Monday, January 03, 2011

From Passive to Active Learners - Consumers to Creators

With the explosion in social media, some educators are hoping that students will transform from being passive consumers of media to critics and creators, but others remain doubtful.

"... American students are slipping even further in math, science and reading against international competition. The 2009 Program for International Student Assessment results are in, and they’re not pretty. Fifteen-year-old U.S. students rank: 25th out of 34 countries in math, 17th in science, and 14th in reading. Students from South Korea, Finland, and Shanghai beat American students in math. Finland, Japan, and South Korea won in science, and South Korea, Finland, and Canada were the best in reading.



Maybe US students and their families need to wake up about all this. A student can be parked behind a book or in front of a computer, but little may be going on upstairs. The pot needs to be stirred. Maybe students in other countries are be hungrier for success.


If you really want to work your brain, your learning should be active and not passive. Some students are able to do this on their own (make their learning active), while others...well, not. 


Active learning may mean asking questions, challenging assumptions (a little provocation may be good),  drawing connections between existing information, and yes doing something with the information and making something yourself.

Check out this study that looked at differences in fMRI activation with passive vs. active listening. In the active listening trials, participants not only listened to a story, but they had to reflect on it in order to answer comprehension questions. It really does make a difference. A lot more activity going on - some of this is due to analyzing questions, retrieving details and associations triggered by the story, and deciding on answers.

For a look at the frontal workout associated with creative story generation, check out the fMRI shown below.


1 comment:

  1. I read recently that in some places in this country, they are starting to give kindergarteners homework. (ridiculous!) Parents are all paranoid that if their kids can't read at 3, they are doomed. And yet: "As we have noted, reading and writing instruction is not part of kindergarten activities in Finland. Instead, kindergarten focuses on social skills and free play, with rhymes, songs, and listening to stories as popular activities." (I found that here: " http://findarticles.com/p/articles/mi_qa3785/is_200009/ai_n8912550/pg_8/) Well, I will admit to having a little panic attack of my own from time to time, when my friend's kid is already playing basketball and reading, and my poor little guys are ... um, not. But they are not even 4 yet! I needed to read this post today.

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