EducationHigher EducationPedagogyPop Quiz

Pop Quiz: Videos in the Classroom. How much is too much?

For the courses that I teach sometimes a demo is needed to show the principle that is being discussed. Sometimes that demo can be physical objects that are set into motion, sometimes they are animations, and sometimes they are video clips. There is always some type of lecture before and …

EducationPop Quiz

Pop Quiz: Exam Formats. What Works Best?

This week has been filled with exams for several of the classes I teach. Due to this I got to thinking about test formats. I know a few of my colleagues who teach general education classes who give straight Scan-tron multiple choice exams. According to them it is easier for …

A shelf full of books.
EducationRequired Readings

More on creationism, all about DonorsChoose, Louisiana lawsuit, student-centered teaching, and atheist Hokies: Required Readings

In the wake of last week’s Nye-Ham debate, creationism has been a popular topic of discussion in the media. Looking at the new HBO documentary Questioning Darwin, one author points out just how dangerous creationist beliefs can be, particularly in regard to attitudes toward critical thinking. Required Readings has previously …

Empty stage with a stool and a mic stand; sign behind reads "Comedy"
EducationPop Quiz

Pop Quiz: Comedy

Let’s face it: lectures are really not an ideal way to transmit large amounts of information to a crowd of disinterested (or sleepy) students, but thanks to the way academia is currently structured, we frequently find ourselves tasked with doing precisely that. Assuming that keeping students more interested in the …

Bouquet of Roses
EducationPedagogyPop Quiz

Pop Quiz: What’s in a Name?

How important is a name? We spend an awful lot of time teaching and learning the names for things before a concept it taught, is this time spent wisely? On Monday I saw this XKCD comic and I knew that it should be the theme for my pop quiz. So …

PedagogyPop Quiz

Pop Quiz: What languages have you studied?

Hey there, skeptical scholars! I got a bit of exciting news this week, as the school at which I took Japanese classes a couple of years ago has invited me back to join an intermediate class (my own cohort all dropped by the end of our first year, so the …

PedagogyPop QuizSecondary Education

Pop Quiz: Ah, They Can Just Write a Story or Something.

I AM A SCIENCE!   This week I found out that I passed the Open University “Exploring Science” course that I’ve been taking over the last year. This has provided me with enough credits to be allowed to start teaching physics, at least in a probationary way. I’m an English …

EducationHigher EducationPedagogyPop QuizTechnology

Pop Quiz: Are MOOCs the future?

At a meeting the other night I got into a somewhat heated discussion with an older friend and colleague, who was criticising our institution for failing to offer any Massive Open Online Courses (or MOOCs) that are open to participation by the broader public. This, he argued, was a sign …

Critical ThinkingEducationFeaturedHigher EducationPedagogySecondary Education

Quirrell Points as a Pedagogical Tool?

As I mentioned in Monday’s Pop Quiz, I’ve lately been reading Eliezer Yudkowsky‘s epic fanfic “Harry Potter and the Methods of Rationality,” in which the author depicts a very interesting pedagogical tool. Very, very minor plot spoilers follow. Stop now if you want to be a total blank slate. So, …

Critical ThinkingHigher EducationPedagogyPop QuizPrimary EducationSecondary EducationTechnology

Pop Quiz: Cable in the classroom?

When I was in high school, my foreign language teacher had a live cable hookup in her classroom. The official rationale for this was that it would allow her advanced classes to watch foreign language programming and improve their skills, though in reality it often meant we would watch whatever …