Engaging your students

Tuesday, March 08, 2011

Over the weekend I watched a fascinating TED talk from Dan Meyer, shown below. In the video Dan talks about the need for a more interactive and engaging teaching method. He demonstrates this with an engineering/math problem which is presented to the class using a simple movie, with no numbers, charts, or formulas! The students dive into the problem using intuition and reason to come up with the next steps, instead of being guided by a textbook towards a predetermined formula.


Teaching with multimedia is a wonderful idea when it fosters creativity. Combining multimedia with a problem project where student teams actively participate in discovering the solution is wonderfully innovative.

Yesterday, I was forwarded a link to this article in Edutopia by Thom Markham. Here Thom makes a strong case for creative, project-based, group learning activities. This makes a STEM (science, technology, engineering, and math) program much more dynamic and effective in the classroom. Dan Meyer's math course is certainly putting this methodology to practice!

In email discussions with educators using Curio, I've learned that teachers and students are taking full advantage of Curio's multimedia, project-based features. For example, teachers can create idea space templates containing embedded videos detailing an experiment or project. The template also includes questions that the team should ask themselves to get their minds racing. Plus tables and text areas for observations, notes, and video responses (recorded from within Curio). The whole thing can then be emailed back to the teacher or posted in HTML form.

Creating problems for students to solve is not hard, but presenting them in a way that engages and excites each student into active participation requires innovative thinking and solutions.

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