Wednesday, 12 May 2010

The Business of Learning

I just spent almost an hour watching a video from a presentation at the Business of Software 2009 conference. Why? I have a pile of unmarked essays on my desk.

The real reason was that the speaker is Kathy Sierra, who has a very good approach to teaching programming concepts & looking at things from different angles. I used to read through her "Creating Passionate Users" blog, which she unfortunately discontinued. In this presentation (see below) she discussed how you can make your users feel good about using your products. Users don't want to view your company or your product as 'awesome', they want to see themselves as great. And good products make the user feel awesome.

That clearly has applications to teaching. I always try to answer the question "so what?", to give the students some motivation for why they're sitting in a seminar looking at a text. I think next year I will try even harder with making the students feel awesome...

I do not yet know how many students will be in my modules next year, but I'm already thinking hard about how to change them further. My impression is that my modified teaching style has been very successful, only some things did not work out as well as I had planned them - mainly those which required student participation. I guess the way to get students to participate is to make them more motivated. Or to use a stick instead of a carrot?