Bucking the Trend

Inertia is powerful.

It’s nearly impossible to drive the speed limit on the interstate when all the cars around you are going five miles over.

Inertia is the resistance to change from the status quo. Inertia is why it is hard drive the speed limit. Inertia is why it is hard to buck the trend.

I recently stumbled upon a Dvorak Simplified Keyboard. This keyboard was patented in the 1930’s and was designed to address the problems of inefficiency and fatigue which characterized the QWERTY keyboard layout. How many people do you see taking the time to relearn how to type in order to use the more efficient Dvorak Keyboard? Not many, including me.

While succumbing to inertia is fine for trivial issues such as driving a few mph over the speed limit or choosing what keyboard to use, it is costly for classroom instruction.

How to Buck the Trend

I have been in far too many classes where the lecture tends to go something like this:

  1. Turn on the computer
  2. Start up PowerPoint
  3. Read the slide
  4. Add a few thoughts
  5. Click to next slide
  6. Repeat steps 3-5 until the slide show ends
  7. Repeat for next lecture

This kind of lecture happens far too often. From a students perspective these tend to be the most uninformative kinds of lectures. I for one would love to see some professors try and buck this trend.

Perhaps trying

  • Lecturing without notes at all
  • Role Play
  • Use Props
  • Bring in stuff that students can touch
  • Have guests lecturers
  • Teach somewhere besides the classroom

It took me roughly 2 minutes to come up with these ideas. So next time you have to give a lecture, think twice before booting up PowerPoint. Try something new. Try bucking the trend.

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