Generation Like aired last night on Frontline and, in my opinion, is required viewing for every teacher (and parent) for a variety of reasons. In my role as an educator, I was very interested in the technology piece, but it also speaks to how our students are “working” online for themselves and for big companies.
Honestly, there was much that I didn’t realize was going on and I feel like I am “in the know” on a lot of things. http://www.pbs.org/wgbh/pages/frontline/generation-like/
The episode shows a real shift in business models and a widening of the digital generation gap in some cases. The videos on the PBS Frontline page would be great conversations starters in many types of classrooms!
Did you watch? What did you think?
Last week, I wrote about Engaging Tasks for an engaging classroom. As a former elementary teacher, I would love to have an overall engaging scenario for my classroom if I were to end up there again. Imagine entering the class/course and being given scenario about the entire year, semester, or trimester complete with a role and task.
Some theme ideas I have for this are:
- Humanities explorers
- Cultural Investigators
- Time Travelers
This thinking may be a result of the fact that I became an educator during a time of thematic teaching and whole language. I make no apologies for that:) I think a theme based classroom provides a great framework for an entire school year as a way to keep a sense of “we are in this together” for students and families. I would love to hear other theme based classroom ideas!
During a presentation/discussion with Mike Muir at an Eduspire Summer Institute, we discussed Engaging Tasks. With each slide of the presentation we reviewed scenarios for activities that introduced a task for students. My initial reaction was, “This seems so obvious! I can’t believe teachers aren’t already doing this.”
Then we looked back at the Webquest framework! We had webquest creation as a whole school district activity for teachers back in 2003. So, what happened? If this idea was a good one that makes school better for students, why aren’t we all doing it? I agreed with Mike, that our webquest implementation became an internet scavenger hunt for students. The scenario/task might have been good, but then we simply asked students to answer questions about a topic. An online search to complete a worksheet.
So, where do we go from here? Why can’t we take every “unit” we have and create an engaging task that students have to research, think about, discuss and defend. Mike’s suggestions for good tasks:
- Relate to curriculum
- Have compelling scenario, role and task (3 components)
- Story form without teacher talk or procedural steps
- Focus on higher order thinking (apply, analyze, evaluate, create)
- Authentic and believable
- Interesting or significant
Visit the What Makes for a Great Engaging Task page to really dig deep on this idea. With regard to higher order thinking, consider the idea of flipping Bloom’s Taxonomy and letting students create something first. Then the task becomes a rubric of sorts to lead them through building foundational knowledge on their own with guided instruction. Their initial creation improves with time, effort and feedback.