How Teachers Use YouTube Videos To Teach

The internet is an excellent source of material for teachers. If you are a teacher, you may already use it extensively for planning your own lessons. One of the best things about the internet is that you can now watch videos with ease. Broadband speeds continue to increase each year, making video content very easy to access.

Videos can play an important role in the classroom, whatever subject you are teaching. And there is no bigger resource of free videos than YouTube. Here are some of the ways that you could put YouTube to use in the classroom.

Get Endless Lesson Ideas

YouTube is a vast website containing millions upon millions of videos. Endless videos are uploaded every single day by both professional content producers and amateurs, and this means it is an excellent source of ideas and inspiration for planning your lessons. Browse through the website for topics of interest and you may well find that the videos provide you with ideas for planning your lessons.

Make Your Lessons More Lively

Alternatively, find videos that complement your lesson plans. Videos can really help to bring a lesson to life, and this is particularly true if you are teaching a subject that is may not be inspiring to all your students.

Your students will enjoy watching a video, and because of the vast number of videos, you may be able to find one that is suitable to the age of your students. You may come across videos that take unique and interesting angles on a topic that you had previously not considered, and this can encourage your students to think differently.

Use Videos for Homework

You could provide your students with a link to a video that you have found on YouTube that they can then use to complete their homework. If your students don’t like completing their homework, this can help to get them more enthusiastic.

Of course, some students may not have access to the internet, so make sure that the video is not essential in order to complete the homework.

Are You Connected?

One problem with YouTube is that you need to be connected to the internet to watch the videos. This is fine if you have a connection in the classroom, but what if something goes wrong with the connection or you don’t have one in the first place? If you don’t have a backup plan then your whole lesson could be put at risk.

One option is to download a video to watch later on your device even when you are not connected to the internet. Using a service like youtubedownload.altervista.org, you can easily download videos for viewing later. This will give you peace of mind that your lesson will not be ruined by a technical issue.

Take Advantage of YouTube

YouTube is a huge video database that teachers can use to their advantage. Find fun and interesting videos on the site, and use them to complement your lessons or to form the foundation of your lesson. They can really help to add another dimension to your lessons and bring them to life. Make sure you remember to respect IP when using downloaded videos.

Novel E-Books – Your Favorite Novels Just a Click Away

Many of us love reading. And reading does not necessarily refer to academic reading. Many of us just read for fun and entertainment. Traditionally we know that books are the only source of reading and acquiring knowledge. But a relatively new way of reading has evolved in the past few years. Electronic books or more popularly known as eBooks are something that are easily available on the web. One can easily download any eBook from sites according to their wish and keep it with them forever. From novels to academics, it consists all of it.

Novels as eBooks:

 Novels are something than many of us enjoy reading. It helps one refresh his mind and keeps him involved until the novel is not completed. The best thing about a good novel is it does not let the reader leave it incomplete. The reader is bound to complete the novel if he develops interest in it. Many people are in a habit of completing a novel within a day. But purchasing so many costly novels does not feel good on the wallet. So novels in the form of eBooks are working as a boon for its lovers. They can easily download the novels for free and read them whenever they want to. Keeping your favorite novel in your device isn’t it fun. You can read it again and again, any time you want to. It even prevents you from carrying think and heavy books from place to place. You just need to carry your device with you.

Best Sites for Downloading:

Now the question is which sites are the best for downloading the novels. Some of the best sites which one can use for downloading are:

  • FreeBookSpot:  This site has a free download for 4485 eBooks that ranges in 96 categories.

  • Free-eBooks:   This site has a great and wide collection of fun and entertaining books. It also has impressive fiction and nonfiction sections.

  • 4eBooks:  This site has a wide collection of eBooks on computer programming. Each eBook has a related description and review which makes it easy for the user to select the right book.

  • Project Gutenberg:  this is probably the most renowned site for free eBooks. It provides eBooks in various formats for iPhone, iPad, Nook, Kindle and many more.

  • ManyBooks.net:  The best thing about this site is it provides reviews, recommendations and titles from its users for the various free novel pdfs. It also had a wide range of categories of eBooks

New Technologies For Art Classes

Today’s students are growing surrounded by all kinds of technology. They are interested in these gadgets, which is why they’ve grown quite skillful in using them. It’s also why it’s so important to use them in teaching them things like art education.

Using technology in art class will raise your students’ interests, encourage them to promote in class, teach them new skills, and simply benefit them in more ways than you could possibly imagine. With this in mind, here are some different types of technology that you may consider using in your art classroom with your students.

Digital Art Galleries

Make sure that you have a computer or laptop in your classroom for whenever you’re conducting an art education course. They will prove invaluable whenever your students are learning about a specific artist or type of art because you’ll be able to take them online. Once you’re on High Speed Internet you will find lots of great websites where your students can take virtual tours of art galleries or learn more about the artists that you’re introducing them to.

3D Modeling Software

A lot of artists don’t realize that there are 3D programs available for them to use to see what their creation will look like before they’re even done creating it. While you may be thinking that this type of software is going to be expensive, you’ll be pleasantly surprised to find that there are some really good free programs available for you to choose from too. Your students will really enjoy using this type of software on the computers or laptops that you’ve chosen for in your art education classroom.

iPads

While many young people already know how to use computer software programs such as Photoshop to create works of art, iPads are bringing a whole new vibe to art education. This is because art students will need to know how to use a stylus to create art on an iPad. Here you’ll actually have a different feel than that which you would have if you were using a mechanical pencil and a sketch pad. Of course, it also helps that many of these programs do a lot more than simply let you draw something. Your students will have a lot of fun creating their works of art. This is because their iPad will allow them to sketch, paint, write, storyboard and animate in ways that were never before possible with computer software programs like Photoshop.

Digital Cameras

Besides having computers and laptops available for your students to use, you should also have at least a couple of digital cameras too. Of course, your students may actually have their own digital camera tucked neatly within their cell phone that they carry with them to school each day. They may enjoy using this too. Regardless of what camera is used though, your students are bound to appreciate having the opportunity to photograph their artwork to put inside of the digital portfolios that they are creating. You will appreciate having a digital database of the lessons that you teach since you can refer back to them in upcoming years.

Now that you have a better understanding of why using technology to teach art education is so important, you’ll want to make sure that you are using it in your classroom. The aforementioned programs are just a few examples of what’s available out there for you to use. Take some time to look through these things and you’re bound to see just how easily you can tie them into whatever you’re teaching your students in your next lesson plan.

Training In Solar Power

There are many reasons you need to consider solar. Scientists studying the climate still do not understand what served as the last straw to cause such an abrupt earth climate change and the need to install solar energy. The changes have been rapid and forced scientists to create rapid understandings and explanations as best they were and are able to do. However, the trigger for this rapid earth climate change and the need to install solar energy has yet to be determined or understood. The effects of dust and smoke as well as aerosols are still largely unknown with measurements not yet reliable.

Training In Solar Power

Taking this into account you can start to change the way we impact the world by working in solar energy. When you are looking to change careers into something more eco-friendly you can take courses on solar power panels and learn the foundation of solar energy as the use of sun as a resource for energy. When you train with solar power panels you will learn about solar thermal energy and how solar power plants function incorporating the conversion from hot air into electricity. You will be well equipped to explain the costs of solar power panels and what is required for the installation. Also, anyone well trained in solar energy will always know what considerations to make for climate, geography, and zones.

When you change your profession toward solar power panels you can take solar energy courses which include in-depth information about the technical side of solar installation. They will teach you how to locate a solar panel contractor, and system designs.

Where ever you choose to get your training on solar power panels you will be able to take detailed courses which give you the education and skills necessary to pursue a professional career in solar energy after achieving either an associate’s degree in solar power installation, an undergraduate or graduate degree in solar engineering, photovoltaic and renewable energy, all leading to certification from the North American Board of Certified Energy Practitioners. After you complete these professional courses on solar power panels you can start installing the panels in residential homes and on the rooftops of businesses helping everyone to become more eco-friendly.

With photovoltaic panel installation training you will receive energy training courses for, pv solar installation, renewable energy, and photovoltaic panel installation training that leaves you with a complete renewable energy education. With the PV training course you will learn the aspects related to sizing a solar pv system. Using photovoltaic panel installation classes’ participants can gain the knowledge they need to continue with future solar energy classes and achieve a complete solar energy education.

Overall there are many ways to save in terms of energy. With the use of solar in Orange home and business personnel can monitor their energy use and maintain the perfect temperature no matter the season. Now no matter the time of year with solar in Orange home and business personnel can trust that they are making the world a better place.

Road To Innovation In Social Education

One of the positive things I started my career as a university professor, is that I have taken up the healthy habit of reading texts and scientific articles related to education in general and social education in particular.

EducationInstigated by these readings is not the first time I make me more aware that the bubbling of professional activity, we forget why we do things, good intentioned inertia at a dizzying pace intervention or perhaps lack of accountability would be better to point out that lack of awareness embarked.

Innovate …

How many times has joined the Social Education to creativity …

“You yourself must be the change you wish to see in the world” Gandhi

Since the race will show us the different paradigms and critical we conquered the heart … and in practice, our steps away from the “utopia” Paper driver of change.

In this sense, in my opinion, the idea of innovation as a revolution, a radical change has not helped to land and to value the sum of small changes.

Innovation is not put everything upside down , is to think beyond the here and now, beyond what was done and what is being done.

Innovation is also small changes, since the sum of these is the origin of Innovation capitalized.

As a start, a question, as a trigger interrogation …. Could do better? … And how?

Being innovative is not the most comfortable but the most rewarding in my opinion option. What’s more satisfying to build, to invent beyond the mere reproduction of what already exists?

“Innovation is a risky activity whose main risk is not practicing.” Jorge Wagensberg.

Attached to this idea of risk, is the attitude of daring to try, to dare to experiment to understand that we err again and again and that is the only way to innovate, to go further … that the error should not be treated as a failure, but as a necessary and positive to get closer to the answer step.

Attached to the idea of taking risks, is learning to live with uncertainty.

It is a necessary innovator learning to accept that we live in a changing world, filled with such amazing people as unique.

If we grasp this issue, we will be vigilant and attentive to reality with all senses, curious as if every day was the first of our educational practice.

“A creative adult is a child who has survived” Albert Einstein

On the other hand, say that innovate alone, as a hero comics DC, can be exhausting, seeing us at the mercy of our alter ego in less than a rooster crows.

A colleague asked me how I fought the syndrome called “the solitude of Social Educator”. To which I replied that promoting projects with others and other professionals.

“Not all doors open to our call, but without calling them we will not have to know.”

Innovation is easier with the help of others, indeed, is prescribed for mental health and has beneficial effects such as contrast, broadmindedness and a more comprehensive and powerful intervention.

In this way, we will not be a hero alone, but an innovative team able.

I say finally, that the Social Education and people-professionals that we are, maybe we should listen, so once said it was one of the greatest icons of creativity and innovation …

“I want to put a ‘ding “in the universe” Steve Jobs

Math In The Real World

math-in-the-real-world

NEW YORK, NY (February 19, 2015) Based on many of the same skills and concepts, math is a natural complement to economics and personal finance; and yet, they are rarely taught in conjunction with each other in our nation’s schools.  The Council for Economic Education (CEE) looks to bridge that gap with their new online resource for high school teachers.  With the support of sponsors Verizon, Moody’s and the Calvin K. Kazanjian Economics Foundation, CEE has developed Math in the Real World as a free and convenient tool to integrate math with economics and personal finance.

Part of EconEdLink, CEE’s free online teacher resource, Math in the Real World contains interdisciplinary lessons aimed at teaching personal finance and economic concepts in a mathematical context.  Math in the Real Worldincludes lessons that range from “Break-Even Analysis” and “Profit Maximization” to payday loan expenses and building good credit.  Math in the Real World lessons are aligned with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in math and national standards in personal finance and economics. Lessons include activities, simulations and other tools that use current technology that promote active learning.

“As a former math major in college, I am excited that we can bring practical real-life lessons into the classroom to engage kids in three of my favorite subjects,” said Nan J. Morrison, CEO and President, CEE. “Integrating math with economics and personal finance, Math in the Real World’s lessons offer an effective way for high school teachers to cover a wide range of skills and concepts.”

The California Council on Economic Education, one of CEE’s national affiliates, recently piloted the materials with high school teachers:

“Outstanding. I especially like to attend workshops where I can instantly take materials home and implement them,” said one of the participating teachers.  Another raved about its online accessibility, adding that, “its connections with other subjects will be so helpful” in her classroom.

Other Information

Many economics and personal finance concepts overlap with math curriculum, but economics and personal finance teachers are not trained to teach complex calculations and formulas, and math teachers may not focus on the personal finance and economic applications. A new CEE resource, Math in the Real World, brings together the expertise of math teachers and economics teachers to create interdisciplinary lessons that teach important personal finance and economic concepts in the context of math lessons including:

  • Earning Credit: How can math help me analyze how my financial decisions today impact my credit score, interest rates and the cost of major purchases in the future?
  • Inflation & Unemployment—Is There a Correlation: How does inflation correlate to unemployment?
  • Cost: Rates of Change: Why is marginal cost a better metric than average cost in the decision making process?
  • Profit Maximization: How can we use calculus to determine the level of output to maximize profits for a business??
  • How Expensive are Payday Loans? (or The High Cost of Quick Cash): How do you determine the total cost of a payday loan?
  • Break- Even Analysis: How would an entrepreneur decide whether a business is likely to be profitable?

Math in the Real World lessons are aligned with the Common Core State Standards (CCSS) in math and national standards in personal finance and economics. Lessons include activities, simulations and other tools that use current technology that promote active learning.

Math in the Real World includes 22 lessons that will be published over the next nine months.

Math In The Real World: 400 Examples, Lessons, & Resources

Permanently Disrupting Education. With Smartphones

student-smartphone-use

The concept of disruption is an apt one in our fluid, digital, and almost destructively social world.

In response to the counterculture movement of the 1960s and 1970s, it’s not surprising to see that trend continue now that technology has caught up with our inherently rebellious ways. The Information Age is as full of change as it is spectacle, with access an integral component.

Access for everyone to everything, a principal the Khan Academy is built on.

While on a macro and truly global level we’re from far from reaching this utopian view of universal accessibility to platforms, information, and thus opportunity, the groundswell is indeed pushing for that.

Of course, with this kind of access comes disruption. Formal education is built on principles of standardization, uniformity, and compliance. The lack of diversity in proficiency assessment is rivaled only by the relative apathy of many learners, perhaps aware of how little control they actually have over what they learn, when they learn it, and what they do with that information.

Modern smartphones have the chance to change all of this.

Disruption isn’t always a comfortable process.  The root rupt means to break¸ after all. Essentially by disrupting, one is breaking a pattern or system. In lieu of incremental change in public education, and in spite of a tsunami of technology outside of classrooms, learning environments aren’t far removed from where they were when Cassius Clay was disrupting how America thought of sports figures, or Billy Jean King notions of gender performance.

In classrooms across the globes, learners are being educated in information-scarce environments. A common counter-argument is that the students simply “can’ta process” that much information.

Can’t analyze.

Can’t evaluate.

Can’t synthesize.

If this is true, is the proper response to stop trying—to limit the amount of information, and to shackle the relative access to information?

In the pocket of learner’s everywhere are devices that offer them access to recorded human history, but to adhere to patterns, systems, and protocol, we insist that these “channels” be muted. Put away. Out of sight.

Of course, learners are human, so they rebel. They text. They facebook. They tweet. They mock the systems that are restraining them., not because they fully understand that restraint, but they sense it.

Through smartphone implantation, power, pace, and patterns are decentralized, from institutions and educators to individual learners. While raising-your-hand-via-text is one way to look at it, here’s another: stop hording pathways to information. Stand aside and help them sift—help them analyze, evaluate, and synthesize.

There are many factors at work here that offer potential.

Factors

1. Access

While iPads are much ballyhooed for their planet-in-your-lap potential, smartphones have the majority of the same potential, but with far increased mobility. Learners can access other learners, information, experts, and mentors at any time—their own pace, through their own chosen social media platforms, in a way that is comfortable and useful to them. This not only reduces the constant need to teach procedural knowledge, but provides a base of prior knowledge that offers at initial access to every task a learner can be expected to complete. Every time, they’d at least have an idea where to start.

2. Native Tech

Rather than insisting on school-provided hardware and software, students themselves will use the technology that is native to them—the phones, the apps, and the mobile operating systems that they use day in, and day out.

And when there is an app they need but don’t have, it’s imminently affordable to address at home. Further, by bringing these mobile platforms home, parents and families are immediately brought into the conversation on a more consistent basis. The learner’s primary learning tool in the classroom is available in the palm of the hands of the parents.

3. Transparency

Perhaps the most potent factor in this disruption would be in increased transparency. While administrators everywhere undoubtedly read these ideas and shudder at the concept of a students “facebooking” during “Class,” reconsider the notion of class. In a digital environment, everything can be made transparent—not only for learners, but for teachers, families, and community. It would no longer be entirely up to an overworked assistant principal to police “social media drama.” By giving every student a can of spray paint (smartphone), the graffiti should be visible to all.

Barriers

Of course, there are barriers. This is disruption after all, not slow, top-down, organized change.

1.       Policy

The above ideas would violate 99% of school policies ever written. The response, of course, is not new policies, but new thinking and learning models. New notions of family involvement. Disruption doesn’t wait for ideal conditions, it forces change.

2. Disparity in Technology

Not every student has a cell phone, much less a smartphone. And those that do often have very different hardware—some powerful and elegant, others rickety and crude. This is not a disparity that needs muting—this is reality, and itself not a powerful counter-argument to the use of smartphones in the classroom. How much do used Android smartphones cost compared to iPads or laptops?

3. Privacy

With issues of bullying, identify theft, and other digital dangers, open smartphone access for minors during “school” sounds like a nightmare.

And given modern formal learning settings that don’t easily accommodate students having unmitigated access to all that can be made digital, but therein lies the rub: giving students “keys” to modern communication and information sources would shred old paradigms of what was happening in “classroom” beyond recognition, not to mention clarifying the sheer impossibility of policing it all to begin with at an institutional level. The hubris!

Conclusion
Undoubtedly, placing an Android or iOS device into the hands of minors doesn’t sound particularly useful, much less pedagogical or transformative. There would be countless barriers for implementation. And that’s the point of disruption—to reset power distribution and patterns to create new circumstances.

For personalized learning, community involvement, and digital integration to full occur, it will have to be in the hands of learners, with re-considered roles for teachers, community mentors, and academic institutions.

The tool for starting a revolution is sitting quietly in the pocket of millions of learners everywhere.

The Inconvenient Truths About Assessment

truths-about-assessment

1. In terms of pedagogy, the primary purpose of an assessment is to provide data to revise planned instruction. It should provide an obvious answer to the question, “What next?” What now?“

2. It’s an extraordinary amount of work to design precise and personalized assessments that illuminate pathways forward for individual students–likely too much for one teacher to do so consistently for every student. This requires rethinking of learning models, or encourages corner-cutting. (Or worse, teacher burnout.)

3. Literacy (reading and writing ability) can obscure content knowledge. Further, language development, lexical knowledge (VL), and listening ability are all related to mathematical and reading ability (Flanagan 2006). This can mean that it’s often easier to assess something other than an academic standard than it is knowledge of the standard itself. It may not tell you what you want it to, but it’s telling you something.

4. Student self-assessment is tricky, but a key matter of understanding. According to Ross & Rolheiser, “Students who are taught self-evaluation skills are more likely to persist on difficult tasks, be more confident about their ability, and take greater responsibility for their work.”  (Ross & Rolheiser 2001)

5. Assessments can obscure more than they reveal. If the assessment is precisely aligned to a given standard, and that standard isn’t properly understood by both the teacher and assessment designer, and there isn’t a common language between students, teacher, assessment designer, and curriculum developers about content and its implications, there is significant “noise” in data that can mislead those wishing to use the data, and disrupt any effort towards data-based instruction.

6. You see understanding or achievement or career and college-readiness; students see grades and performance (e.g., a lack or abundance of failure) (Atkinson 1964).

7. Self-evaluation and self-grading are different. “Self-evaluation” does not mean that the students determine the grades for their assignments and courses instead of the teacher. In this paper self-evaluation refers to the understanding and application of explicit criteria to one’s own work and behavior for the purpose of judging if one has met specified goals (Andrade 2006).

8. If it’s not married to curriculum and learning models, it’s just another assignment. That is, if the data gleaned from the assessment isn’t used immediately to substantively revise planned instruction, it’s at best practice, and at worst, extra work for the teacher and student. If assessment, curriculum, and learning models don’t “talk” to one one another, there is slack in the chain.

9. As with rigor, “high” is a relative term. High expectations–if personalized and attainable–can promote persistence in students (Brophy 2004). Overly simple assessments to boost “confidence” are temporary. The psychology of assessment is as critical as the pedagogy and content implications.

10. Designing assessment that has diverse measures of success that “speak” to the student is critical to meaningful assessment. Students are often motivated to avoid failure rather than achieve success (Atkinson 1964).

11. In a perfect world, we’d ask not “How you do on the test,” but “How’d the test do on you?” That is, we’d ask how accurately the test illuminated exactly what we do and don’t understand rather than smile or frown at our “performance.” Put another way, it can be argued that an equally important function of an assessment is to identify what a student does understand. If it doesn’t, the test failed, not the student.

12. The classroom isn’t “the real world.” It’s easy to say invoke “the real world” when discussing grading and assessements (e.g., “If a law school student doesn’t study for the Bar and fail, they don’t get to become lawyers. The same applied to you in this classroom, as I am preparing you for the real world.”

13. Most teachers worth their salt can already guess the range of student performance they can expect before they even give the assessment. Therefore, it makes sense to design curriculum and instruction to adjust to student performance on-the-fly without Herculean effort by the teacher. If you don’t have a plan for the assessment data before you give the assessment, you’re already behind. 

14. Every assessment is flawed; the more frequent, student-centered, and “non-confrontational,” the better. It’s tempting to overvalue each assessment as some kind of measuring stick of human potential. At best, it’s an imperfect snapshot.

15. It’s tempting to take assessment results personal; it’s not. The less personal you take the assessment, the more analytical you’ll allow yourself to be.

16. Confirmation bias within assessment is easy to fall for–looking for data to support what you already suspect. Force yourself to see it the other way.

17. Assessment doesn’t have to mean “test.” All student work has a world of “data” to offer. How much you gain depends on what you’re looking for.

4 Strategies To Streamline Your Curriculum

Educators often wonder how they are going to meet all the demands of Common Core. One important point is that the standards require more depth and less breadth. Meeting these standards can be done by doing less, not more. In this post, we’ll look at three effective ways to do this: integrating curriculum, combining test prep into daily learning, and cutting topics.

First, let’s look at what the standards mean by more “depth.” For example, fifth graders need to “conduct short research projects that use several sources to build knowledge through investigation of different aspects of a topic.” This means that students need to be able to find and read with comprehension several sources on the same topic. They need to evaluate those sources for relevance and validity. Finally, the learners need to demonstrate that they have built knowledge about different aspects of the topic.

This is just one example of how the Common Core requires teachers and students to spend extended amounts of time on one topic. The problem is there simply is not enough time to spend days or weeks studying one topic unless changes are made. In our recent book, Less is More in Elementary School: Strategies for Thriving in a High-Stakes Environment, we suggest a variety of ways to find the time required for the in-depth teaching and learning needed for the Common Core Standards. Here, we’ll focus on three major strategies; integrating, combining, and cutting.

If we want to prepare students for the Common Core and lifelong learning, we can’t keep adding to the curriculum. One response is to integrate, combine, and cut. Less is more!

Less Is More: 4 Strategies For A More Efficient Curriculum

1. Integrate subjects

This effectively meets the Common Core and saves time by removing duplication in different subject areas. For example, students may learn to compare and contrast two habitats and then apply similar skills to literature or social studies with the guidance of the teacher. With integrated curriculum, elementary school teachers no longer need to carve out specific times for reading, social studies, and science.

If students are studying a theme, such as cooperation, they may read realistic fiction about cooperation one week and social studies texts about historical or current examples of cooperation the next week during the same time of day. Integrated curriculum also is a good way of finding time to read more non-fiction texts as required by the Common Core Standards and assessments.

(See Less is More in Elementary School for examples of integrated units with appropriate Common Core Standard C)

2. Combine Assessment Prep Into Daily Learning

Although students need some practice with the format of high-stakes tests, we believe that most assessment should be integrated with daily learning to save time and improve student achievement. Extensive benchmark testinging and test-preparation materials take time away from the in-depth learning required by the Common Core.

Assessment that is part of instruction allows teachers to provide effective feedback to students during the learning process so they can improve their work. For example, the Common Core math standards call for students to “construct viable arguments and critique the reasoning of others.”

As students are working on math problems, the teacher can circulate through the room asking them to explain their reasoning. Thus, the teacher can informally assess the progress of the students and provide immediate feedback to encourage improvement. Students may do fewer, problems but their reasoning skills should improve.

3. Use Power Standards

According to edglossary.org, Power Standards refer to “a subset of learning standards that educators have determined to be the highest priority or most important for students to learn.” The big idea? They explain that “it is often impossible for teachers to cover every academic standard over the course of a school year, given the depth and breadth of state learning standards. Power standards, therefore, are the prioritized academic expectations that educators determine to be the most critical and essential for students to learn…”

Educators and authors Larry Ainsworth and Douglas Reeves “propose three criteria for selecting power standards:

  • Endurance: Standards that focus on knowledge and skills that will be relevant throughout a student’s lifetime (such as learning how to read or how to interpret a map).
  • Leverage: Standards that focus on knowledge and skills used in multiple academic disciplines (such as writing grammatically and persuasively or interpreting and analyzing data).
  • Essentiality: Standards that focus on the knowledge and skills necessary for students to succeed in the next grade level or the next sequential course in an academic subject (such as understanding algebraic functions before taking geometry or calculus, which require the use of algebra).”

In short, establishing Power Standards, and then designing curriculum and instruction around this critical and anchoring content, can be a powerful–and learned-centered–strategy to create a sense of priority in what you teach, and what students learn.

Note, the 40/40/40 Rule can be useful here as well.

4. Revisit Old Work With New Thinking

If we want to prepare students for the Common Core and lifelong learning, we can’t keep adding to the curriculum. We need to integrate, combine, and cut. Less is more. What’s most important in your curriculum?

Cut topics: Even with the above measures, educators probably need to make cuts, which can be tough to do since we all have our favorite activities or topics. Perhaps the easiest type of cutting to do is in quantity; fewer math problems or fewer integrated units. For example, students need to be given opportunities to revise and edit their writing and do peer editing. This may mean that they write fewer texts, but they will have a better understanding of the writing process.

Teaching Art, Or Teaching To Think Like An Artist?

 

These ideas are familiar to modern educators, as they represent a kind of polar opposite to the standardized and industrialized form learning has taken on–or is at least perceived to have taken on in the current era of accountability. It was an interesting then to see these questions lead into a broader one: Should we teach art, or teach students to think like an artist? Should we teach history, or teach students to think like an historian?

While this implies that you can’t do one without the other, if we assume for a moment that can’t do both and have to choose, where would our priority be? We’ve asked a similar question before: Are You Teaching Content, Or Teaching Thought? The video below from Cindy Foley frames that idea through the “content area” of art, asking the question, “Should we be teaching art, or teaching students to think like artists?”

In our estimation, this is one of the key questions facing education–a connected learning endeavor–in the 21st century as we shift from teaching content to teaching habits, process, and thinking. Foley identifies three habits artists consistently demonstrate.

3 Habits Artists Demonstrate

1. Comfort with Ambiguity

2. Idea Generation

3. Transdisciplinary Research

You can hear Foley explain the concept more fully in the TED Talk below. The idea extends way beyond art, right to the core of education as an icon, process, and tool of social improvement and wisdom.

“What is the purpose and value of Art education in the 21st Century? Foley makes the case the Art’s critical value is to develop learners that think like Artists which means learners who are creative, curious, that seek questions, develop ideas, and play. For that to happen society will need to stop the pervasive, problematic and cliché messaging that implies that creativity is somehow defined as artistic skill. This shift in perception will give educators the courage to teach for creativity, by focusing on three critical habits that artist employ, 1. Comfort with Ambiguity, 2. Idea Generation, and 3. Transdisciplinary Research. This change can make way for Center’s for Creativity in our schools and museums where ideas are king and curiosity reigns.

Cindy Meyers Foley is the Executive Assistant Director and Director of Learning and Experience at the Columbus Museum of Art. Foley worked to reimagine the CMA as a 21st century institution that is transformative, active, and participatory. An institution that impacts the health and growth of the community by cultivating, celebrating and championing creativity. Foley envisioned and led the charge to open the 18,000 sq. ft. Center for Creativity in 2011. In 2013, the museum received the National Medal for Museums in recognition of this work. Foley guest edited and wrote chapters for Intentionality and the Twenty-First-Century Museum, for the summer 2014 Journal of Museum Education.

In 2012, Foley received the Greater Columbus Arts Council Community Arts Partnership award for Arts Educator. She was a keynote speaker for the OAEA (Ohio Art Education Association) 2012 Conference. She is on the Faculty of Harvard University’s Future of Learning Summer Institute.

Foley is a graduate of the University of Kentucky and The Ohio State University. Prior to joining the Museum, she was with the Institute of Contemporary Art at the Maine College of Art, the Portland Museum of Art, and the Wexner Center for the Arts.”