Holding the attention and sparking interest in the minds of unenthusiastic students is no small task, but a hand full of professors believe they have found a way.
During the fourth annual Winter Teaching and Learning Collective Conference, educators and students joined in Powers Hall on Friday to speak about improving learning.
TLC, brought in numerous speakers to argue the value of preserving liberal arts, setting out to focus on providing educators with evidence-based tools and practices to enhance student learning.
Jonathan Truitt, Central Michigan University assistant professor of colonial Latin America and world history, gave the conference’s keynote presentation on game-based learning.
“To me, the goal of gaming education is engagement with material,” Truitt said. “Getting engaged in a topic you’re interested in is easy. How do you find a way to get interested in learning a topic you’re not interested in? I think game-based education provides that avenue.”
Katie Squires, an assistant professor of communication disorders, gave the lecture two thumbs up.
History graduate assistant Alexander Greff has been a supporter and proponent of gaming in education for years.
“There is definitely more opportunity for students to feel engaged with material when they are actively feeling involved in (it),” Greff said.
The conference, which focused on game-based learning, writing, teaching trends and student learning, touted guest lecturers from a number of different university departments.
Along with local presenters, the TLC arranged for guest speaker Michael Ostling from Australia, via Skype, to lecture on “Teaching Trends and the Need for Skeptical Curiosity.”
The conference, which was free to both faculty and students, offered a breakfast spread and a catered lunch.
Mark Shelton, assistant professor of philosophy, was one of the lectures privileged with delivering one of the conferences two closing presentations. Shelton spoke on “Promoting, Assessing and Representing Student Learning.”
Despite the weather, the conference drew in curious minds with the main conference hall filled with round tables of discussion, laughter and attendees playing a game called Reacting to the Past, led by Truitt, to gain a unique understanding of the learning process.
The 2014 TLC Winter Conference was co-sponsored by the College of Humanities, Social and Behavioral Sciences, and the Faculty Center for Innovative Teaching.