Top TED Talks for Teachers

1- Every Kid Needs A Champion by Rita Pierson

2- How to Escape Education’s Death Valley by Sir Ken Robinson 
3- The Key to Success ? Grit by Angela Lee Duckworth
4- How Great Leaders In spire Action by Simon Sinek 
5- The Puzzle of Motivation by  Dan Pink

6- Teach Teachers how to Create Magic by Christopher Emdin
7– Hey Science Teachers… Make It Fun by Tyler Dwitt
8- Math Class Needs A Makeover by Dan Meyer
9- 3 Rules to Spark Learning by Ramsey Musallam
10- A Teacher Growing Green in the South Bronx by Stephen Ritz
11- A Girl Who Demanded School by Kakenya Ntaiya
12- How to Learn from Mistakes by Diana Laufenberg

Refuse to be a boring Teacher

How to Have More Fun Teaching

1. Discover new things together.

It’s much more fun for both parties when students and teachers learn new things together. Your job is, of course, to educate, but why can’t that process include the joy of shared discovery? Make a point each day of letting down your authoritative guard, humbling yourself, and enjoying the lifelong journey together–even if it’s just for a few minutes.

2. Incorporate mystery into your lessons.

Learning is the most fun when it’s surprising. Don’t just disseminate information; cloak it in mystery. Highlight the weird, the unusual, the unique. Ask questions. Start with a curious detail that can only be addressed by diving into the background of the subject and thoroughly exploring it. Pose a mystery at the beginning of the course and let your students work towards solving it throughout the term.

3. Be goofy; show you care.

Let loose; laugh; make fun of yourself. Don’t worry about sacrificing your authority. In fact, the latest research says authority stems from showing you care about your students, and making them laugh and feel good is one way to do that.

4. Participate in projects.

I had a creative writing professor at uni who would bring his own material to class for the students to workshop. It was great fun for all of us, and enjoyable for him as well. Stepping down to our level and actually participating in an activity he assigned himself made us all more engaged in the task because he was willing to be a part of it.

5. Avoid “going through the motions.”

If you feel yourself slipping into a rut, spending the same hours exactly the same way each day, stop and reassess your teaching process. It’s so easy to let it all become automatic, especially after twenty-plus years in the field, and to use the same lessons and techniques year after year with different students. But if it’s not fun for you, it won’t be fun for your students either. Make an effort to be fresh, try new things, take risks, make mistakes, enjoy the moment.

6. Flip your lessons.

Flipping your lessons will help you avoid boring in-class activities. If students watch lectures or correct their own homework the night before, you can spend the course period focusing on deeper learning. Everyone will appreciate the chance to reflect on, instead of repeat, the material.

7. Review–but don’t repeat–material.

It’s important for learning and memory to review new material regularly and to integrate it into the bigger picture shaped by old material. Spend an hour or two each week reviewing material from the past few weeks, but always position it within old material so that students see how it all fits together. Simply repeating new information represents a missed learning opportunity.

8. Share your passions.

Show students how you have fun. Passion is contagious. If you’re having a good time, chances are your students will too.

9. Laugh at your students’ jokes.

The best teachers I’ve ever had got a genuine kick out of their students. It’s one of the best ways to ensure teachers and students have fun: enjoy one another.

10. Replace lectures with conversations.

Why should teaching be so passive? Forget the sage on the stage and engage your students in a casual conversation like you would a good friend. This doesn’t necessarily mean asking more questions, but it does require a stylistic shift whereby you and your students are actively exchanging ideas–not just responding to them.

11. Put on a performance.

In his books and workshops, Doug Lemov talks about what pace to move around the room, what language to use when praising a student, how to adjust the angle of your head to let students know you’re looking at them. Teaching, he says, is “a performance profession.” You don’t have to be theatrical (though that might help), but you do have to be self-aware.

12. Enjoy yourself.

People with high confidence–people we respect and listen to–tend to have one important trait in common: they enjoy themselves. Quite literally. You’ll have a significantly better time teaching if you work on nurturing your personal relationship with yourself. Your students will have a better time, too.

13. Make yourself available.

Don’t go to the teacher’s lounge during lunch; stay in your room and invite students to eat lunch with you. Keep your doors open after the bell rings at the end of the day. Make yourself available online for part of the evening. Hold one-on-one and group office hours. Invite students to your home for workshops or end-of-course celebrations.

14. Try being a student again.

Take a seat in the audience and let your students teach you for the day. Spend a week doing your own assignments. Let students grade you on projects or presentations.

15. Don’t take yourself–or your subject–too seriously.

One complaint I hear from students is that teachers don’t sympathise with the fact that their course isn’t the only course students are taking. Students have to balance assignments and material from several courses at once (you had to do the same thing not so long ago). This doesn’t mean loosening your rules or being lenient on late work; it means acknowledging that students have interests and priorities that might not line up with yours. Try to be understanding, and even express interest in other courses students are taking. Think of it as an opportunity to strengthen students’ grasp of your subject by relating it to other disciplines.

https://www.edutopia.org/blog/what-you-need-innovative-educator-terry-heick

http://georgecouros.ca/blog/archives/tag/innovative-teaching-and-learning

http://ajjuliani.com/10-commandments-innovative-teaching/

Golden Rules for Engaging Students – Edutopia

When we think of student engagement in learning activities, it is often convenient to understand engagement with an activity as being represented by good behaviour (i.e. behavioural engagement), positive feelings (i.e. emotional engagement), and, above all, student thinking (i.e. cognitive engagement) (Fredricks, 2014). This is because students may be behaviorally and/or emotionally invested in a given activity without actually exerting the necessary mental effort to understand and master the knowledge, craft, or skill that the activity promotes.

In light of this, research suggests that considering the following interrelated elements when designing and implementing learning activities may help increase student engagement behaviorally, emotionally, and cognitively, thereby positively affecting student learning and achievement.

1. Make It Meaningful

In aiming for full engagement, it is essential that students perceive activities as being meaningful. Research has shown that if students do not consider a learning activity worthy of their time and effort, they might not engage in a satisfactory way, or may even disengage entirely in response (Fredricks, Blumenfeld, & Paris, 2004). To ensure that activities are personally meaningful, we can, for example, connect them with students’ previous knowledge and experiences, highlighting the value of an assigned activity in personally relevant ways. Also, adult or expert modeling can help to demonstrate why an individual activity is worth pursuing, and when and how it is used in real life.

2. Foster a Sense of Competence

The notion of competence may be understood as a student’s ongoing personal evaluation of whether he or she can succeed in a learning activity or challenge. (Can I do this?) Researchers have found that effectively performing an activity can positively impact subsequent engagement (Schunk & Mullen, 2012). To strengthen students’ sense of competence in learning activities, the assigned activities could:

  • Be only slightly beyond students’ current levels of proficiency
  • Make students demonstrate understanding throughout the activity
  • Show peer coping models (i.e. students who struggle but eventually succeed at the activity) and peer mastery models (i.e. students who try and succeed at the activity)
  • Include feedback that helps students to make progress

3. Provide Autonomy Support

We may understand autonomy support as nurturing the students’ sense of control over their behaviors and goals. When teachers relinquish control (without losing power) to the students, rather than promoting compliance with directives and commands, student engagement levels are likely to increase as a result (Reeve, Jang, Carrell, Jeon, & Barch, 2004). Autonomy support can be implemented by:

  • Welcoming students’ opinions and ideas into the flow of the activity
  • Using informational, non-controlling language with students
  • Giving students the time they need to understand and absorb an activity by themselves

4. Embrace Collaborative Learning

Collaborative learning is another powerful facilitator of engagement in learning activities. When students work effectively with others, their engagement may be amplified as a result (Wentzel, 2009), mostly due to experiencing a sense of connection to others during the activities (Deci & Ryan, 2000). To make group work more productive, strategies can be implemented to ensure that students know how to communicate and behave in that setting. Teacher modeling is one effective method (i.e. the teacher shows how collaboration is done), while avoiding homogeneous groups and grouping by ability, fostering individual accountability by assigning different roles, and evaluating both the student and the group performance also support collaborative learning.

5. Establish Positive Teacher-Student Relationships

High-quality teacher-student relationships are another critical factor in determining student engagement, especially in the case of difficult students and those from lower socioeconomic backgrounds (Fredricks, 2014). When students form close and caring relationships with their teachers, they are fulfilling their developmental need for a connection with others and a sense of belonging in society (Scales, 1991). Teacher-student relationships can be facilitated by:

  • Caring about students’ social and emotional needs
  • Displaying positive attitudes and enthusiasm
  • Increasing one-on-one time with students
  • Treating students fairly
  • Avoiding deception or promise-breaking

6. Promote Mastery Orientations

Finally, students’ perspective of learning activities also determines their level of engagement. When students pursue an activity because they want to learn and understand (i.e. mastery orientations), rather than merely obtain a good grade, look smart, please their parents, or outperform peers (i.e. performance orientations), their engagement is more likely to be full and thorough (Anderman & Patrick, 2012). To encourage this mastery orientation mindset, consider various approaches, such as framing success in terms of learning (e.g. criterion-referenced) rather than performing (e.g. obtaining a good grade). You can also place the emphasis on individual progress by reducing social comparison (e.g. making grades private) and recognizing student improvement and effort.

Do you generally consider any of the above facilitators of engagement when designing and implementing learning activities? If so, which ones? If not, which are new to you?

An Idea to Innovation to Best Practice

A question that was posed recently was challenging the notion of “innovation” in education, and how it challenges best practice.  “Best practice” can often be seen as the enemy to innovation.  But “best practice” doesn’t stay as “best practice” forever.  Look at the “Blockbusters” of the world. What was once best practice to them, was what they hold onto, and how they eventually collapsed.  Standing still is the same as moving backwards in our world. Yo1u can have been an amazing teacher ten years ago, but if you have changed nothing in those ten years, you could now be irrelevant.  The best veteran teachers in the world look back at the beginning of their careers and think, “What was I doing?!??!”, not because they were bad, but because they are now so much better.

Yet how dare a teacher “challenge” best practice?  First of all, “best practice” in instruction and learning is not best practice for everyone. What works for one, might not work for another.  I have been thinking a lot about the “eye test”; if a teacher doesn’t see that something is working for their students, is their professional wisdom trumped by a researcher who has never worked with their children?  If something is working for your students, then keep doing that (and I am not talking about test scores, but growth in learning). But if it isn’t, teachers either need to learn something new, or create something new to serve those students.

There has never been a best practice in teaching and learning, that wasn’t at first an “innovation”.  Someone, or some group, was in the pursuit of doing something better for students, and they saw their new practice as better than what they were doing before.  This image summarizes the process of innovation in education.

Ideas lead to innovation, but only if we turn those thoughts into actions. Yet if those actions are new and better, they will become best practice for a period of time. There should be no better researcher of student learning than the teacher working directly in classrooms. They have to decide when to embrace best practice, and when to create “next practice”. That is where the true innovation in teaching and learning happens.

http://georgecouros.ca/blog/archives/7140

The Design Thinking School

Design Thinking can be a powerful vehicle for deeper learning of content, more divergent thinking and building the thinking skills capacity of learners. Key to the process’s success in learning, is that it provides the platform for learners to become problem finders. At a time when design thinking tends to come across as “shop” class and post-it notes, NoTosh have spent four years developing medium- and long-term professional development programmes with schools around the world, which marry design and education research with classroom practices that work in any part of curriculum. We’ve seen schools increase student engagement, content coverage and attainment thanks to the challenging way we frame design thinking and formative assessment, together, as a vehicle for creative and robust learning.

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2017 will bring new challenges with changes to curriculum.  Ideally I would like to see us get to a place where we can challenge our children with an appropriate level of academic rigour but also provide them an opportunity to explore  their creative and technological skills.

http://notosh.com/

Notosh is a company that works with schools and other organisations to promote learning and design thinking.

http://notosh.com/what-we-do/the-design-thinking-school/

This might be a dream at this stage but as they say… “Aim ever higher”

 

4 Great Augmented Reality Apps for teaching Science

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Augmented Reality is the term used by apps which overlay content on top of real world objects. Imagine viewing a textbook page through your iPad and the pictures come to life with sound and animations.

This can have some great educational uses. From bringing spacecraft or animals into the classroom, to bringing worksheets to life with interactive 3D models.

The tech is still in its infancy. At the moment you still need to view things through some kind of device – a tablet, phone or webcam. Can you imagine what this would be like when viewed through something like Google Glass? But that’s something for the future.

There’s many different apps out there, but here are a few of my favourites that could be used to teach Science.

Elements 4D

Elements 4D is an AR chemistry app for iOS and Android devices which provides a fun way to look at various different chemical reactions.

The app uses blocks that are inscribed with the symbols of 36 elements from the periodic table. The site will eventually sell ready-made cubes, but you can download paper templates for free here.

When viewed through the app, these blocks instantly transform a simple, inanimate object into dynamic, dimensional, 4D representations of each element. Place them close together and they’ll react!

You can read more on Elements 4D here

Zookazam

ZooKazam is a fun app for IOS that allows you to bring wild animals into the classroom without all the mess and inevitable legal action. When the targets are viewed through the app, an animal will magically appear. You could get a whale on your desk, or a hippo in your school hall!

If you are teaching about animals with your class then this is an app well worth getting. Children could create images of different habitats, and then use the target to bring the correct animal into the scene. They could create images of different animals and then label them to show their main features – use them for classification. It could even be used as a prompt for creative writing.

You can read more about ZooKazam here

Nasa Spacecraft 3D

NASA’s Spacecraft 3D is a free app for iOS devices that lets you learn about and interact with a variety of spacecraft that are used by NASA to explore our solar system, study Earth, and observe the universe.

The app includes Curiosity, Hubble, Cassini and more!  Hold your iPad/iPhone/iPod Touch up and point it at the marker and the spacecraft will appear. Choose from different animations to show how different parts of the craft work – such as Curiosity’s robot arm or antenna unfurl.

You can read more about Spacecraft 3D here

Anatomy 4D

Anatomy 4D is a very cool free app which allows you to explore an augmented reality 3D body. The app provides models of the human body as well as an interactive heart. You can peel back the layers on the body to see the different systems, such as the skeleton.

You can read more on Anatomy 4D here.

The LAUNCH Cycle : A Design Thinking Framework

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Sometimes we don’t have all the answers and providing students with an opportunity to solve problems or design solutions is a powerful part of the learning process.

Design thinking is generally defined as an analytic and creative process that engages a person in opportunities to experiment, create and prototype models, gather feedback, and redesign

 

Other resources:

Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy Cheat Sheet for Teachers

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Here is a handy cheat sheet we have been working on during the last few days. This is basically a collection of  some of the best apps and web tools to use for each of the six thinking levels in Bloom’s digital taxonomy. This work is based on resources we have previously reviewed and shared in Bloom’s Taxonomy section here in EdTech and mLearning. We invite you to check it out and share with us your feedback.

http://www.educatorstechnology.com/2016/02/blooms-digital-taxonomy-cheat-sheet-for-teachers.html

 

STEM hub for schools

stemhub

Innovations and technological advancements in science, technology, engineering and mathematics (STEM) play a key role in our lives. Not only do they fuel gains in economic productivity, but they also drive improvements to our lives through new inventions and discoveries. The value of STEM to our future is now widely recognised across the globe.

One of the Department of Education and Training’s priorities is to support schools in delivering a world-class STEM education to every young Queenslander. We are committed to preparing Queensland students to take advantage of the opportunities provided by our changing world.

To achieve this, we are focusing on creating a culture of high achievement in STEM education by building teacher capability, lifting student achievement and increasing student participation in STEM. For further information on this, read more on the following pages.

https://learningplace.eq.edu.au/cx/resources/file/0fc6062c-a582-4c7b-9313-dc453c8d8901/1/index.html

Design Thinking & the Future of Education

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Curiosity is the jet fuel for your creativity

Empathy = Design Thinking =Creativity & Curiosity

“Design thinking,” I learned quickly, is difficult to pin down into a single definition. The d.school’s online fact sheet boasts design thinking as providing “a glue that brings teammates together around a common goal: make the lives of the people they’re designing for better.” Design thinking classes are focused on “creating innovators rather than any particular innovation,” and the art of design thinking is best learned by doing.