Social Media as Challenge Based Learning Prompt

Nov 21, 2011 by

“A democracy is nothing more than mob rule, where fifty-one percent of the people may take away the rights of the other forty-nine.” – Thomas Jefferson Half of our district received training from Apple this summer on the concept of Challenge Based Learning. While many educators are quickly overwhelmed by Apple’s take on the latest instructional trend of student-centered learning sweeping the United States, many teachers in my district understand the need to introduce more inquiry and real world based education into our curriculum. The problem is, many educators question how and where such necessary learning fits into an increasingly cramped and compacted curriculum, especially with more high-stakes testing coming down the road. Most, if not all educators, understand why we need to change education, we just have a difficult time seeing how we’re going to do it under ever-increasing mandates. My rather snarky reply is….”bring the real world into class...

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60 Second Civics

Nov 1, 2009 by

I’ve been hooked on a new podcast recently, and it’s one that I highly recommend, especially because it will take no more than 60 seconds of your time. After reformatting my mp3 player last month and clearing out my podcast subscriptions (something I do occasionally when enough of my regular podcasts get stale), I hopped onto Podcast Ready and hit up iTunes U to see what was new out there. Most of the content I find out there in the educational realm of podcasting is honestly either a bit amateurish to hold my attention for long, or is an overly-extended discussion that rambles on and off topic until the participants of the discussion eventually run out of steam before reaching an over-arching and/or reflective conclusion of the topic at hand. You very well may know of a host of excellent podcasts that are both highly polished, and engaging from...

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Civics Lessons Beyond the Election

Nov 4, 2008 by

I’ve seen the flurry of election related blog posts in the last two months, and I’ve read about some exciting ways to use the Internet in your classroom to teach election politics in an engaging way, but what happens after election day? When all of the campaign messages go off the air, the frenzy and energy that students bring into the classroom about the election is gone, and we rediscover what life was like 18 or so months ago, how do we find ways to carry on lessons about civics and democratic values beyond the hype of the election season? I’ll admit that I’ve used the election to prime my 4th graders for studying the Core Democratic Values, in hopes that their excitement will lead to a better understanding of what it means to take part in a democracy beyond simply voting. Since the CDVs seem to be taught...

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