суббота, 25 июля 2015 г.

Образовательные ресурсы

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пятница, 24 июля 2015 г.

Classes should do hands-on exercises before reading and video, Stanford researchers say

Author: David Plotnikoff
Date: 16 July 2013
Source: http://goo.gl/yC6ZDJ 

A study from the Stanford Graduate School of Education of how students best learned a neuroscience lesson showed a distinct benefit to starting out by working with an interactive 3D model of the brain.

BY DAVID PLOTNIKOFF

A new study from the Stanford Graduate School of Education flips upside down the notion that students learn best by first independently reading texts or watching online videos before coming to class to engage in hands-on projects. Studying a particular lesson, the Stanford researchers showed that when the order was reversed, students' performances improved substantially.

While the study has broad implications about how best to employ interactive learning technologies, it also focuses specifically on the teaching of neuroscience and underscores the effectiveness of a new interactive tabletop learning environment, called BrainExplorer, which was developed by Stanford GSE researchers to enhance neuroscience instruction.

The findings were featured in the April-June issue of IEEE Transactions on Learning Technologies.

"Our results suggest that students are better prepared to understand a theory after first exploring by themselves, and that tangible user interfaces are particularly well-suited for that purpose," said Bertrand Schneider, a GSE graduate student who led the research under the direction of Paulo Blikstein, an assistant professor of education. The two other co-authors of the research paper are Roy Pea, a professor of education, and Stanford undergraduate Jenelle Wallace.

The study draws on data gathered from students using the BrainExplorer, a tabletop tool that simulates how the human brain processes visual images. It features polymer reproductions of different regions of the brain and eyes, as well as cameras and infrared pens.

Students use the pen to manipulate and explore the neural network; by severing and reconfiguring the connections, they can see how perceptions of the visual field are transformed. (Schneider developed the device in collaboration with Wallace as a final project for a course, Beyond Bits and Atoms, taught by Blikstein.)

The study involved 28 undergraduate and graduate students as participants, none of whom had studied neuroscience. After being given an initial test, half of the group read about the neuroscience of vision, while the others worked with BrainExplorer. When tested after those respective lessons, the performance of participants who used BrainExplorer increased significantly more – 30 percent – than those who had read the text.

Next the researchers had each of the two groups do the other learning activity: Those who had used BrainExplorer read the text, while those who had read the text used BrainExplorer. All the participants then took another test, and the findings revealed a 25-percent increase in performance when open-ended exploration came before text study rather than after it. (A follow-up study showed identical results for video classes instead of text.)

"We are showing that exploration, inquiry and problem solving are not just 'nice to have' things in classrooms," said Blikstein. "They are powerful learning mechanisms that increase performance by every measure we have."  Pea explained that these results indicate the value for learning of first engaging one's prior knowledge and intuitions in investigating problems in a learning domain – before being presented with abstracted knowledge. Having first explored how one believes a system works creates a knowledge-building relevance to the text or video that is then presented, he said.

The research comes out as the idea of a "flipped classroom," in which students first watch videos or read texts and then do projects in the classroom, has been growing in popularity at colleges and graduate schools. The study's conclusion suggests that the current model of the flipped classroom should itself be flipped upside down. The researchers advocate the "flipped flipped classroom," in which videos come after exploration and not before.

The authors chose neuroscience as the discipline for the study because it is a rapidly changing field that relies heavily on computers rather than paper texts or lectures. But the results extend beyond neuroscience. Similar technology could be projected onto other emerging data-intensive fields such as genomics and nanotechnology, which are quickly making their way into undergraduate and high school education everywhere.

The BrainExplorer system is a proof-of-concept that may have applications in any field where teaching demands visualization and exploration of complex systems. "Part of our goal," the researchers write, "is to create low-cost, easy-to-scale educational platforms based on open source, free software and off-the-shelf building blocks such as web cameras and infrared pens so that our system can be easily and cheaply deployed in classrooms."

The study buttresses what many educational researchers and cognitive scientists have been asserting for many years: the "exploration first" model is a better way to learn. In addition to these published findings, the researchers spoke at an American Educational Research Association meeting earlier this year about another study that used instructional video instead of text and obtained the same results. The team is now conducting follow-up studies.

"With this study, we are showing that research in education is useful because sometimes our intuitions about 'what works' are simply dead wrong," said Blikstein.

The study was funded with support from the National Science Foundation.

David Plotnikoff writes frequently for the Graduate School of Education.

4 Reasons Young People Should Consider Getting a Theological Education

Author: Braxton Hunter
Data: 22 Jul 2015

Sarah Medicis is guest blogging for us this week. She is a phenomenal young lady who has recently gotten excited about apologetics and it has been a part of a revolution in her Christian life. In this article she will tell you why theological education might energize and engage a generation of disinterested millennials! Listen to her! She . . . IS . . . ONE!

Her message? If you go after a theological education you will . . .

GET HUNGRY

A wise man (speaking on why young people often leave the church) once said, “The problem, at least in part, is that we haven't been presenting the intellectual weight of the Christian faith to them.”

This wise man’s name is Braxton, and at different points in the past four years he has been my pastor, my professor, and essentially my mentor in Christian apologetics. I’m currently a student at Trinity College of the Bible and Theological Seminary, working towards an end goal of a doctoral degree in apologetics and theology. I am also the youth director and a member of the worship band at my church, the coordinator of a Thursday night apologetics class for college students, and a 6th-8th grade Sunday school teacher. Usually if I give that spiel to another person my age, their lack of interest in all things “church” shows through pretty quickly. This can be annoying and disappointing to me, and make me feel like I’m different or the odd one out. But that’s exactly what I am; different, the odd one out, an anomaly in people my age when it comes to the things of God. I haven’t always been this person, though. I had what many Christians would call an “aha!” moment in my walk with Christ about five months ago, and since, I’ve had a brand new heart and hunger for Him that has been rapidly growing. What made the difference, you ask? A number of things including more time in prayer, really learning how to worship, etc. One of the things that has helped me grow the most, though, has been the beginning of my theological education and study of God’s word.

GAIN CONFIDENCE

I cannot stress enough the importance of a strong foundation of biblical knowledge and apologetics. These things are necessary to be able to defend your faith, which all Christians are called to do. 1 Peter 3:15 says “but in your hearts honor Christ the Lord as holy, always being prepared to make a defense to anyone who asks you for a reason for the hope that is in you; yet do it with gentleness and respect..” Knowing God’s word as well as arguments for His existence and for the resurrection of Christ make this defense possible for us, and will create a by-product of confidence to share our faith. A lack of this confidence is one of the biggest things that holds people back from spreading the good news. If you don’t feel confident that you’ll have answers to questions you may be asked, it’s much scarier to witness to others.

FIND THE SPARK

Another reason for a theological education is that it will pique the interest of young people. This may seem like a simple point to make, but an initial spark of interest can snowball into something much greater. Typically the more you know, the more you want to know, and this is true of studying the bible. As you read God’s word more and more, you’ll be drawn into a closer relationship with Him and get to know Him better. In the world that we live in, we are constantly fed sin and lies and with so many screwed up ideas all around, it is easy for young people to be confused and deceived. The more that you read and study His word, the less easily you’ll be swayed.

KNOW HIM BETTER

My own theological education has done great things for my relationship with Jesus and my ability to impact others with the message of hope that He’s offered to all who will receive it. If you are thinking about enrolling in Bible college or seminary, even if you don’t necessarily want to make a career from it, I can assure you that setting apart time to study God’s word and to really get to know Him will be invaluable.

Follow Sarah on Twitter at @SarahMedicis

If you want to GET HUNGRY, GAIN CONFIDENCE, FIND THE SPARK and KNOW HIM BETTER like Sarah does - request some more info from Trinity College of the Bible and Theological Seminary by filling out the info box.

Sarah is also a musician and has been the lead singer in several bands. Check out her video.

вторник, 7 июля 2015 г.

Terry C. Muck: Seminary professors are servants of the church

In this Q&A, the outgoing executive director of the Louisville Institute shares his thoughts on the state of theological education as well as an initiative to support Ph.D. students in their vocational formation.


Theological educators train as scholars and researchers. But Terry Muck wants them to be aware that part of their vocation is to form the future leaders of the church.

To that end, Muck has spent the last few years at the Louisville Institute creating support programs for Ph.D. students and postdoctoral students. So far, 47 students have been involved in two fellowship programs. They are part of the Vocation of the Theological Educator Initiative (link is external), which is entering its third year.

“The reason they want to be theological educators is to help young ministers, but we just want to help them see that, and see that that is a skill that is as important -- and in some ways, that it’s as hard to obtain -- as the research dimension,” Muck said.

Before becoming the executive director of the Louisville Institute in 2012, Muck had a long career as a theological educator, serving as dean of the E. Stanley Jones School of World Mission and Evangelism at Asbury Theological Seminary. He also was a professor at Asbury and at Austin Presbyterian Theological Seminary.

A prolific editor and writer, he served as executive editor and senior vice president of publishing for Christianity Today Inc., and has published numerous books.

Muck, who is stepping down from his post at the Louisville Institute, spoke with Faith & Leadership about the state of theological education and his hope for the future. The following is an edited transcript.

Q: You’ve spent the last few years setting up fellowships for Ph.D. students in theological education to begin their teaching careers in a supportive environment. What challenges are you trying to help address?

The presenting problem is that most young people who decide to become theological educators are trained in institutions that put a heavy emphasis on scholarship and research, but not as much emphasis on the church dimension of being a theological educator.

Of course, a seminary professor needs to be a great scholar and a great researcher, but a seminary professor also needs to see himself or herself as a servant of the church and someone who is training the future leadership of the church. Our program adds that extra dimension to it.

Q: So you’re helping them understand the impact they will have on their students?

Very much. We’re helping them see their own vocation a little bit more clearly.

They get in very good schools like the University of Chicago and Harvard and Princeton and Yale and Emory and Duke and Vanderbilt and all these other schools where, just by the work that they are tasked with doing, they begin to see their vocation solely in terms of writing scholarly articles and becoming important guild members.

We think that the instinct is right. The reason they want to be theological educators is to help young ministers, but we just want to help them see that, and see that that is a skill that is as important -- and in some ways, that it’s as hard to obtain -- as the research dimension.

Q: How do the programs work?

We have two scholarships. One is a doctoral fellowship, where we pay their expenses to come here to Louisville for three two-day meetings a year to hear speakers and interact with their peers.

The other is the postdoc. These are recent graduates of doctoral programs, and we place them in schools where we pay a stipend, pay their health insurance, their travel expenses, their moving expenses, their housing; and we’ve worked it out with the deans of those schools to give them a two-year postdoctoral teaching experience that we hope teaches the values that we want taught.

Q: To what extent is your support intended to get them off to a good start?

Well, really, that’s a lot of it. We help provide them a good first teaching experience. We place them in schools where we know they’ll get that.

The other dimension is we bring them to Louisville three times a year to listen to great theological educators talk about what it means to be a theological educator, to share their own experiences with the vocation. And so we spend a lot of time and a lot of money helping them get mentoring in what it means to be a theological educator.

Q: Why do you think those resources are well-spent? What do you think is important about helping theological educators get a good start?

Well, of course, we won’t know if it’s well-spent or not until we’ve been at it for a few years.

But we hope what happens is that we’re training a whole generation of young people to fully understand their vocation, and then, by doing that, to pass that on to their colleagues in whatever schools they’re teaching in, or to younger scholars, so they will in turn become mentors in helping other young scholars who want to get into this.

We hope that there will be a passing of the wisdom and a creation of a culture of theological education that we think is important.

Q: What would you share with schools about supporting faculty? Have you set processes in place that might be transferrable?

Well, we think just the fact that it’s a program designed to make explicit what this vocation is all about will have a great impact.

We’re trying to pair [young theological educators] up with the good ones in their discipline. I think that works in any vocation, and we’re hoping it works especially well with theological education.

Q: In working with deans and working with recent graduates, what have you learned about theological education in the current environment?

The first year I was working on this program, I visited 40 different seminaries around the country and talked to deans and faculties, telling them about this program and seeing if it resonated.

What I learned is that, No. 1, it really does. Current faculty members recognize that this is an important part of their vocation that they aren’t necessarily being trained for.

The second thing I’ve learned is I’m just in awe of the number of young people who want to be seminary professors. I’m in awe of how bright they are and how smart they are, but also how dedicated to the church they are.

Our challenge is just to help these students become the very best teachers and professors that they can be, and I’ve been very inspired by that, personally.

Q: Being on a campus is always so exciting in that way -- it definitely gives you hope for the future, doesn’t it?

It makes you feel good. I mean, you hear so many stories about the challenges that theological schools are facing and the lack of money and all this kind of thing, and so you’re almost set up to expect the worst.

Then when you get into it, at this level at least, you find out that there are all these great young people that would do anything to get into these schools to teach, and that is very inspiring.

Q: Since you are retiring, I wanted to ask a little about your career more generally, and your experience. How has theological education changed since you first started teaching?

Students have become much more globally focused, not just in a geographical sense.

Although it’s true that they think much more in terms of the worldwide Christian community, I think they’re also more global in the way they view theology. They are more open to a variety of viewpoints than I recall them being when I went to seminary or when I first started teaching in seminaries.

When I was in school, if you were a Calvinist, you read Calvin and his followers, and that was that. And if you were a Wesleyan, you read Wesley and his followers. I don’t think that’s so much the case anymore.

Q: I assume you think this is a good thing, based on your own writing and research.

Yes, I do think it’s a good thing. I’m sure there are people who don’t. But I do think it’s what education is all about -- that you don’t develop a theological position until you have been exposed to a wide variety of theological positions. That’s how you arrive at the one you think God is calling you to.

I think that educational institutions are becoming much more open to that kind of general learning than they were when I was in school, when it was more a matter of passing on a single, narrow tradition.

Q: Do you think that’s had a trickle-down effect into congregations, or do you think it’s something that’s trickled up from congregations? Is there a connection there to what church life is like as well?

Yes, probably both. You know, we live in cultures that are much more complex and varied in terms of cultural and ethnic influences, so I think there’s a certain amount that pastors and professors are influenced by the people they serve.

But I also think it works the other way. I think that the training that scholars receive now in universities is much broader than it ever was before, and so it works [in that direction], too.

Q: Based on the changes that you’ve seen in the schools and the students and the church, what advice would you have for a chief academic officer, say a dean at a free-standing seminary?

I would suggest that maybe it’s best to see one’s task with these students as more than teaching a single tradition.

I’m not opposed to a Methodist school teaching the Methodist tradition and a Baptist school teaching the Baptist tradition. But I think that on a par with that, it’s important that you realize that what you’re teaching these students is a way of life, a way of being Christian in a very complex, pluralistic, diverse world.

You’re teaching them a way of life that is probably different than any way of life has ever been before, and I think that enables them to be much more effective pastors/theologians in their very diverse audiences that they are preaching and teaching to.

Q: So as you look forward into the next decade, what do you think are the issues that the church and theological education will be dealing with? Do you have any thoughts or predictions for the future?

I don’t know. That’s a hard question, of course. I think it’s self-evident that we are in the midst of a broad, general set of institutional changes -- that the institutions that govern and guide our churches and church people now are going to change in the next decade.

I suppose a follow-up question to that is, “What are they changing to?” That’s what I don’t know. If I knew that, I’d be really wise.

But I think just the fact that churches and denominations and ecumenical agencies are changing pretty dramatically right before our eyes is something that we should be making our students aware of and prepared for -- that they’re ready to address the new, and to work within institutional structures that they can’t even imagine right now.

Q: How do you think theological education will keep up with that reality?

If I were a dean, how would I do that? I guess, first of all, just by talking about it, by encouraging professors to talk about it and make students aware that this kind of transition is already taking place. This is happening, and probably will increasingly continue to happen as the years go by.

Q: Is there anything you’d want to add?

No, except to say that I’m very optimistic about the church, and that I tell my students that.

Perhaps there’s never been a time of greater change in the church, and that should be exciting. That should not be fear-producing but exciting and challenging. I mean, they get to go through this. I’m going to be on the sidelines watching them go through it, but they get to actually go through it, and I try to encourage them to be excited about that.

Source: Faith & Leadership
Date: June 30, 2015