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Wood leads workshop in New Mexico

Wednesday, 11 February 2009

University of Maine at Presque Isle Biology Professor Dr. Bonnie Wood recently led a four-hour, hands-on workshop entitled Lecture-Free Teaching: A Learning Partnership of Science Educators and their Students in Socorro, New Mexico. She was invited by The Center for Innovation in Teaching and Learning at New Mexico Tech (New Mexico Institute of Mining and Technology).

In 2007, Dr. Rebecca Reiss, Professor of Biology and Genetics researcher, attended Dr. Wood's workshop on lecture-free teaching at the National Association of Biology Teachers Professional Development Conference in Atlanta, Georgia. Dr. Reiss subsequently submitted a grant proposal for Dr. Wood to travel New Mexico and give a longer workshop as well as act as a consultant for science and engineering faculty.

Thirty faculty members, representing the disciplines of computer science, engineering, mathematics, physical and life sciences as well as English, teacher education and music, participated in Dr. Wood's workshop. Although it is a small university located in a rural town south of Albuquerque, New Mexico Tech is highly respected for its undergraduate and graduate educational and research opportunities in both science and engineering.

During the first half of the workshop, participants assumed the role of students as Dr. Wood demonstrated methods to build and then bond cooperative learning teams, to teach students to use the scientific method, and to teach science with the case study method. During the second half she discussed her thirteen steps to lecture-free teaching, how she both gives and receives feedback during the semester, and how she builds coherence into the semester by connecting activities on related topics.

The ideas Dr. Wood discussed in her workshop will soon be turned into a book. Dr. Wood signed a book contract in 2007 to write Lecture-Free Teaching: A Learning Partnership of Science Educators and their Students. Her book will be published by National Science Teachers Association (NSTA) Press in the fall of 2009.