Friday, October 19, 2012

Superhero12 Keynote: Ramsey Musallam-Pseudo Teaching

The Superhero 12 Conference kicked off with Ramsey Musallam, a Chemistry teacher from San Fransisco, California, who is a co-host of "Infinite Thinking Machine."
The title of his talk was "Pseudo Teaching", and began by talking about "Michael Scott," who THINKS he's a great manager.



Pseudo Teaching was defined by Frank Noschese and John Burke to describe lessons and pedagogy that you think are great, but really aren't. Musallam thinks Michael Scott is a great metaphor for this. He shared his background, going through pre-Med at UC-Davis, and how he loved explaining things to people as a tutor. As a Chemistry tutor, he decided he needed to be able to show students how to "blow stuff up!"
One of student quotes:
I still have no idea how to balance a reaction, but I loved watching you blow @#!$& up!

He thought engaging and entertaining were the only keys to good teaching.
It was when he thought about "Mr. Miagi" from Karate Kid, and how he got Danny to be good at Karate. He positioned himself to watch Daniel and see exactly what he needed to be successful. He didn't give him the tools right away. Thinking about this process, and having kids, helped him realize that he needed to change.

Explain-"Take these tools."
Experience-"Use these tools."

He realized he needed to put the experience in front of the explanation. He needed to flip them.

Experience first then Explain!


He felt he needed to flip Blooms and start with creating, evaluating and analyzing. Kids are using markers to write all over the classroom to make data collection the "aura" of the classroom.
Now he has his students blog in the lab, and then later reflect with Screencasts and taking snapshots to put them directly into the presentations.
He gives students Youtube videos on topics for the students to view AFTER they have experimented.

He gave an example of a CT scan of his heart anurism two years ago, that was luckily found prior to his daughter's birth. After a 7 hour surgery, with dacron mesh and a mechanical valve, his surgeon who exuded confidence he was ok. Somebody taught his surgeon how to do that. The pedagogy must have been pretty high, because the stakes were SO high! He e-mailed the surgeon how he learned it. The surgeon said:
  1. See one
  2. Do one
  3. Teach one
The problem with education is not one of engineering, but one of design.
Farb Nivi.

How can we use technology to make those learning experiences more rich is what we will be looking at this weekend. More notes can be found here.

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