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WHAT WORKS IN EDUCATION The George Lucas Educational Foundation

Best of Edutopia: Picks for 2013

Best of Edutopia: Picks for 2013

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In December, the staff at Edutopia likes to reflect and share their favorite blogs, videos, and articles on the site. While we're sharing though, we also want to hear from you!

What on Edutopia has inspired and helped YOU? What did you read or see that changed how you approach education?

Together we'll pick the Best of Edutopia 2013!

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Amy Erin Borovoy (aka VideoAmy)'s picture
Amy Erin Borovoy (aka VideoAmy)
Senior Manager of Video Programming, Production, & Curation at Edutopia
Staff

I absolutely loved the "Remake Your Class" project -- three videos and two blog posts with teacher tips on simple ways to transform your classroom for a better learning environment. Have a look for some ideas about how to remake *your* space.

8 Tips and Tricks to Redesign Your Classroom (blog post with videos embedded)
http://www.edutopia.org/blog/8-tips-redesign-your-classroom-david-bill

We had great fun making these videos, and they were among our most popular of the year -- clearly the story resonated for lots of teachers, who are doing their best with overcrowded and underfunded classrooms!

Cindy Johanson's picture
Cindy Johanson
executive director @ Edutopia and mom of 2 kids
Staff

When I reflect back on 2013 and Edutopia, there are many, many highlights. Most of all, I'm simply inspired by the growing number of people who share their experiences and tips from the frontlines of improving education. Whether it's a blog, video, or comment from the community, it reinforces why Edutopia exists. I also have the benefit of knowing what goes on behind the screen and the hard work of our Edutopia team to innovate, iterate and improve the experience for all. So, for me, it's the sum of the parts that stand out as I reflect on 2013 and Edutopia!

Jenny's picture
Jenny
Creative Director, Edutopia

My favorites this year were videos.

The Remake Your Class video series--improving the learning environment is relevant from preschool all the way to college. It's also a fantastic opportunity for fun and collaboration between teachers, administrators, students, parents, and community members.
http://www.edutopia.org/blog/8-tips-redesign-your-classroom-david-bill

Social and Emotional Learning video--this video does a great job of introducing the importance of supportive relationships, learning environments, and helping students to build skills they need to be successful learners.
http://www.edutopia.org/keys-social-emotional-learning-video

Becky Fisher's picture
Becky Fisher
Education Consultant

My Favorites:

Remake Your Class: 6 Steps to Get Started - I'm with Amy on this one. It was my favorite of the year. Remaking your class was fun to watch and hopefully inspired a few teachers to try something new!
http://www.edutopia.org/blog/steps-to-redesign-your-classroom-melanie-kahl

Design Thinking: Creative Ways to Solve Problems - Another blog post I thoroughly enjoyed reading. It wasn't just applicable to teaching, but also to thinking about every day problems.
http://www.edutopia.org/design-challenge

Don't Forget to Play! - An important message for everyone - not just teachers and students :)
http://www.edutopia.org/blog/dont-forget-to-play-andrew-miller

Melissa's picture
Melissa
Research Associate at Edutopia
Staff

I couldn't pick just one favorite for the year so I cheated a little and picked two! One of my favorite series' on our site is the "Big Thinkers" series. This year we had a video featuring Constance Steinkuehler:

http://www.edutopia.org/constance-steinkuehler-interest-driven-learning-...

At first glance, she discusses the use of video games in school. But it is about so much more than that. She discusses the use of interest based learning and gender in education. It seems so important to me to really tap into student's interests to engage them in learning. My favorite quote from this is "In schools for example, we have the luxury of ignoring interest, because we can simply say 'well, you must' rather than 'here's why it's inherently compelling' " to me, this speaks volumes about the way we think of school today, and how it might need to change.

My second pick is related. It is a blog by Andrew Miller titled "Zombie-Based Learning- 'Braaaaaaains!'"

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/zombie-based-learning-andrew-miller

Miller discusses using zombies as a means to get kids interested in learning about different subjects. He even provides thoughts on examples of how you might structure lessons around zombies for four different subjects! I feel like we need to allow more of this creativity in schools. Both for teachers and their students! Who said zombies and video games can't be educational??

Alan K. Lipton's picture
Alan K. Lipton
Blog Editor, Edutopia
Blogger
Staff

I was happy to see some of the more inspiring, moving and eloquent user comments become blogposts in their own right. Among the most powerful was Robert Ingram's "Standing Up to Bullies."

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/standing-up-to-bullies-robert-ingram

I also liked the moments when regular ( and serious) bloggers Jose Vilson, Mark Phillips and Todd Finley waxed humorous:

http://www.edutopia.org/blog/teachers-learn-from-wu-tang-clan-jose-vilson
http://www.edutopia.org/blog/rabbit-hole-of-ed-reform-mark-phillips
http://www.edutopia.org/blog/overcoming-classroom-stage-fright-todd-finley

There's no question that education is serious business, but from time to time we can have a little fun with the conversation!

Clara Galan's picture
Clara Galan
Former Social Media Marketing Assistant for Edutopia

As a strong advocate for social-emotional learning and educating the whole child, I'd like to recommend some of my favorite picks from the last year:

Empathy: The Most Important Back-to-School Supply: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/empathy-back-to-school-supply-homa-tavangar
- This post demonstrates strategies to encourage and foster empathy in your classroom. Empathy is a very important skill that is often overlooked in academics.

Helping Students with Identity Secrets: http://www.edutopia.org/blog/helping-students-with-identity-secrets-rich...
- Curwin provides an excellent analysis of child and adolescent identities and advice on how to help students feel comfortable with themselves.

Video: The 5 Keys to Successful Social and Emotional Learning: http://www.edutopia.org/keys-social-emotional-learning-video
-A very helpful video to implement social and emotional learning in your own school.

Looking forward to more inspiring content as we enter 2014!

Karen's picture
Karen
ESE Language Arts 6, 7, 8

Chris Biffle and Whole Brain Teaching has changed my classroom! He has a Youtube channel, a webcast, and a website. His materials are free and his enthusiasm is infections.

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