE PROMOTES COLLABORATION, MAY GIVE LECTURES NEW LIFE

While flipped classrooms and MOOCs could reduce or eliminate the need for the traditional lecture altogether, other online-learning models could help it shine. Education-focused teleconferencing platforms from Skype and Cisco are stretching the horizons of what a traditional on-campus lecture can be.

Since its launch in 2011, Skype in the Classroom has enabled instructors to co-teach a class while thousands of miles apart, take their students on a virtual field trip to the world's tallest points and introduce their class to entirely new cultures through shared lesson plans and projects.

Meanwhile, Cisco has brought its telepresence expertise into the classroom, with a new development known as the Cisco Connected Learning Experience. The platform is currently being implemented by the University of Pennsylvania's Wharton School of Business to connect MBA students at its main Philadelphia campus with students at its San Francisco branch. Through the use of high-definition, theatre-sized projector screens and other advanced virtual technologies, Wharton teachers and students can, for all intents and purposes, be in two classes at once.

As Fast Company notes in its Co.Exist coverage of the new virtual classroom, this could stave off arguments that MOOCs and other online technologies will render face-to-face campus lectures obsolete. It's no Star Trek hologram, but bold technological moves like this could be just the refresh lectures need.

THE VERDICT

Should every college teacher rush to flip his or her classroom, join the MOOC movement or beam in at-a-distance classrooms using cutting-edge telepresence software? Is the traditional lecture doomed? The answer is unclear; it’s largely a decision that should be made by individual colleges and professors. One thing's for certain: Technology gives educators and students more tools to promote the exchange of knowledge, and that isn’t a bad thing.

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