Ah, the silver screen: we all love to escape into other times, other worlds, and other peoples' stories. While millions tune in to the Oscars with bated breath and bowls full of popcorn, I know there are some educators out there who are wondering how they can drum up that kind of excitement and engagement in their classroom. Gone are the days when all the students fell asleep as soon as the lights went dim -- movies and videos can be incredibly powerful teaching tools, if you know how to use them well.
Ahhhh, February. The shortest, bleakest, and often chilliest month (well, at least for those in the northern hemisphere). The holidays are well behind us, but spring seems a long way off. So what teaching and learning inspiration can we pull from the flurries, the gray skies, the cold?
Sometimes you just need a short, powerful video to start a meeting, an event, or a presentation -- something that really makes everyone sit up straight and start listening. It's the beginning of a brand new year, in the dark and cold of winter, and it seems like the perfect time to offer up some meeting opener videos that will leave you feeling energized and excited. And since they say you only have a few moments to get your audience's attention, almost all of these videos are under five minutes.
Everyone is talking about Abraham Lincoln. Steven Spielberg's blockbuster movie Lincoln took theaters by storm, and Edutopia staffers who saw the film thought it could be classroom fodder for years to come. A few enterprising organizations produced study guides for the film. There's never been a better time to drum up good resources to teach about our 16th president -- and the tumultuous times in which he led the country.
The end of the year is certainly a time for reflection, but it's also ripe for predictions for the year to come, and the chatter on social media about what's next for education is deafening. Blended learning! 1:1 devices! Flipped classrooms! Gamification! Design thinking! And each new idea that comes along generates a cadre of proselytizers and naysayers. While experienced educators know there's no silver bullet, one must admit it feels like a sea change is in the air.
I think it's fair to say that Twitter can no longer be dismissed as a trivial passing fad. Though I had dabbled with a personal account, my entire opinion changed when I started my @VideoAmy account and dove in to the conversations educators were engaged in. While some people certainly do tweet about what they're having for breakfast, teachers, administrators, and educational organizations use Twitter in a whole different way -- making smart use of those 140 characters to share resources, wisdom, and inspiration.
This Thanksgiving, I considered expressing my thankfulness for great teachers -- but I've got a Teacher Appreciation playlist already that says it all. Instead, I'd like to express some love for a few of the things that I am thankful for, and share some stories of generosity and kindness.
How often do you stop to think about color? We take it for granted, but it's ubiquitous in our everyday lives, and whether you're looking at it through the lens of art, science, or philosophy, color can be evocative. Full disclosure: I'm the mother of a toddler, and we're talking about color a lot in my house right now, as my daughter learns to identify and describe the world around her.