One of the nuggets that stood out to me from PETE&C was a comment made during a presentation by the two EdTechInnovators, Ben Smith and Jared Mader (I listed Ben first because he was left off the poster at the conference). They were describing how technology can be seemless in the classroom, not something you teach, but something that just… is. And one thing that they mentioned (I think it was Ben), was that he doesn’t feel like he gives assignments anymore, he gives creative briefs.

For example, if the students are expected to learn about different types of waves, he wouldn’t ask them to write a report, or to create a powerpoint, or to make a collage. He would ask them to demonstrate their knowledge. If they chose to create a video podcast with original music and lyrics, then so be it. If fact, so much the better.

I love the idea. Make it clear what the goals are. Make it clear what you’ll be assessing them on. And then give them some freedom. I think they’d certainly appreciate having the freedom to do some self-expression, and who knows what they might learn in the process….. in addition to the actual curriculum they were supposed to learn. Bonus perk, you aren’t wasting extra in class time on this. It’s up to them.

One other example, so long as we’re on a musical kick. Check out this video Lisa Thumann shared on Twitter.

You may say, “But the video doesn’t truly demonstrate their knowledge! I mean, could a student really learn anything just from this YouTube video?” I’ll let the author of the video respond, by sharing a comment he left someone asking that very question on YouTube.

This video was a project to summarize trig formulas and to create a song parody. It’s not intended to be a a study guide.

Here’s a suggestion for doing well in trig. Read from your textbook; don’t go on youtube to get your answers.

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