Traditional teaching using lectures alone tends to produce rote learning instead of a thorough understanding of the course materials based on prior knowledge and experiences. 21st-century learning values skills in creativity and innovation, critical thinking and problem solving, communication and collaboration. Authentic learning connects learning with a real-world problem or situation and encourages students to solve a problem or create a tangible product. Meaningful learning is generalizable, functional and durable. Authentic learning and meaningful learning foster 21st learning skills and are desired by educators to achieve in course designing and teaching.
Dr. Hong Wang, Extended Learning Institute’s associate director of instructional technology training, presented at the Conference on Higher Education Pedagogy in collaboration with Dr. Dawn Hathaway, assistant professor of learning technology at George Mason University. Their topic, Project-Based Learning: Designing and Teaching to Promote Authentic and Meaningful Learning, was well-attended by educators from different states across the nation. They shared their designs and teaching experience in project-based learning, along with project examples such as podcasts, wikis and multimedia digital objects like videos their students created for the courses they have taught.
Wang and Hathaway met at a national educational technology conference two years ago and developed a friendship through their common interests. They are both passionate about excellence in teaching and learning through sound pedagogy and appropriate technology integration. They are both advocates for creatively applying technology to enhance teaching and learning. They also both have a strong background in educational technology, rich experience in teaching hybrid and online courses and extensive experience in facilitating professional development programs for faculty and K-12 teachers. “It’s such a great pleasure to collaborate with Dr. Hathaway on this presentation,” said Wang. “Our experience and sharing from the perspectives of a four-year university and a two-year college resonate well with our audience that is composed of educators from both four-year and two-year institutions.”
The Conference on Higher Education Pedagogy is a conference hosted by the Center for Excellence in Teaching and Learning at Virginia Tech. The focus is on the scholarship of teaching and learning. The sessions showcase the best pedagogical practice and research in higher education with an aim of improving the quality of higher education. Attendees included faculty from four-year universities, two-year colleges and other educational organizations across the nation.