Profile of a Dedicated Educator of Geography
I am a Community College Educator, Human Geographer and all around scatter-brained Social Scientist. I'm also a conflicted momma and (dis)harmonious wifey. I do my best efforts to get out into the world and nature with my family, but the couch is oh so seductive to this over-scheduled bunch.
I also work as a Instructional Designer and Student Engagement Specialist (and unofficially a technical writer, organizational technologist, and business development strategist) at a private education company based in Boston MA.
About My Teaching
Like many, I struggle against the perceived apathy of certain students, but mostly I teach to those who want to learn. Teaching community college students is a special privilege: I have a huge range of backgrounds, abilities, attitudes and interests to work with. In order to best incorporate those diversities, I've been interested in a variety of pedagogical approaches and methods. Here are a few that I employ:
I organize my classes around this two-week module structure:
1. Online Assignment: Read and Quiz
2. In-class: Review Quiz, introduce Applied Topic/Current Event, Discuss, Reflect
3. Online Assignment: Reflection/Application Blog and Comment
4. In-class: Review Blog, introduce New Applied Topic/Current Event, Discuss, Reflect
This is a huge and growing area of theory and methods, so here's what I've actually managed to implement:
1. Scaffolding: starting with introduction to a topic that focuses on knowledge and comprehension of specific terms or concepts; then build on that by having students apply those terms/concepts to new situations, which I usually select from current event news (this scaffolding is built into my module structure).
2. Active-learning: I get so nerdy on neuroscience and educational psychology, so my interpretation of 'active-learning' synthesizes those knowledges; I try to 'chunk' lectures into 'attention-span' blocks (10-20 min) that are broken up by some activity - group discussions, individual reflection, class-wide discussion/brainstorm activities, readings/audio/video, lab exercises, class games, etc. I also get students active outside of class organizing at least one optional field trip or requiring them to do virtual or independent field trips.
3. Reflective-learning: An effort toward metacognition and getting students to engage their own learning experience, I incorporate reflective questions into both out-of-class assignments (blogs) and in-class activities (5-minute writing in a blue book journal). These constitute an informal 'portfolio of learning' for each student. I use these
4. Choice/Empowerment: This is both the simplest idea and hardest to implement, for educators who are predisposed for control and certainty, structuring flexibility and uncertainty is a huge hurdle. I've managed student choice in a few small ways: participation opt-out/in, choosing groups, proposing applied topics, an entire final project that is a potpourri of mini-assignments to choose from. But, that's it... so far.
Classes I Teach
These are two sample buttons that will take users to dedicated course pages that will have lesson resources by topic, lecture slides, activities, syllabi, or whatever you're willing to share!
Resources and Samples
Here are some handouts related to my GEOG100 World Geography Final Project, very unsexily named "Do Geography." I have many little things that I'll be tinkering with before the Fall, so I'll update the links when I do that.
More resources and content examples will be be shared eventually. :)
Do Geography Project Directions
Do Geography Project Suggested Activities
Users will be able to view resources by profile or by topic. Hopefully.