Monday, July 16, 2012

My favorite resources for creative inquiry-

The teacher is not solely responsible for what students need to know in school or how they will come to know what we deem to be important.  We are all in an exciting age of collaborative learning in which technology can play an important role.  One of my favorite new resources as an educator is Ted-Ed.
 As a teacher I can present the TED (Technology, Education, Design) lectures as a resource for classroom activities and studies.  I can edit the online lecture and the resources to suit the needs of the lesson I offer.  By sharing this resource with students, they can repeatedly watch the lecture more than once and take the quizzes as many  times as possible.  The teacher can opt to have the student scores available or not.  There are short answer think questions and dig deeper activities as well.  So, for example, as a teacher I can choose to teach a civil rights lesson or a global urban development lesson, I can expect students to achieve 45 points per week and can allow them to choose tasks of various values that will help them process their learning and their engagement.  How students get those points is their responsibility, but TED-ED is one available resource to help them earn points outside the confines of the classroom.  Here is an example of an outstanding TED-Ed lesson.
TED-Ed   Here's an example, Greening the Ghetto,

Foundation for Teaching Economics - lesson plans  This site provides Games and Simulations that teach simple economic concepts through inquiry based models.  History provides a background, the activities provide a means for experimenting in the causes, consequences and possibilities resulting from economic choices and the principles. It is expected that the simulations will take a life of their own.  Students will try to change the rules of the game, they will engage or disengage but will turn to the teacher for explanations along the way.  There is always opportunity for great discussion and tangible understanding of difficult economic ideas.  Most lessons were designed by educators and tested on diverse populations of learners.  I have  remodeled lessons to include both specific and broad historic interpretations.

Homework retake guy, Rick Wormelli.  
He explains why there is no reason not to change how we teach.  He doesn't lecture educators, he doesn't criticize us, but he explains why we of all people need to change our role in the classroom.

This may seem infantile but don't sweep this aside. Word on the Street- Sesame Street Podcasts  are great examples of how simple video can be very powerful for engaging all kinds of learners.  In this example, Jack Black explains the word "Octagon"... in less than 10 minutes.  In the video, adults defined an idea, various children on the daily street offer to define the term in their own words, their own dialect.  Repetition of the word, cartoon imagery, role play, puppets and skits present the definition in a variety of ways.  Simple but also a great model for high school education.  How often do we send students out into the school or community to find out what the average person might remember about an important term we are introducing? How often do we have time to have students tell us what they learned in our class or if what they learned was what we had hoped for? Quick video shot by groups of students can be reviewed by teachers at a later time.   Reviewing their conversation about what they learned is infinitely more powerful than reading the same short answer question/answer over and over.  Allowing students to interview others gives them the sense that they are not alone in how we learn or remember.  Even more importantly, how we remember misguided information.

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