What If Classes were Structured like TED Talks?

Welcome back to the start of a new year Aussie educators! I expect most of you have now been at school for at least a day if not the majority of the week. Full of optimism? Full of hope? If you are a graduate, full of fear? Anticipation? Or full of something else…

I thought I’d kick off the year with a little bit of plagiarism, well not exactly. The link below was an interesting post I came across today and it got me thinking. Is this what we would actually want?

What If Classes were Structured like TED Talks?.

Whilst I believe there is some merit to the notion of presenting classrooms like TEDtalks I don’t think this blogger has extended the idea enough to comprehend the possibilities! or the problems. I doubt I will extend it that much further but here are a few things that popped into my mind as I read through:

– TEDtalks are generally well planned, researched, thought through, impactful, timed, inspirational, emotional, delivered with ‘punch’, and genuinely interesting.

– TEDtalks are concise around key points and although many are story-like in structure they usually have some very catchy messages or phrases that stick with you.

– TEDtalks are for the most part professionally done.

– TEDtalks are 18 minutes in length.

So… if every lesson we had with students contained 18 minutes of ‘teacher talk’ that had the same quality of preparation and delivery as Sir Ken Robinson (not that his actual presenting is all that exciting, it’s his key messages to educators that gets us tingling all over) then we would have the rest of the lesson to give students control over their learning! Engage in genuine inquiry, explore their own resources, discuss and collaborate over the key messages and findings of our presentation, actively seek out alternative sources of knowledge, and who knows… maybe create their own TEDtalk in response to a challenge we might set them as a demonstration of learning. So if every lesson was a TEDtalk then we’d be finished with the ‘teaching’ much sooner and then the students could get stuck into the ‘learning’.

Could you do it? Would you do it?

Good luck this year in what ever your learning adventures may bring!

Is blogging at school ok?

Should schools be footing the bill for our online time?

Sure! Why not?!… Heck no! Wasting taxpayers money!Hand on keyboard

Well is it really that simple? If I write a blog post during school hours, which I would say many people do, then who’s paying for my time and who’s benefitting from my blogging?

I suppose this reaches beyond just the blogosphere into most online personal social networking spaces. As technology in the classrooms becomes ubiquitous we are redefining our ‘average day’ to embed more and more creation and consumption of knowledge online. But is it all for work purposes? Should it be? Are online environments replacing the conversational chatter of the staff room, cause they most definitely aren’t all educational.

A couple of years ago the IT manager at my school sent out a usage stats list for Facebook’s website ranked in order of the number of hours it was opened on the end users computer… 3 of the top ten in that list were teaching staff (including number 1!). This may have been legitimate use for educational purposes… or it may not, who’s to know?

Should schools be monitoring this sort of behaviour and getting staff to justify their virtual timetables or should they embrace the collaboration that may stem from our meanderings through cyberspace? Tell me what you think…