Sunday, October 13, 2013

Blog Post #8

A Collaborative Assignment: 21st Century Learning and Communication Tools

Ted Talks Education By Eric Merryman

I chose to talk about Ted Talks Education as a 21st century learning and communication tool. Ted Talks is a website filled with videos of professors and business professionals all around the world talking about different subjects that you can search from. These videos can be anywhere from being 3 minutes to 18 minutes long. Ted Talks Education can be found on their website and can be accessed on any computer all around the world and in many different languages. The website also has an app that can be downloaded on any smartphone or tablet device for an easy to use experience even when not at home, to catch up or to show off any video that may interest you. Not only Ted Talks Education videos can be found on personal computers, smartphones, and tablets, but many other devices as well thanks to all videos being uploaded onto youtube and a few even on services such as netflix. All videos give a date and location of when and where the speech took place, giving context of why the video may of been made and to see if it may be relevant to where you are today or not.

Ted Talks Education has professionals talking about subjects they are familiar with such as technology, business, entertainment, design, science, global issues, and many others. The speakers tend to keep the message short and to the point with plenty of humor and visual aids to keep people entertained and have the videos easy to watch. With each video not being too long, you may find yourself looking for another short video to watch, learning something new every video you click on. These videos aren’t just to educate, but also to invoke questions and thought. Certain videos pose a question and do not give a clear answer, these are meant to give people ideas about a certain subject or to bring awareness to a particular matter.

In my classroom, I plan to teach high school mathematics such as Algebra, and Ted Talks Education has a lot of neat videos on all sorts of math, including the history of certain types of math. Terry Moore, a speaker in this Ted Talks video, speaks about the history of Algebra and specifically the history of the variable “x” and how it came about, in a humorous way. The history of anything can be entertaining with the right speaker and if I cannot come across to some of my students as such, I can direct them to these short videos they can watch at home, and give some context in what they are learning about. Context is very important in when trying to understand something, which goes for mathematics as well. With Ted Talks Education videos being so easily accessible, entertaining, educational, wide ranging, and easy to use, it would be hard to think of a reason why not to use such a valuable tool in the 21st century.

man speaking about ted talks education

The Teaching Channel by Cameron Hall

The Teaching Channel is a website filled with videos, Common Core resources and lesson plans for teachers. The videos are for each and every subject, grade and topic and have different time frames from 1 minute to around 20 minutes. The videos give an example of a teacher in his or her classroom addressing the topic at hand. The videos range from addressing different topics like assessment and behavior to teaching specific content like fractions or punctuation. The videos have a brief description of the topic, teacher and where this is located. The Teaching Channel can be accessed from different devices, such as a smartphone, laptop or computer, or ipad/tablet.

The Teaching Channel has different categories for topics, subjects and age groups you can pick from. The teachers in the videos talk about how they have made their classroom a modern more technology based classroom and give examples of how others can do so as well. The videos also address the common core standards and give ways to incorporate them into your everyday classroom activities. What I found interesting is that these examples are in all of the topics such as behavior, assessment, and class culture not just the ones relating to specific concepts like fractions, exponents or grammar.

In my classroom I plan to teach middle school Math and English. Specifically for math, I think the Teaching Channel would be a great tool to use. With Common Core standards becoming the main point in education, collaborative groups in the classroom are a must. In one of the Teaching Channel videos, Lauren Hobbs talks about how she groups her students and why it is important. She says she groups her students sometimes based on interests, grades, projects, and scores. She says that in working with different people each time gives them a better understanding of working with other people, reflect on their own learning and talk within a classroom setting. Collaborative groups can be fun and a different way to learn for all age groups but I have to know how to group the students so that it is enjoyable for them, but also efficient and effective in accomplishing work.

The Teaching Channel videos give a lot of examples and insight to things other teachers have tried in their classroom. Because it is so easily accessible and useful in our own planning, I think it would be a great tool in a 21st century classroom.

the teaching channel emblem

SAS Curriculum Pathway by Ronald Griffin

Twenty first century learning and communication tools can help foster a better educational experience in the classroom. So how does one find them? One easy and fast way would be to simply conduct a quick internet search. Another way is to acquire the help of teachers who have experience with 21st century learning and communication tools. This assignment is the perfect example of tapping into the resources of an experienced teacher. Dr. Strange gave a great list of 21st century learning and communication tools. I think this highlights the importance of PLN. The bigger one’s network is the more resources they have to use.

The 21st century learning tool I would like to talk about is SAS Curriculum Pathways. SAS Curriculum Pathways is a great online resource for both teachers and students. It provides educational material in five major areas; English Language Arts, Mathematics, Science, Social Studies and Spanish. What makes this tool even more useful is the resources are all standard based making it easy to integrate Common Core. Another amazing quality SAS Curriculum Pathways brings to the table is being free. Free is always good, and it can help alleviate any financial concerns teachers and students may have.

So now that we have the ground work covered on SAS Curriculum Pathways, lets see how one might use it. I am going into science, so I will use that subject area as an example. Lets say I wanted to get lab ideas for the way planets moved in our solar system. I would go onto the SAS Curriculum Pathways website (link above) and click on the Classroom Use link on the left side. This would direct me to a page with the many resources including a search engine, a standards link, plan books and even “Tips and Tricks” on content. Next, I would click on the science link and do a search of “planets moving”. Within the results an interactive lab is displayed about planetary motion. Using this resource made finding information on my science lab extremely easy. Ultimately, SAS Curriculum Pathways is a great 21st century tool that offers standard and subject specific resources designed to deepen critical thinking in students and strengthen the educational arsenal of teachers.

sas emblem


  1. Ronald,

    This comment is pertaining to your part of the collaborative assignment, SAS Curriculum Pathway. I very much agree with you when you say 21st century learning and communication tools can help students in the classroom. I really like the SAS Curriculum Pathways tool you choose to talk about. I have actually heard many teachers talk about it, and the way they use it. I just wish SAS would incorporate Physical Education in their tools. I would love some of these famous "tips and tricks" SAS put out there for other fields in the schools. Great Post!

  2. TED Talks would be great, especially in high school. It could be used to reinforce topics you are already teaching in the classroom.

    The teaching channel is a resource that can be used in the classroom for many purposes. I have seen Elementary School teachers use different videos and ideas from this site in their class.

    SAS Curriculum Pathways would be a good resource when planning engaging lessons. Always be on the lookout for ways to incorporate technology into these lesson plans.

    When doing collaborative assignments make sure to have your portion as the first one on your blog.