Crucial learning can happen in a classroom. But in a newly published article, two CTAHR scholars are showing that’s not the only place it happens.
In their TPSS 300 Tropical Production Systems class, Kent Kobayashi and Kauahi Perez wanted to introduce more student-centered, active learning to supplement lectures and to promote and enhance student engagement. So they turned to approaches such as the flipped classroom, BYOD (bring your own device), and virtual field trips, which promote peer teaching and allow students to take ownership of their learning.
In a flipped classroom, the traditional model in which the teacher provides instructional content in the classroom and the students practice what they have learned as homework is reversed. In TPSS 300, students read and viewed assigned videos, publications, websites, and other resources outside of class. Then, in class, to cement the concepts, students participated in small-group discussions about what they had read and viewed, answered assigned questions, and reported the answers to the class. The students brought their smart devices to class to review videos and websites and do supplemental Internet searches for relevant information for group and class discussions and hands-on activities.
In the virtual field trip assignment, students designed oral presentations that in effect “took” the whole class on a field trip. Each student chose and visited a commercial farm or nursery, interviewed the owner or manager, took pictures, and learned about the operations of the enterprise, then gave a PowerPoint presentation to the class and submitted a written report. These virtual field trips provided students with networking opportunities and introduced their classmates to a far greater range of enterprises.
Kent and Kauahi’s invited article “Flipped Classroom and Virtual Field Trips,” recently published in the International Society for Horticultural Science’s Chronica Horticulturae, shows how different teaching approaches can be applied to enhance student learning in a variety of learning environments—and probably makes many wish they could take such a class!