13 Dec 2009

About knowledge transfer in High-schools and Universities

As of December 2009 I think that it all should conform to the Brain Rules, which can be followed if everyone learns in a place, where one wants to and at a time when one wants to. For example, a home environment probably provides such possibilities. To be more explicit, if people are mentally active at different times of a day, then a lecture at a given, fixed, time of day definitely ignores some of the student's biological needs.

People also differ in their background, which means that feature X needs a more in-depth explanation to student A and feature Y might need a more in-depth explanation to student B. Therefore, there is a need for private, personal, consultations. On the other hand, a common material is a good thing to start with, because it provides a seed for the consultation sessions and the learning process in general. Usually that common material is in a form of a lecture, lecture notes, or some literature.

It's also a fact that people forget. According to the brain rules, repetition is good, but that does not say, that people do not forget things, if they do not work on the things. It's also known, from practice, that males are better at doing things when they do one thing at a time. As a matter of fact, the switching of activity can be quite unpleasant to some of them, me included. (I also know other people that have had similar observations about themselves.) So, for at least some of the males it makes sense to let them learn one subject at a time. That, of course, does not conform to the testing schedule that assumes that a student has to learn one certain part of the material by a few certain tests in the midst of semester.

I believe that a simple and cheaply implementable solution to the testing issue would be that there is one special classroom with 2 security guards. The classroom is open every workday from morning to evening and anyone in the school or university can come there either by first reserving a time-slot or just by dropping by, if there are any free seats available. One of the security guards, who can be even an elderly lady with thick glasses, prints out the test questions and applies a timestamp and her/his personal stamp to the test. From that moment onwards, the student has a given amount of time to perform the test within that classroom, without using his cellphone or laptop. One of the security guards makes sure that the cellphones, nor laptops are used. When the student is ready with the test, he/she hands the test back to the old-lady security guard, who then applies a second timestamp to the test and later, at the end of her work day delivers all of the tests to different lecturers for evaluation. This way, any student can take any test at any time he/she is ready for taking it. The only requirement imposed to the student might be that all of the tests have been passed by the end of the semester. The professor, lecturer, benefits from that system, because he/she is freed up from the dull and boring activity of sitting in the classroom while students take their tests.

What regards to the lectures, then those might be just made available for download and all that the lecturer, professor, has to do, is to provide personal consultation and evaluate the tests.

Well, may be someone might even start to provide the services of such a testing-center to multiple private, or even public, universities, schools, private educators. The old-lady security guard might be even some pensioner, who can watch soap operas while there's no one asking for or handing in a test.

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