May 23, 2008

Engaged Learning Revisited: Four videoclips for reflection....

Last October, I shared a couple of videos to highlight a discussion about engaged learning in a post on my TechPsych blog. Today, I received a thoughtful comment from a teacher who was moved by the videos. I thought that I'd recycle that post and add two other videos that provide related messages in ways that can not be conveyed effectively by words alone:

From the October TechPsych post:
Those who follow my blogs know that I usually focus on the positive- engaging technologies, exciting research, interesting websites, and successes of others worth sharing. Today I came across a video that got me thinking about the importance of engaged learning, a topic I've written about in the past.

Much effort is extended in our high schools to prepare students for the "real" learning that will take place in college. With the increased emphasis on testing, it seems like the moment a child enters kindergarten, one of the main goals is to prepare for learning the skills needed in the following grade. Every student must be "ready".

Ready for....this?

In today's digital world, traditional word-based instruction doesn't always result in experiences that engage the hearts and minds of young people.

The video below was created by students involved in the Digital Ethnography group at Kansas State University. Michael Wesch is the professor behind this group. At the beginning of the video, the camera slowly peers around an empty university lecture hall, with the the following quote superimposed over the scene:

"Today's child is bewildered when he enters the 19th century environment that still characterizes the educational establishment where information is scarce but ordered and structured by fragmented, classified patterns, subjects, and schedules." -Marshall McLuhan, 1967

Although the quote is now forty years old, the message communicated in this video is clear. Despite technology, things haven't really changed, as traditional methods of teaching tend to disengage rather than engage a good number of students.

After viewing the above video, watch this video, "When I grow up I want to be a teacher", a parody of a commercial.

For a broader perspective, take some time to reflect on the following video, originally created by Karl Fisch, and posted to his blog, the Fischbowl:
"A staff development blog for Arapahoe High School teachers exploring constructivism and 21st century learning skills. The opinions expressed here are the personal views of Karl Fisch - and various other teachers at Arapahoe - and do not (necessarily) reflect the views of Littleton Public Schools."


"DEBUNKING THE MYTHS OF THE THIRD WORLD" is Hans Rosling's presentation at TED 2006 is a great example of the use of presenting information supported by engaging information techniques. More videos are on the Gapminder website. This video is about 20 minutes long, but worth every second.

"With the drama and urgency of a sportscaster, Prof. Hans Rosling uses software from Gapminder debunks a few myths about the "developing" world. This global health visionary has discovered a powerful new way to communicate complex data about the world; his remarkable interactive graphs help deliver profound insights about global trends and will change forever the way you think about "us" and "them." Rosling is professor of international health at Sweden's Karolinska Institute, and founder of Gapminder, a nonprofit that brings vital global data to life."

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