Tag Archives: Engagement

Edutopia: Reinventing a Public High School with Problem-Based Learning

Really interesting video. I really like the summit based on a real-life issue.  I wish one of the teachers would post the mechanics of setting up and implementing what appears to be a very engaging activity for a wide swath of students. Plus, I would want to think through how this activity was evaluated for individual marks and not for catch-all group marks.


Salman Khan Describes Future Classrooms with Blended Learning

Interesting video from the mind behind the Khan Academy. Here he discusses how online learning is meant to mesh with — not replace — classroom learning. For me, this echoes Karen Hume’s discussion of balancing tradition with innovation. “Salman Khan Describes Future Classrooms with Blended Learning” on YouTube:

P.B.L.: Can I do it?

I just created a page here on Project-Based Learning because I want to know more about it. Why? I have been given an amazing opportunity to work in a high school with a fascinating diversity of cultures, abilities, interests and learning styles.

Not to overstate things, but I feel a little like all of the mind-blowing professional development that I have had a chance to learn from might all come in to play in this unique and rich learning environment. Indeed, with such differences simply part of the culture at WSS, it would appear that differentiation is really a necessity not just a interesting, once-in-a-while activity.

And as I have circled around PBL for the past year or so, my ‘Spidey Sense’ has been tingling as I wonder if PBL is something that might be a great fit as a tool for accommodating and harnessing all of this wonderful diversity.

Will Richardson: Should We Connect School Life to Real Life?

Should We Connect School Life to Real Life?
October 5, 2012 | 6:00 AM |

Excerpted from Will Richardson’s new TED Book Why School: How Education Must Change When Learning and Information Are Everywhere. Richardson offers provocative alternatives to the existing education system, questioning everything from standardized assessments to the role of the teacher. In this chapter, “Real Work for Real Audiences,” Richardson envisions students creating work that is relevant and useful in the world outside school.

By Will Richardson

So what if we were to say that, starting this year, even with our children in K– 5, at least half of the time they spend on schoolwork must be on stuff that can’t end up in a folder we put away? That the reason they’re doing their schoolwork isn’t just for a grade or for it to be pinned up in the hallway? It should be because their work is something they create on their own, or with others, that has real value in the real world.

I’m not even necessarily talking about doing something with technology. (Let’s face it, though: Paper is a 20th-century staple that has severely limited potential, compared to digital spaces.) There’s lots of creating our kids can do with traditional tools that can serve a real audience. Publishing books, putting on plays, and doing community service are just a few examples.

But what if we got a little crazy and added some technology into the mix? We could tell our kids, “You know, in addition to taking that test on the Vietnam War, we want you to go and interview some veterans, then collect those stories into a series of podcasts that people all over the world could listen to and learn from.”

Video: The Power of Story

Just found this very cool short video via Twitter. Although it is aimed at the business community, it is very applicable to teaching and education.  Indeed, it is often those accidental story moments that a teacher or student shares that are magical and they are often referred to as ‘teachable moments’ — moments in the classroom that we didn’t plan for but they arise organically and as teachers we try to seize upon them and allow them to breathe a little before moving on.

What I like about this video and the idea behind it, is that teachers can deliberately re-format their teaching to include story or to frame the entire lesson by way of story.  As a teacher who gravitates towards anything that makes my teaching more powerful and engaging, I am also drawn to this video’s message which, to me, echoes the ideas behind differentiated instruction: deliberately deliver powerful learning using the most effective teaching strategies.

But the simplicity of Pull vs. Push is what really grabs me here.  So simple yet so powerful… A pessimist could argue that much of learning in schools today is sadly closer to Push than it is to Pull.

Here is the article that I found and below is the video:

Infographic: Generation Mobile

The next front of the epic ‘battle’ for engaging students may well be with the smartphone front: can we walk the fine line between using and harnessing these devices to keep pace with the realities of students while cultivating a culture of responsible usage? (I hope I don’t sound fuddy-duddy by writing this!)

But to ignore the realities of student usage is, one might argue, like an ostrich hiding its head in the sand…

nInfographic: Generation Mobile

AMERICUS: Book Worms vs. Book Banning

Do we want young adults reading only the “right texts” or do we simply want them to read anything that engages them?

Cool, insightful, poignant graphic novel that delves into modern book-banning in America.