Tuesday, November 15, 2016

AMATYC - 2016 Denver - IGNITE Talk

If you have never seen an IGNITE talk, each presenter gets 20 powerpoint slides, that autoadvance every 15 seconds.  GO!  They are fun, fast, and usually pretty good.  My talk this year was on Student Understanding of Graphs.  The slides are below.  In the talk I mention a linear concepts exam that I have been giving my students, and how amazed I was at the lack of understanding my Calculus I students showed with graphs, equations, and their relationships.  You can see some of the questions and the percentage of my students who got the question correct below.  To clarify, historically I have given the exam during the first week of the semester.  But this semester I tried something different, and gave it after 6 weeks of the semester.  So we had already discussed graphs of functions, and even the idea of increasing and decreasing functions.

In the IGNITE talk, I mentioned several things, so let me lay them out here.  First, a few sites about student (and  people in general) and how they learn and remember things.
1) A good blog post from Oxford University Press about memory and effort
2) An MIT paper about making visualizations memorable.  
3) Here is a good summary of #2 above     H/T Maria Anderson
4) Brain Rules Website

I also threw out in the talk the idea that Learning Styles is not really true.  At least, the idea the each of us has our own style of learning that works best for us.  Below are some of the links related to that idea:
1) A short intro about why it is over rated
2) A little longer FAQ about learning styles and why they are over rated, at best.
3) A good read about some of the research debunking the idea of learning styles.
4) Last, a really nice page at the University of Texas debunking the idea.

** Slides will be below here in about a week after the talk **


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