DeckChair Hosts Online Knowledge Competition
The Toronto Brain Bee
The Brain Bee is a knowledge-based competition for high school students that tests their knowledge of neuroscience. The original contest format was derived from the traditional Spelling Bee. The Toronto Brain Bee is hosted by the University of Toronto and the winner of this competition will then compete in the National Brain Bee, hosted by McMaster University and the Canadian Champion will represent Canada at the International Brain Bee. The International competition, as always, is scheduled to take place in conjunction with the FENS Forum of Neuroscience which will be held in Paris in July of 2022. Due to restrictions resulting from the pandemic all of these competitions will take place virtually this year.
The primary goal of the Brain Bee is to motivate students to learn about the brain and to inspire them to pursue careers in neuroscience so they can help treat and find cures for brain disorders. https://thebrainbee.org/about/
In conjunction with the Collaborative Program in Neuroscience at the University of Toronto, DeckChair Tutor was selected to run this year's local online Toronto Brain Bee competition to select a high school student to move on to the Canadian National Brain Bee competition later this month.
The primary advantage in using DeckChair was its proprietary timing techniques and methods that allowed the competition to be set up to run the same way as the traditional in-person event but in an online, virtual environment. The competition operated by running DeckChair Tutor in conjunction with Zoom, a popular online conference software.
In using the DeckChair system there was no need for a large number of judges and moderators to read, mark, track correct answers and advance the competitors through the elimination phases of the event. Automatic count-down clocks and computer scoring extremely simplified these integral parts of the competition allowing moderators to focus on delivering the questions and settling any answer disagreements between phases.
One of the great follow-up stories to this year's competition was that the successful winner has requested continued use of the DeckChair online study tool that was made available to all competitors before the competition. This online study tool was developed and provided by the Firefly Foundation, a charitable organization that raises funds to support research and develop programs with a mission to prolong brain health. Firefly has worked closely with DeckChair over the past few years to develop this program that allows students to prepare for the competition by continually testing their knowledge with a robust neuroscience question bank. The great advantage in using DeckChair Tutor is its proprietary method of training "fluency" above and beyond simply knowing correct answers.
We now know that training fluency, fast and correct responses, not only helps in a timed competition format but also provides significantly increased durability of foundational knowledge and improves students' confidence in that knowledge.
The current eye-numbing online trend of student page turning and google searching is giving way to new and thoughtful learning methods with online instructional design becoming more creative and engaging for learners. DeckChair Learning is seeing a break out from traditional bricks and mortar "broadcast" teaching and that their mission of "Advancing the Science of Learning" is actually becoming more prevalent as new digital programs are more widely incorporated into learning curriculums. Using unique DeckChair methods such as:
- multi-role concurrent learning paths,
- synchronous collaborative learning rooms,
- engaging conferencing hookups,
- synchronous and asynchronous assessment,
- enriched study tools and test banks,
now offer; critical thinking, problem solving, and fluency as the new primary goals for education.
Innovative and interesting learning tools like DeckChair Tutor have started to gain the spotlight as mere knowledge posting and simple testing has over-saturated the internet learning environment in the past couple of years.
In summary, the real advantage to using the DeckChair Tutor system is that learners are far less likely to forget what they have learned, and they have confidence in that knowledge.