Dr. Gerald Ardito is the Assistant Chair and Assistant Professor of STEM-D Education in the School of Education at Pace. In the Spring 2016 semester, Dr. Ardito sat down with the Office of Academic Technologies and the Pace Educational Media Center to discuss active learning and give advice to faculty who may be interested to integrate active learning into their classrooms.
What is Active Learning?
In the first video, Dr. Ardito defines “active learning” by contrasting it with the traditional idea of college-level teaching, with a professor who goes into a class or lecture hall and talks to a large group of what he calls “passive students”. While this method of teaching is oftentimes devalued, Dr. Ardito says that it is, in fact, “a real skill”. He then delves into how the new active learning classrooms (in Pleasantville and NYC) can be used to promote active learning. Engagement is key to learning, for Dr. Ardito, and can help students to develop the kinds of skills that employers find valuable.
Active Learning Strategies
In the next video, Dr. Ardito discusses the notion of the “flipped classroom” and some learning strategies and activities that instructors can use with students. In addition to doing assigned readings before class, instructors can also have students watch videos or work on problems. This can help to free up valuable class time that can be used to deepen learning through the use of media and multimodal learning artifacts, distance learning with expert instructors (via Skype or Blackboard Collaborate), and group work, and promotes an engaging learning environments for students.
Transitioning to Active Learning
In the final video segment, Dr. Ardito gives suggestions for how instructors can begin to incorporate active learning in their classes. He says that instructors can evaluate and attempt to maximize spatial and technological affordances of Active Learning Classrooms (ALCs), partner with other instructors to share ideas and experiences, and foster a shared classroom environment by involving students in the decision-making and design of courses. In order to implement active learning, he says instructors should set small, meaningful goals with an eye on the desired outcome they would like to achieve.
To learn more about Active Learning Strategies and the Active Learning Classrooms, please contact the Office of Academic Technologies by phone (PLV: 914-773-3664; NYC: 212-346-1661) or email at firstname.lastname@example.org. Also, take a look at our resources on Active Learning Classrooms on our website.