Partly in response to the prodding of Geeky Mom's recent blog post on technology and the classroom, I tried an experiment tonight in my lecture class. It's big (37 students), but not too big to be adventurous. First, I had several of the students look up and play on their laptops the recent video, "A Vision of Students Today" on YouTube, and we had a brief discussion of it. Then, I decided to have an experiential day, where the students would teach each other the material, rather than my normal lecture. I broke the class into 8 groups, with each group responsible to cover one section of our reading. They had about 20 minutes to review their section and discuss it within the group. (This is a three hour lecture, so I could afford the time). The idea was if they took more ownership of the material, it might be instructive to them, and give them a better focus in approaching their reading.
What I learned (rather important to be reminded of, given the circumstances) is that it takes a bit more than simply reading and summarizing to make a good lecture. I, being who I am (luckily for the students, I'm sure) chimed in repeatedly, to clarify ideas, and to guide the discussion toward what struck me as important or pithy points. It really is a lot harder than it looks. I suppose even when we feel impostor syndrome the most, we're bringing a lot more to the table than simply staying a step ahead of the students on material. It's always good to be reminded of that.