Education expert Sir Ken Robinson notes that in the factories of the 20th century, creativity was not valued. Yet in the startups of the 21st century, it’s critical for success. What can teachers do — right now — to prepare students for the world of the future? Below, 10 ways to teach creativity in the classroom:
Rachel Langenhorst helps teachers in her district find solutions for those issues. She used to teach social studies, but is now the K-12 Technology Integrationist and Instructional Coach at Rock Valley Community Schools in Iowa. “Really be cognizant of the digital tools you’re picking and why you are picking them.”
She put together a list of favorite digital tools for the social studies classroom and shared them during an edWeb webinar. She emphasizes that, as with any classroom technology, teachers need to be careful not to just substitute a tech tool for an analog one. Instead, technology should be used to enhance classroom learning in ways that wouldn’t be possible otherwise, including expanding learning beyond the classroom walls.
I’ve written about a number of video, audio, and collage creation tools, with WeVideo, Audacity, and PicMonkey topping some of my lists. However, it can be a challenge for students to locate copyright-friendly media when using these tools for presentations or idea sharing. It’s always best for students to create materials or use ones that are in the public domain. Here are some of the best resources I’ve found for the latter.
Social media has the power to take what students enjoy and extend lessons that offer students real world applications. Instilling a love of learning is no easy task, especially in a world that is constantly changing with fancier and brighter screens. Our students’ fascination with technology makes it important for educators to integrate lessons and increase classroom participation by embracing our children’s favorite means of expression: social media.
Recently I have been inspired by listening to some great speakers at some of the Apple events I have been privileged to attend. Bill Rankin in particular spoke a lot of sense and it got me thinking about how education needs to adapt to the changing world.
The traditional style of education is based around content, teachers deliver the content and students learn it. This is changing, slowly, but it is getting there. Schools are starting to focus on the context, what does the information mean in the world that they live in?
If a kid has been pushed to a point where she’s acting out in order to get negative attention, the problem is far bigger than you. You know that, right? I didn’t when I was a young teacher, but when this reality dawned on me, it was a game changer. Realizing that it wasn’t about me gave me enough space to breath a bit before I reacted.
It’s not about you either, I’ll bet. If it is, it might say something about how much the kid who is making you crazy cares about you.
Sometimes, they act out to get your attention.
Sometimes, it’s the only way they know.
Sometimes, admitting what they really think or feel or need requires a level of vulnerability they just aren’t able to conjure.
So, don’t call students out in front of other people. Don’t point out their errors, don’t name their flaws, and by all means, don’t cut them down with your sarcasm. Try to get to the root of the problem, instead. Try asking yourself a few questions.
A few years ago, long after I learned the basics of providing quality feedback to learners, I was introduced to a very powerful peer review protocol through my work with Communities for Learning: Leading Lasting Change. I spent a portion of my first summer with that learning community steeped in the protocol and engaged in conversations about what powerful feedback looks like. We spoke about some of the unintended consequences of directive feedback that summer as well, and I learned a great deal, especially about using directive feedback to frame recommendations for improvement.
Daniel Pink has studied motivation in the business world for a long time and he’s come to the startling conclusion that traditional ways of motivating employees with financial incentives doesn’t work. In study after study, social scientists have found that external rewards narrow the focus and restrict possibilities, making it difficult for people to come up with creative solutions to complex problems. The only time incentives worked, in fact, was when the problem was mechanical and the path to the solution was straightforward.
he process of creating and publishing videos can be a great way to get students excited about researching, storytelling, and sharing their work with an audience. For teachers who have never facilitated video creation projects in their classrooms, choosing the right style of video and the right tools can be a bit confusing at first. To help bring clarity to the styles and tools, I have a rather simple outline that I use in my video creation workshops.
According to this, from Infographic World, can build up habits of ‘life-hacking’, which can make you more efficient, more productive and just using your time better. Which means that you have more time to do the things you really want to do.
In order to see a rise in the proportion of students who class themselves as engaged in school, we must build a better understanding of how they are learning outside school and take account of that in our learning and teaching practice. There are (at least) six powerful motivations fueling learning socially. I call them the Six “Do-Its” and explain them as follows.
- What’s the proper role for schools in attending to children’s mental health? Some educators and mental health experts have pushed schools to get more involved in preventing emotional and behavior problems and spotting those kids who need help, so that they can be steered toward professionals who can help them. Mental health problems often reveal themselves early in life, and the sooner they’re treated, the thinking goes, the better the outcomes.
Below are some ideas that are truly transformational–not that they haven’t been said before. It’s not this article that’s transformational, but the ideas themselves. These ideas aren’t just buzzwords or trendy edu-jargon but the kind of substance with the potential for lasting change.
And the best part? This is stuff that’s available not tomorrow with ten grand in classroom funding and 12 hours of summer PD, but today. Utopian visions of learning are tempting, if for no other reason than they absolve us of accountability to create it right now, leading to nebulous romanticizing about how powerful learning could be if we just did more of X and Y.
But therein lies the rub: Tomorrow’s learning is already available, and below are 7 of the most compelling and powerful trends, concepts, and resources that represent its promise.
If science is inquiry and inquiry is a fire, when does that fire start?
When the world talks about STEM education for the most part they talk around elementary teachers rather than to elementary school teachers. This should not be seen as an insult or slur upon our value, but as a matter of course. Most “real” science does not start until middle school or even high school, and for school in poverty perhaps not even then. However, with the need to develop more students ready to step into STEM careers, and the corresponding efforts to grow educational foundations in those area elementary science will play a pivotal role.
Light is a fascinating and familiar topic for children and adults. It’s also rich and complex, which is great if you are teaching a graduate level course in Quantum Mechanics. But how do you lay the foundation for this exciting topic? What do you teach to the youngest would-be scientists?
This self-paced, 5 week course is designed for both formal and informal educators who want to teach children ages 6-14 about the science of light and optics.
Starting with a simple kit and some basic activities, we’ll work through understanding the basics of light, color, shadows, reflection and refraction. Each module offers easy to digest science content, application of science process skills, connections to real world technologies and engaging activities designed to build your comfort and confidence with light and optics. Throughout each module, guidance (suggestions) on how to use and create learning experiences for children will be provided through online discussions and other opportunities for self-reflection and sharing. This process will support the completion of a final project.
This week’s tech-isode takes us back in the day to an oldie but goody: Jeopardy Labs, a free online service that allows users to create customized jeopardy game boards without the use of PowerPoint. Once completed, your game is assigned a unique URL—one that can be posted on a blog, wiki or web site so it can be accessed by anyone with the link.
Problem solving is at the heart of engineering. No wonder, then, that engineering teacher Alexander Pancic leverages his own problem-solving skills to improve his students' learning experiences at Brighton High School in Boston, Massachusetts.
"I've been trying to get my students to make the step, when they encounter a problem, of asking, 'What do I need to know to try to solve it?'" Students who are accustomed to doing worksheets, Pancic says, "get used to having everything they need to know included in the problems. Life isn't like that. You encounter real-life problems and have to figure out, what do I need to know? How can I find out? And then, how do I apply it?"
Teachers interested in creating more student-driven learning experiences, especially in the STEM fields, are likely to benefit from Pancic's strategies and the resources he finds useful.
“When I have a camera in my hand, I pay closer attention,” she tells me.
I feel the same way.
I’ve written about using photos to document learning before. The process is as efficient as it is powerful, particularly for those who keep a cell phone tucked into their pockets most days. Begin by thinking about the most critical moves learners might make in a given period of time, make sure your phone is charged and easily accessible, and start shooting your data.
When you’re finished, these four tools can help you curate, share, and analyze the evidence you gather. Be sure to invite company. Accessing other voices will deepen your perspective and help you develop insights you may not have otherwise. This enriches data analysis.
Giving children the tools to succeed in a rapidly changing technology-based economy is the key to ensuring their future success. Making sure kids are excited by science, technology, engineering, and math (STEM) concepts hasn’t been America’s strong suit, but with the “STEAM” movement, we have a shot at engaging kids like never before.
"In this drawing, she (Sylvia Duckworth) takes some of Angela Maeirs‘ ideas on communal interactions and unifies them under the idea of a “Sandbox Manifesto.” Embedded in this thinking are a lot of the ideas that we promote consistently at TeachThought, from learning through play, to student-centeredness, to interdependence, and “messiness.”
These are the characteristics of a playground, where reduced formality and increased focused on enthusiasm and togetherness yield a tone of possibility. There is potential, then, in bringing these characteristics to your classroom as well. Some may not translate directly, depending on what you teach (content, grade level, etc.), but if you squint a little, you’ll see the connection.
We’ve included some examples for each below to jumpstart your thinking, but note–bringing a “sandbox” approach to your classroom is as much a matter of tone and purpose as it is tips and strategies. Without the right frame of mind, you can check every box and still miss the point.
As a teacher, if you’re not being playful and creative and innovative, you’re just “doing what you’re told,” and risk conditioning your students to think the same way."
"These days, very little comes out of Hollywood without special effects added in post-production. Our favorite superhero movies, science fiction thrillers and fast-paced action movies just wouldn't be the same without them. However, these video effects are no longer the preserve of video professionals. Technology has advanced quickly, and you can now replicate these very same effects to make photos and videos come to life on your iPad. Here's how."
Last week Why Are There Clouds? was one of the most popular posts on the Free Tech for Teachers Facebook page. A good follow-up to that lesson is found in Where Does the Smell of Rain Come From? Produced by It's Okay to Be Smart, Where Does the Smell of Rain Come From? explains why we sometimes think we smell rain before a thunderstorm. Through the video we also learn about the role of petrichor in the lives of some animals.
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