Sizzling Reading to Help You Through the Dog Days of Summer while Preparing for Fall
Our 2009 Updated Reading List
Brissenden & Prather; Univ. of Arizona
In our Teaching Excellence Workshops, we mention many articles and books worth reading—or, as we like to tell our students, articles and books “worth knowing”—related to teaching and learning astronomy. We published our first Summer Reading List in 2005, revised it for Summer 2006, and added to it again to round out 2007. We’re keeping our original recommendations on this list, but we at CAE have been very busy writing since then, so we’ve added a newest publications, as well as a few others. So, in the spirit of the sizzling end of Summer, put on some sunscreen and flip-flops, find a nice shady spot to kick back, have a nice cold glass of lemonade, and prepare for Fall with our 2009 Recommended Reading List.
New CAE Additions: 2009
A National Study Assessing the Teaching and Learning of Introductory Astronomy. Part I: The Effect of Interactive Instruction (Prather, Rudolph, Brissenden, & Schlingman, 2009): (2009). With the invaluable help of our greater CAE community we were able to carry out the largest study on the teaching and learning in introductory astronomy—Thank you!! We find the results fascinating, and we hope you will, too. The two biggest results: No matter what type of institution we teach at, and no matter the size of our classes, all students enter Astro 101 with basically the same level of astronomy knowledge related to light and spectroscopy. In addition, no matter the type of institution or class size, it is possible for students to achieve significant gains. The caveats: You have to spend at least 25% of your time having students engaged with interactive learning strategies such as Think-Pair-Share, Lecture-Tutorials, or Ranking Tasks; however, spending at least 25% of classtime being interactive is no guarantee. The bottom line: We matter! How effective we are at implementation is paramount!!
Development and Application of a Situated Apprenticeship Approach to Professional Development of Astronomy Instructors (Prather & Brissenden, 2008): For those of you who have attended one of our CAE Teaching Excellence Workshops recently, you’ve see Situated Apprenticeship in action! But whether or not you’ve attended one of our workshops, we think you will really appreciate all of the helpful instructions on best practices implementing Think-Pair-Share, including the missteps most commonly made, and suggestions for how to overcome them. There are also many sample questions
Clickers as Data Gathering Tools and Students’ Attitudes, Motivations and Beliefs on Their Use in this Application (Prather & Brissenden, 2009): So, can you use those clickers to gather research data from your students? Our study suggests that they are just as valid and reliable as those pesky Scantron forms. But for teaching purposes, we’ll stick to using cards. Check out why!
First Results from the Light and Spectroscopy Concept Inventory (Bardar, 2008): We already have a couple articles about the LSCI in our reading list—one on why it was needed and another on how it was developed and validated. In this article we learn all about the Erin’s first results.
What Are They Talking About? Lessons Learned from a Study of Peer Instruction (James, Barbieri, & Garcia, 2008): This article presents interesting data about how the nature of discussion between students changes depending on the extent to which Peer Instruction questions are high-stakes or low-stakes grading opportunities. There is also an easily missed comment on how it was difficult for the instructors to make pedagogical decisions based on voting results since they didn’t know if all people voting the correct answer were answering it that way because they believed that was the correct answer or if they just voted what their partner that was the right answer. I think this finding highlights the importance of having students vote on their own—prior to discussion—that is “Think” before we have them “Pair” and “Share.”
How People Learn: Brain, Mind, Experience, and School; Expanded Edition (Bransford et al, 2000): In the past we have only included journal articles in our recommended readying list, but not anymore. This book is probably one of the most important book you could read for a thorough discussion of how the human brain forms new knowledge. Important to us as instructors is the information provided about the differences between our students (novices) and us (experts), and the experiences one needs to have to move from one to the other. But there is also equally important information provided about the experiences we need to move from novice to expert instructors. This book is worth reading over and over again!! And you can read it online for free.
Additional Articles in Our Previous Update 2007
Cool Reading to Help You Have a Warm Winter While Preparing for Spring (Brissenden & Prather, 2007): Here you’ll find all of our previous recommended readings. We still recommend them!