Funny observation: the sudden snow made the lecture more interesting

I was in a class last Thursday. It was a pretty hectic day for me and the class was very technical. So, we were all sort of going through the motion of copying notes from the blackboard. You know, the blank look we have towards the blackboard, and often check the clock (when is it gonna end?) when we are completely disengaged in a class! Suddenly the alarm went off! This is my first experience of being present in the classroom at the time of declaration of an emergency alert. The funny thing is that the clock in the classroom stopped showing time after the alert. Anyway, back to the class, the teacher asked, what we all wanted to do, but it was surprising as how most of us including me did not want to end the class and leave. SO we carried on, and we felt different, people were asking questions, and were actively participating and the discussion was productive!!!! I thought to myself, wow, this is new…

My theory to explain this is : when we chose to carry on, we as learners made a “conscious decision” to be there and engage as opposed to a regular scenario when we come to class and often switch off our conscious self. We take the classroom environment, the lecture, the teachers voice, all for granted. May be next time I enter a classroom, I will remind me of my purpose! To engage! to listen and to speak up….I don’t know, may be the teacher also felt a fresh perspective….so it is good for the class!

 

So moral of the story: More snow needed to improve learner engagement 🙂 ( Please no! It is April and still snowing , what is wrong with the world?)

Edutainment: is it entertaining education or educational entertainment?

Let’s say we are sitting in a classroom. The teacher says if you all listen to the lecture carefully then he/she will tell a story in the end! Or, may be the teacher tells a story or says something entertaining every now and then to keep everyone engaged.  Let’s say this method works and results in more learner engagement overall. So it is a productive pedagogical technique to engage learners. However, I don’t like it. I have seen teachers discussing contemporary politics or movies just as a tool to get student’s attention. I think, as long as it is done in a proper context it is OK. For instance, if we are discussing inflation in current political scenario.

My concept of edutainment is different. I think of edutainment as a way to make the learning process fun. To make the learning experience more entertaining, not providing entertainment as and aid to deal with education. By giving the students case studies, project based studies, making it more interactive, increasing more hands on involvement, we can make the entire learning process more entertaining. But I am not going to sing and dance to get my student’s attention. Although, I am not too bad a singer 🙂