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Teaching Naked Techniques: A Practical Guide to Designing Better Classes by José Antonio Bowen and C. Edward Watson is now available (San Francisco: Jossey-Bass, 2017).  Early reviews call it “as rich a resource…to improve students’ learning as has been written in a generation.” (More early reviews below.)

Use this discount code at Wiley “TNT30” for 30% off.

 Teaching Naked Techniques (TNT) is a practical guide of proven quick ideas for improving classes and essential information for designing anything from one lesson or a group of lessons to an entire course. TNT is both a design guide and a “sourcebook” of new ideas: despite masses of new research, technology and ideas, it is a more focused, detailed and immediately useful book than the original Teaching Naked.

If you want to understand why technology has had such a powerful impact on teaching, student learning, and the future of higher education (everything from faculty workloads to tuition and pricing) then you might want to start with the original Teaching Naked (2012). TNT includes some newer technology, but mostly we wanted to write a more practical book for faculty (especially new faculty) who wanted a one-stop shop for the latest research on how students learn distilled into tested techniques and best practices that work.

The premise remains the same: we need to use technology and apply new research on how the brain learns to redesign our courses and classrooms. Decades of research have brought an explosion of knowledge about how human evolution has shaped the way we process, think, and remember. Teaching is largely a design problem, and we need to design our classes for the brain in the body.

Research informs the book, but the focus is on practical and discipline-specific applications for faculty. At the same time that psychology and research have given us new insights into student learning, students now have much more to learn and new technologies to help or inhibit how they learn. We are already in a new learning economy, where, thanks to this same explosion of knowledge creation and technology, most of what students will need to learn, they will need to learn after they leave our classrooms. What we know in our disciplines will remain important, but what we know about student learning and development will also grow in importance. The future will belong to self-regulating, life-long learners, and we now know how to create them.

As faculty, of course, we have spent a lot of time in school, and we assume that gives us some insight into how people learn. Sadly, the opposite is probably true. As faculty, we may have understood the value of paying attention even when bored, long sessions of single focus without distraction, distributed repetition, the futility of cramming, discovering why the professor assigned the reading, the importance of re-writing notes and probably naps. All of these are now proven learning enhancers, but none of them are obvious. If we are to turn students into self-regulated learners, we will need to be more explicit in designing environments that help students learn for themselves.

Terry Doyle (2008, p. 25) sums it up this way: “the one who does the work, does the learning.” That does not mean teachers only need to put content out there and let students work; if that is all you do, the Internet does it better. Rather, it means that the value of the teacher is in the way he or she can stimulate good behaviors in students: pedagogy is a design problem and it involves motivating and nudging students in the right direction. The fitness coach does not exercise for us, but still provides enormous value. More exercise equipment will not increase your fitness, in the same way that more content will not increase your learning: faculty being the exception. Normal learners need a person who understands their anxieties and what motivates them and can then create structures that will allow them to succeed.

Teaching Naked Techniques will help higher education faculty design more effective and engaging classrooms. The book focuses on each step of class preparation from the entry point and first encounter with content to the classroom “surprise.” There is a chapter on each step in the cycle with an abundance of discipline-specific examples, plus the latest research on cognition and technology, quick lists of ideas, and additional resources.

By rethinking the how, when, and why of technology, faculty are able to create exponentially more opportunities for practical student engagement. Student-centered, activity-driven, and proven again and again, these techniques can revolutionize your classroom.

“Teaching Naked” flips the classroom by placing the student’s first contact with the material outside of class. This places the burden of learning on the learner, ensures student preparation, and frees up class time for active engagement with the material for more effective learning and retention. Teaching Naked Techniques is the practical guide for bringing better learning to your classroom.

Teaching Naked Techniques is a practical guide of proven quick ideas for improving classes and essential information for designing anything from one lesson or a group of lessons to an entire course. TNT also corresponds to my most popular faculty workshop. You can find out more here.

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