Peer Instruction

One problem with conventional teaching lies in the presentation of the material. Frequently, it comes straight out of textbooks and/or lecture notes, giving students little incentive to attend class. That the traditional presentation is nearly always delivered as a monologue in front of a passive audience compounds the problem. Only exceptional lecturers are capable of holding students' attention for an entire lecture period. It is even more difficult to provide adequate opportunity for students to critically think through the arguments being developed. Consequently, lectures simply reinforce students' feelings that the most important step in mastering the material is memorizing a zoo of apparently unrelated examples. In order to address these misconceptions about learning, we developed a method, Peer Instruction, which involves students in their own learning during lecture and focuses their attention on underlying concepts. Lectures are interspersed with conceptual questions, called ConcepTests, designed to expose common difficulties in understanding the material. The students are given one to two minutes to think about the question and formulate their own answers; they then spend two to three minutes discussing their answers in groups of three to four, attempting to reach consensus on the correct answer. This process forces the students to think through the arguments being developed, and enables them (as well as the instructor) to assess their understanding of the concepts even before they leave the classroom. We have taught two different levels of introductory physics at Harvard using this strategy and have found that students make significant gains in conceptual understanding (as measured by standardized tests) as well as gaining problem solving skills comparable to those acquired in traditionally taught classes. Dozens of instructors at other institutions have implemented Peer Instruction with their own students and found similar results. Peer Instruction is easy to implement in almost any subject and class. It doesn't require retooling of entire courses or curricula, or significant expenditures of time or money. All that is required is a collection of ConcepTests (available on Project Galileo) and a willingness to spend some of class time on student discussion.
Peer Instruction in STEM Teaching, at Aalto University, Espoo, Finland, Wednesday, December 8, 2021
Education is more than just transfer of information, yet that is what is mostly done in large introductory courses -- instructors present material (even though this material might be readily available in printed form) and for students the main purpose of lectures is to take down as many notes as they can. Few students have the ability, motivation, and discipline to synthesize all the information delivered to them. Yet synthesis is perhaps the most important -- and most elusive -- aspect of education. I will show how shifting the focus in lectures from delivering information to synthesizing... Read more about Peer Instruction in STEM Teaching
Innovating educators to educate innovators, at Apertura Universidad Católica de la Santísima Concepción, Concepción, Chile, Thursday, May 6, 2021:

Can we teach innovation? Innovation requires whole-brain thinking — right-brain thinking for creativity and imagination, and left-brain thinking for planning and execution. Our current approach to education in science and technology, focuses on the transfer of information, developing mostly right-brain thinking by stressing copying and reproducing existing ideas rather than generating new ones. I will show how shifting the focus in lectures from delivering information to team work and creative thinking greatly improves the learning that takes place in the classroom and promotes...

Read more about Innovating educators to educate innovators
Transform your teaching using Perusall, at Webinar, Monday, April 5, 2021:

Learning is a social experience — it requires interactions and interactivity. The coronavirus pandemic has been a good opportunity to rethink our approach to teaching. Moving some tasks to an online format suggests that many activities that have traditionally been synchronous and instructor-paced, can be made asynchronous and self-paced. Through Perusall, Eric Mazur, Balkanski Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at Harvard University, will demonstrate how to move information transfer and sense-making...

Read more about Transform your teaching using Perusall
Designing effective questions for Peer Instruction and formative assessment, at Faculty Development Workshop, Touro College, New York, NY, Friday, April 23, 2021:
The basic goals of Peer Instruction are to encourage and make use of student interaction during classes, while focusing students' attention on underlying concepts and techniques. The method centers around asking interactive questions, called ConcepTests, that help students build understanding. In this workshop, participants will learn how to design good ConcepTests.
Keynote: Twilight of the Lecture: Peer Instruction for Active Learning, at Faculty Development Workshop, Touro College, New York, NY, Friday, April 23, 2021:

Education is more than just transfer of information, yet that is what is mostly done in large introductory courses -- instructors present material (even though this material might be readily available in printed form) and for students the main purpose of lectures is to take down as many notes as they can. Few students have the ability, motivation, and discipline to synthesize all the information delivered to them. Yet synthesis is perhaps the most important -- and most elusive -- aspect of education. I will show how shifting the focus in lectures from delivering information to...

Read more about Keynote: Twilight of the Lecture: Peer Instruction for Active Learning
Transform your teaching with Perusall, at Webinar, Thursday, November 5, 2020:

Learning is a social experience — it requires interactions and interactivity. The coronavirus pandemic has been a good opportunity to rethink our approach to teaching. Moving some tasks to an online format suggests that many activities that have traditionally been synchronous and instructor-paced, can be made asynchronous and self-paced. Through Perusall, Eric Mazur, Balkanski Professor of Physics and Applied Physics at...

Read more about Transform your teaching with Perusall
Active learning and Perusall: Sharing Practices for Successful Learning Engagement, at Congreso Internacional de Lingüística Computacional y de Corpus, Universidad de Antioquia, Medellin, Colombia (virtual), Thursday, October 22, 2020:
It has been suggested the lack of interaction in large lecture courses is to blame for the many problems facing these courses: declining enrollments, low attendance, poor evaluations, and disappointing retention. We offer a way of redesigning the classroom so interaction is introduced in many aspects of the course. This approach has shown to be effective by many instructors in a broad variety of environments. I will demonstrate some of the tools we have developed to foster this interaction.
Education, post-coronavirus, at Jornadas Virtuales de Educación, CeRP del Norte, Uruguay, Wednesday, September 30, 2020:
The rapid transition to online teaching necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic has been a good opportunity to rethink our approach to teaching. Moving to an online format suggests that many activities that have traditionally been synchronous and instructor-paced, can be made asynchronous and self-paced. What may have seemed like a challenge, is a great opportunity to improve the quality of education.
 
Social Learning in Times of Social Isolation Tuesday, September 8, 2020:

Learning is a social experience — it requires interactions and interactivity. This is true not only in the physical classroom, but even more so now that education has moved online. I will demonstrate how to move information transfer and sense making online and make it interactive, promoting social interactions between students. I will also discuss how to promote intrinsic motivation to learn by implementing project- and team-based learning in the classroom.

Read more about Social Learning in Times of Social Isolation
Education, post-coronavirus, at Maastricht, the Netherlands, Monday, August 31, 2020:
The rapid transition to online teaching necessitated by the coronavirus pandemic has been a good opportunity to rethink our approach to teaching. Moving to an online format suggests that many activities that have traditionally been synchronous and instructor-paced, can be made asynchronous and self-paced. What may have seemed like a challenge, is a great opportunity to improve the quality of education.
 
Social Learning in Times of Social Isolation, at Webinar, Friday, August 14, 2020:

Learning is a social experience — it requires interactions and interactivity. This is true not only in the physical classroom, but even more so now that education has moved online. I will demonstrate how to move information transfer and sense making online and make it interactive, promoting social interactions between students. I will also discuss how to promote intrinsic motivation to learn by implementing project- and team-based learning in the classroom.

Social Learning in Times of Social Isolation, at Webinar, Wednesday, August 12, 2020:

Learning is a social experience — it requires interactions and interactivity. This is true not only in the physical classroom, but even more so now that education has moved online. I will demonstrate how to move information transfer and sense making online and make it interactive, promoting social interactions between students. I will also discuss how to promote intrinsic motivation to learn by implementing project- and team-based learning in the classroom.

 

 

Read more about Social Learning in Times of Social Isolation
Social Learning in Times of Social Isolation, at Webinar, Monday, August 10, 2020:

Learning is a social experience — it requires interactions and interactivity. This is true not only in the physical classroom, but even more so now that education has moved online. I will demonstrate how to move information transfer and sense making online and make it interactive, promoting social interactions between students. I will also discuss how to promote intrinsic motivation to learn by implementing project- and team-based learning in the classroom.

 
Read more about Social Learning in Times of Social Isolation
Social Learning in Times of Social Isolation, at Webinar, Friday, July 31, 2020:

Learning is a social experience — it requires interactions and interactivity. This is true not only in the physical classroom, but even more so now that education has moved online. I will demonstrate how to move information transfer and sense making online and make it interactive, promoting social interactions between students. I will also discuss how to promote intrinsic motivation to learn by implementing project- and team-based learning in the classroom.

 
Read more about Social Learning in Times of Social Isolation

Pages