Thursday, January 1, 2009

Let Them Talk

A study by Smith, et al., indicates that when students answer an in-class conceptual question individually using clickers, discuss it with their neighbors, and then revote on the same question, the percentage of correct answers typically increases. This outcome could result from gains in understanding during discussion, or simply from peer influence of knowledgeable students on their neighbors. To distinguish between these alternatives in an undergraduate genetics course, they followed the above exercise with a second, similar (isomorphic) question on the same concept that students answered individually. The results indicate that peer discussion enhances understanding, even when none of the students in a discussion group originally knows the correct answer.Science link

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