By Chris Fulton, Centre for Teaching and Learning Enhancement

Colleagues from various faculties at the University of Macau, a Residential College, the Library, and the Confucius Institute gathered to exchange best practices on teaching and learning. At the gathering, which focused on teaching with technology, Ms. Stephanie Bowles (FAH), Ms. Shuwen Liu (FAH), Dr. Gary Fung (MLC), and Ms. Xing Wu (CIUM) presented teaching strategies which worked well in their respective classrooms. A common theme among the four mini-presentations was how active learning strategies can be applied using classroom technology.

Create groups and movement for an engaging learning environment
“Think-pair-share” activities are often cited as an active learning strategy, and Stephanie Bowles demonstrated how that strategy could be adapted to encourage reserved students to participate actively and engage in class discussions. The revised strategy involved having students think in groups, then write notes from a discussion on a whiteboard, and finally move into new groups to share and reflect on the discussion. For an enjoyable demonstration of a think-pair-share” activity, Stephanie made use of movable whiteboards and interactive displays in a new interactive learning space.

Give roles to observers to encourage deeper reflection
An active learning activity called “fishbowlis a discussion where one group is discussing a topic, and another group is observing the discussion. For a “fishbowl” activity to work well, each person is given a role or task, e.g., clarifier, note-taker, timer, etc. Shuwen Liu shared her experience with conducting fishbowl discussions for a diagnostic activity. She found that it was well-received by students, facilitated the participation of students, and encouraged more in-depth reflection on student learning. The “fishbowl” activity made use of whiteboards around the classroom and an Apple TV in the new interactive learning spaces.

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