TED.com As An Academic Resource Part 2

TED.com and TED Talks have been an incredibly valuable academic resource for me this school year. Here are the TED Talks that we have shown in our middle school Digital Literacy classes this year and why we chose them. (I co-teach Digital Literacy with Allendale Columbia School Librarian, Judy Van Alstyne.)

Hasan Elahi: FBI, here I am!

Courtesy of TED.com

“When Hasan Elahi’s name was added (by mistake) to the US government’s watch list, he fought the assault on his privacy by turning his life inside-out for all the world to see.”

Common Sense Media provides great materials for teachers and students about the concept of a digital footprint. Hasan Elahi’s talk fit in with the message we were trying to convey to the 8th grade.  I love how he shows another view of what a digital footprint could be and how you can have a say about what is out there about you. It’s also pretty entertaining!

Andrew Stanton: The clues to a great story

Courtesy of TED.com

“Andrew Stanton has made you laugh and cry. The writer behind the three “Toy Story” movies and the writer/director of “WALL-E,” he releases his new film, “John Carter,” in March.”

We used this talk to introduce the art of storytelling during an interdisciplinary unit with 8th grade English students. Andrew Stanton tells a good story and delivers a great talk.

**Warning** The beginning of this talk contains a “Not Safe For School” joke. After 1:10, it is safe for students. We edited that part out before we showed it.

Sir Ken Robinson: Do schools kill creativity?

Courtesy of TED.com

“Creativity expert Sir Ken Robinson challenges the way we’re educating our children. He champions a radical rethink of our school systems, to cultivate creativity and acknowledge multiple types of intelligence.”

I know that this TED talk is the most watched ever, but how many students have seen it? In my opinion we don’t include students enough in conversations about their education. What do students think when they hear Sir Ken Robinson’s talk? I included this talk as an option for the 8th graders as we were exploring project ideas. I wanted them to start thinking about their education and how they could start to look for some topics they would be interested in exploring.

Margaret Heffernan: Dare to disagree

Courtesy of TED.com

“The former CEO of five businesses, Margaret Heffernan explores the all-too-human thought patterns — like conflict avoidance and selective blindness — that lead managers and organizations astray.”

I love this talk because it gets right to the heart of improvement and learning. We asked students several times this year to give each other constructive feedback, and they are terrible at it. Everything they say to each other is nice and supportive, but not constructive. When someone does offer constructive feedback there is so much tension and defensiveness that nothing is gained. Constructive feedback is welcome on this topic.

How have you used TED.com in the classes you teach or at the businesses for which you work? What are your favorite talks and how have you used them?

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TED.com As An Academic Resource Part 1

TED.com and TED Talks have been an incredibly valuable academic resource for me this school year. Here are the TED Talks that we have shown in our middle school Digital Literacy classes this year and why we chose them. (I co-teach Digital Literacy with Allendale Columbia School Librarian, Judy Van Alstyne.)

Hackschooling makes me happy: Logan LaPlante at TEDxUniversityofNevada

Courtesy of TED.com

“When 13 year-old Logan LaPlante grows up, he wants to be happy and healthy. He discusses how hacking his education is helping him achieve this goal.”

I used this talk to introduce project ideas to the 8th grade. For the most part, they struggled with the concept of self-guided learning.

Adora Svitak: What adults can learn from kids

Courtesy of TED.com

“A prolific short story writer and blogger since age seven, Adora Svitak (now 12) speaks around the United States to adults and children as an advocate for literacy.”

I showed this talk to 6th graders to inspire them to “do” what they are passionate about. Too often we hear adults say things like “you aren’t old enough.” I want our students to know that they aren’t too young to affect change and make an impact.

Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie: The danger of a single story

Courtesy of TED.com

“Inspired by Nigerian history and tragedies all but forgotten by recent generations of westerners, Chimamanda Ngozi Adichie’s novels and stories are jewels in the crown of diasporan literature.”

We were working with the 6th grade on an interdisciplinary project with University of Rochester, Professor of Geophysics, Dr. Cynthia J. Ebinger, which involved trying to understand another culture. I love the powerful message in this talk. It relates directly to one of our school initiatives, the “Global IQ.”

TED Ed – Lessons Worth Sharing

TED-Ed’s commitment to creating lessons worth sharing is an extension of TED’s mission of spreading great ideas. Within the growing TED-Ed video library, you will find carefully curated educational videos, many of which represent collaborations between talented educators and animators nominated through the TED-Ed platform. This platform also allows users to take any useful educational video, not just TED’s, and easily create a customized lesson around the video. Users can distribute the lessons, publicly or privately, and track their impact on the world, a class, or an individual student.

To learn more about TED Ed, got to http://ed.ted.com/about

How have you used TED.com in the classes you teach or at the businesses for which you work? What are your favorite talks and how have you used them?

Tech Tuesday 3.12.13

Allendale Columbia School, Librarian, Judy Van Alstyne (@bibliopheme) presented a Tech Tuesday faculty workshop today on NoodleTools.

Faculty were encouraged to attend if they…

  • teach students in grades 5 – 12
  • ever require a works cited page
  • ever require a research project
  • ever require a project using photographs or other images (other than what the students take themselves)

We experimented with a slightly “flipped” workshop. Faculty were asked to follow two screencasts so that all would be ready to jump into NoodleTools at 3:30:

Flipped Classroom overview video:

“How to log in to NoodleTools for the first time – for Faculty” –  http://www.screenr.com/hdG7
You’ll need to know your ID and default password (sent in a separate e-mail)

“How to create a ‘drop box’ for students to share their work with you” –  http://www.screenr.com/0dG7

NoodleTools provides scaffolding for creating thorough and accurate works cited pages. The structure promotes good research habits and the many “Show Me” tutorials and various prompts encourage smart resource analysis and the ethical use of information. There is also the option to use virtual notecards, outlines, and sync it with Google Drive.

Many classes and their teachers had already been introduced to NoodleTools this year as the kick-off to various research assignments. This workshop focused on more than the navigation of NoodleTools, however, with emphasis on the instructional support provided by NoodleTools. Especially wonderful are the “Show Me” slideshows on types of resources which NoodleTools offers free for anyone to use.

Tutorials on types of resources (NoodleTools “Show Me”)


Attendees represented all three divisions (from grades 2 – 12!), several departments, and even administration. Everyone seemed to agree that NoodleTools is robust and accessible enough that you almost want to write a research paper again!

A “Smart” addition to my PLN

I am constantly looking for new and better ways to filter information in my PLN (Personal Learning Network). The other day, while browsing my PLN, a blog post by Tom Whitby caught my eye. Tom mentioned a tool called SmartBrief and how it’s part of his daily routine. I had never heard of SmartBrief until I read his post. SmartBrief sends you customized daily emails containing links to articles from a wide range of industries based on your interests. SmartBrief was very easy to setup and use. The mobile app nicely organizes your briefs for easy reading online or offline. Check it out and let me know what you think. Thanks Tom!

Here are some images from the mobile app.