Posted by: fburnett | March 22, 2008

Sit up, wake up, hey knucklehead, are you in there?

I have been an educator for so many years and I think I finally cracked the nature of the 7 am lecture. What nature you ask? Sleeping students!! The nasty beast (nature of sleeping-not my students)

So be it, if they are successful, most of my students will spend the rest of their life working in the middle of night or the crack of dawn (literally). Why don’t we just get them used to it and force alertness?

The survey says…… most teenagers are in a defunct sleeping mode. The physiology of teens dictates that the best time for students to learn is…?  “life stages”, puberty, stress, blah-blah-blah. OK I get it. Learned all about in Education101.

I once had a Professor who was so sick and tiredof students falling asleep in his business class at 7 am, he stood on the desk, and gave his entire lecture up there. It was so funny, this man was 6’7″, bright red hair, booming voice and was a comedian to boot! How could anyone sleep in his class? Other Profs. were coming in clapping. There was an age span that divided the class, 1/2 of the students were under 20 and the other were over 30 (my 1/2). We loved him, but the youngsters were in over their head.

In my teaching career, I’ve never went to any great feat to keep the students awake,  except for tapping them awake gently and asking them to take a walk in the brisk air or stand in the walk in freezer for a while (hmmm, could this be corporal punishment?) I know that no matter how entertaining, how insightful, cunning etc., that beast will always be back.

Recently, I’ve got a new trick up my sleave. Clickers! They are the same type of infrared hand held devices used in jeopardy and game shows. I just show my PowerPoint and throw a few questions in-between the slides. Students have a minute to respond and we move on with the discussion, if 75% of the class is on target. It provides immediate feedback and demands the attention of the student.

I admit, I was skeptical. I decided to try it out first.

Learning curve? Had to do a little research, teach myself how to use it. I didn’t want to waste the time of the salesperson if it didn’t fit the needs of the University or to elementary for students.

The Vote? So far my class is excited about it! When I had tech problems with the projector and couldn’t use it, I felt like I took away their candy. That day, I gave them a test on paper and they still did great. They knew they were going to be tested with the clickers, so they studied.

Someday I would like to do more research study on the psychology of it all. But right now I have until May 1st to play-I LOVE IT

-And yes, that’s my final answer!


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