If a question has a correct answer, is it worth asking?
If something is "Googleable" why would we spend precious class time teaching it?
When we ask students to summarize, do we actually want to know what's important to them?
What do you suppose students think they are supposed to be doing when we ask them to analyze?
Do you ever ask your students questions you don't know the answer to? Why not?
Here's a TEDxCreativeCoast video - The Future Will Not Be Multiple Choice - that answers those questions and showcases the power of a PBL / design-based approach to learning. Turn curricula into design challenges, classrooms into workshops and teach students to think like designers.
While you watch it, try to think of a meaningful career that looks like filling out a worksheet.
Publishing is an effective tool for getting students engaged and writing. The new book, Publishing with PowerPoint, walks the reader through a process of self-publishing that can be used in any classroom. PowerPoint is an effective book design software – it’s already on your computer and everyone know how to use it. Students find it easy to use PowerPoint templates and position a wide range of text and images on a PPT slide. Powerpoint slides can be quickly grouped and rearranged into book pages. Finally, converting PowerPoint slides into pdfs for publishing can be done with the “Save As” function. The teacher with a limited budget can print just one copy for the classroom. Parents can order their own copies online.
There’s a great new free iBook that I highly recommend as a source for project based learning and team building activities for middle school students through adults. “Innovation Challenges – Mind Workouts for Teams” is available – free at iTunes.
It tells the story of a great program at Saint Louis University, designed to promote creativity, innovation, and the entrepreneurial mindset through novel challenges. The book is a detailed how to for 22 challenges – team supplies, facilitator supplies, tips, learning outcomes and variations. It’s a treasure trove lavishly illustrated with photos and videos. Challenges run the gamut from STEM to marketing and sustainability. The iBook also details how to replicate the competition at your institution.
Too often teachers give students a Venn Diagram and ask them to compare. What looks like analysis on the surface is often no more than re-filling information from the source material into the Venn. Summarizing and comparisons are powerful ways to build content knowledge and critical thinking. But if students are going to master CCSS skills they need to design the model, find a way to express it to others, and have the opportunity self reflect on their product and feedback from peers. Here’s how to teach analyzing.
I will demonstrate how to meet these four keys to teaching analysis with FlipNLearn, a foldable that students design, print and share. It’s an innovative learning tool that students design on a computer, then print on special pre-formatted paper. FlipNLearn is a great way to give students a manageable design challenge that promotes teamwork, self-assessment and reflection. In 30 minutes, or less, they can produce tangible product that blends the best of PBL and CCSS skills in communication.
For years progressive educators have known the textbook was dead. Apple’s latest iPad Mini / iBooks Author event (October 23, 2012) suggests we are closing in on the tipping point that should hasten its demise. I’ll let others focus on the viability of the iPad as a textbook replacement in this era of shrinking budgets. Instead I’ll focus on three reasons why teaming iBooks Author (iBA) with the iPad can turn students from passive consumers of information, into active researchers, thinkers, designers and writers.
This guest post from Greg Wimmer – Social Studies Department Chair at Central York (PA) High School – describes an innovative student project. Students, working in collaboration with the York County Heritage Trust, wrote and produced movies for historic walking tours that can be accessed via Aurasma – a location-based, augmented reality, smartphone app. Greg shares how to integrate technology and community involvement into the history classroom. Includes videos and lessons learned.
A step-by-step guide to student writing that demonstrates the power of student choice, authentic audience and self-reflection. Sixth graders are motivated by writing “Traveling Through the Human Body with ABCs” for a third grade audience. The project demonstrates how to help students master content and develop project management and teamwork skills. The power of publishing enables students to think like writers, to apply their learning strategies and to organize and express their learning. It exemplifies the best of the information revolution – students as creators of content rather than as passive audience.
What is writing for? The answers seem obvious — communication, persuasion, expression. But the real answer in most classrooms is this: writing is for making assigned writing. Throughout their education, students everywhere are asked repeatedly to write papers that are inherently insincere exercises in rearranging things they’ve read or been told — papers in which their only stake is a grade.
At the core of the creative process is the willingness to step back, reflect on what you’ve accomplished, ask how it’s going and then get back to working on it some more. So after a few weeks of using iBooks Author (IBA), I thought it was time to practice what I preach. I’ll use this post to explore my initial reaction to working with IBA framed with by thoughts on the reflective process. As I took a closer look at IBA, I realized that while it presented some interesting opportunities, IBA had some notable shortcomings. On the plus side, it’s very easy to create an engaging mix of text, images, recordings, and videos. Perfect for my first IBA project – a document-based history iBook.
The folks behind TED talks have just launched TED-Ed to serve the mission “of capturing and amplifying the voice of the world’s greatest teachers.” TED-ED has put out a call to teachers everywhere to submit lesson ideas for inclusion in the new YouTube Channel – TED-Ed: Lessons worth sharing. Right now there’s a gifted educator delivered a great lesson to their class. TED-Ed is looking for your help to find that educator, team them with animators, and amplify that lesson for all to see. Nominate an educator | Share a lesson | Nominate an animator.
I am proud of my life-long career in public education - especially the 25 years I spent as a teacher. For over 20 years, I have worked with school districts, state DOEs, leading educational organizations and companies to improve the quality of teaching and learning. I provide training and consulting services across the United States and internationally.
Free DBQ iBook: Close Reading Plus Essential Question
Critique and Evaluate PRIMARY SOURCES / Guiding CCSS PROMPTS
Analyze Propaganda: Think Critically About Persuasive Multi-Media Sources