American academic conducted workshop on active learning at USM

Peter Dourmashkin, Professor of the Department of physics at MIT and an expert in the field, carried out workshop with their peers in Buenos Aires campus, all within the framework of the diploma for university teaching in engineering, science and technology, dictated in agreement with LASPAU program. A workshop whose primary objective was to focus on how to improve the educational experience of students was that the American scholar Peter Dourmashkin developed during its passage through the Universidad Santa Maria, in the framework of the diploma for university teaching in engineering, science and technology, dictated by the USM in agreement with LASPAU programme, Academic and Professional Programs for the Americasaffiliated with Harvard University.

Member of the Department of Physics of the Massachusetts Institute of Technology (MIT), Peter Dourmashkin is an expert in the field of active learning, which seeks to engage students with the content of the class. Since 2001, he has been part in the development and implementation of the teaching team of the technology enabled for active learning (TEAL), a project that has reformed with success the first year of physics at MIT. He has developed courses OCW Scholar, the curriculum of Physics for a new University, Singapore University of technology and design (SUTD), and he is currently working on learning online through MITx and edX.

workshop on active learning at USM

“I’m incredibly impressed with the level of participation and commitment that exists here,” said. “This University has a fabulous group, where teachers are very committed and willing to experiment and try out new ideas, in order to improve the education of their students. That’s fantastic.”

The activity featured the participation of 60 scholars from the House of studies, divided into 19 groups, each of which focused on a specific course and developed strategies to strengthen the area of learning. “The workshop is designed to discuss how to engage students in the process, how to make classroom interactive and does not only become a place where information spreads”, explained. “Why there is a special emphasis in the evaluation, to ensure that activities to achieve that students learn key concepts. And it requires focusing also on what are the learning objectives for each class, if it is professional knowledge, knowledge to solve problems, etc., because against this, it is necessary to design activities consistent with these objectives”.

Collective learning

According to the expert, it is proven that the fact that teachers should consider different techniques for improvement of education, improves at the same time the learning of students.

“I think that it is a great theme. We have State working on it makes 10 at MIT and when we started, the students had never before seen this kind of concepts. They came from secondary schools with individual learning and everything was almost asking what was the formula for each thing,”he said. And he emphasized that “there are systematic problems around the world. Each University has its own problems: students memorizing for their exams, not really learning the subject, not even understanding what is relevant content, or less committed to the class. They are cross-cutting issues, which are heard everywhere.

Therefore he was satisfied that their field is opening up step and moving to several disciplines. “I think that the media and social networks have changed perceptions and now students are accustomed to using technology and like to be associated with each other. When we started, didn’t the students communicate with other people in science and engineering; now, there is much more interaction between them and I believe this League several interests at the same time,”he stressed. “Now they are using the media and social networks to learn, and they delivered them resources in classes and mark their learning; they use cell phones, watch videos on YouTube and take advantage of that.”

The challenge is to be prepared previously for classes, so that learning is much more efficient, because by doing so, the process maximizes much more. “The participants of the workshop have made excellent presentations, so I am very excited. And think that it is something that will grow and disseminate for the rest of the departments, so it is excellent,”said, underlining also the fact that the activity stimulated the encounter of several disciplines.

“Engineers are beginning to talk with mathematicians, physicists, chemists. That’s great. Each of the groups has submitted their strategies and they are so different that we have appreciated 19 different points of view and everyone has something to contribute.”

Finally, it expressed the wish that in future activities may also share with students of USM. “It would be a good idea having a group of students invited to this kind of workshops, to know that they think thereon and involve them, having a feedback. The idea is to create an environment where teachers to teach their students, but at the same time, they also learn from these. Teachers in the class always are learning, sensing what they know their students or not, what your interests are, how to improve matters, etc. That young people see that, think it me really important”, concluded.