Use active exercises in your classroom to develop a supportive culture and create a more engaged classroom that helps more students in your class develop deep content knowledge.

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  • Keeping students active helps students’ focus and attention, and provides students’ with a deeper understanding of concepts.
    • This technique is shown to be more effective than lectures that last for 15 minutes or more.
    • From: Bonwell, C. and Eison, J. Active Learning: Creating Excitement in the Classroom., ASHE ERIC Higher Education Report No. 1, Washington, D.C.: The George Washington University, School of Education & Human Development, 1991.
  • These activities are worth the time they take to prepare because they support diversity by helping:
    • students with different learning styles.
    • level the playing field for students without previous technical experience.
    • provide motivation for learning beyond receiving good grades.
  • Doing active exercises throughout the course—every day if possible—reinforces that class time is not passive.
  • Make sure to set aside plenty of time when developing these activities.
    • It often takes more time to develop a well-designed, active exercise than a traditional lecture.
    • They also typically take more class time to run than a traditional lecture uses.
  • Many active exercises already exist, with run times varying run times (from very short to open-ended) to fit your needs.
  • Create more time for active exercises; have students watch videos that cover basic information (i.e., flipping the classroom).
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Interview with Aaron Cadle and Robert Duvall

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