“It is the supreme art of the teacher to awaken joy in creative expression and knowledge.” -Albert Einstein
“The mediocre teacher tells. The good teacher explains. The superior teacher demonstrates. The great teacher inspires.” -William Arthur Ward
On one side of the room, the interviewer’s palms begins to sweat. Although the young man has done his research, his guest is unpredictable. His guest has an agenda, his guest has a polarizing position on a very divisive issue, and his guest may lie or make up facts right there on the spot. The moderator will step aside once the debate commences, and the interviewer won’t be allowed any notes. He’s got an audience that he’s desperate to get the truth out to, and these next ten minutes — the interview of a lifetime — could be the last time he’s ever in this position if he fails to make his case.
Image credit: Stuart Franklin / Getty Images News.
His only saving grace? He’s got a team of researchers that have his back, and a tiny microphone in his ear where the researchers can communicate to him in real-time with fact-checks, figures, sources and more. After all, while he’s in the hot seat, his research team has prepared for this, too, and has a collection of information to supply him with if he gets in trouble, or if his guest tells a lie.
Image credit: smannion on Flickr / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0.
Only, this isn’t the most important 10 minutes of television you’ll see this year.
Image credit: © 2010 Valley News – Patrick T. Fallon.
This is a high school classroom, or at least it can be, if we equip it with Trapit Education.
This type of lesson — where you put the students into a real-life scenario that makes the lesson particularly relevant to them — is known as an active engagement lesson, and is demonstrably the most effective way to get students to learn and retain knowledge, even years later. This type of lesson isn’t static, either, but allows teachers and students to engage events and news stories in real-time, as they unfold. Thanks to the power of the internet and the near-instant availability of information, as well as the fact that public high schools now boast a student-to-computer ratio of 4-to-1, if a student can separate the signal-from-the-noise in the internet, they can perform real-time research on practically any topic. And there’s no better tool to create that topical stream of content than Trapit, available both on the web and on the latest device sweeping classrooms worldwide: the iPad.
Image credit: OAK Technology & Learning / OAK Tasmania.
For teachers, the difficulties in getting this into their classroom are threefold:
- Lessons like this take a long time to design and implement for a particular subject,
- Getting students to distinguish quality information and sources from misleading ones, despite its importance, is a difficult and time-consuming task to take on, and
- There is a huge push — at least in the USA — to design lessons that are compliant with the new Common Core State Standards Initiative (CCSSI), the standards that are replacing No Child Left Behind starting this current academic year. These new standards have been adopted by 45 states and the District of Columbia.
Image credit: Education week.
And I’m not going to lie: having taught for many years, the resources to address these points haven’t really ever been there to help teachers implement this. But here at Trapit, we’re committed to making all the available information in the world accessible — in real-time — to everyone.
So we’ve gone and made these resources ourselves, and are giving them away to the entire world, for free.
Without these tools, teachers are left to their own devices to sift through the gigantic, 66-page documents (plus supplements) that are the CCSSI, design their own active-engagment lesson plans, handouts and assignments from scratch, and incorporate digital learning technologies into their classroom.
On its own, Trapit is that ideal digital learning technology to empower students to create their own real-time news streams on any suitable classroom topic, from science to health to history and social sciences, to name just a few.
But we want to empower educators, and create as many helpful materials as we can to help them empower their students to meet the new standards with outstanding, active engagement lessons. To that end, we’ve created a complete package for educators, available in both PDF and MS Office 2010/2011 formats, that contains:
- A Package Introduction (PDF, MS Office): introducing Trapit Education to teachers and administrators,
- A Presentation for Educators (PDF, MS Office): a visual slideshow of Trapit’s tools and resources for the coming academic year,
- A Broad Content Outline (PDF, MS Office): a 2-page summary of the grades 9-12 CCSSI reading standards, and Trapit’s effectiveness at addressing them,
- Four Customizable Lesson Plans and Assignments: An individual Researcher lesson (PDF, MS Office) and assignment (PDF, MS Office), a collaborative News Program lesson (PDF, MS Office) and assignment (PDF, MS Office), an empowering Confirmation Bias lesson (PDF, MS Office) and assignment (PDF, MS Office), and a highly customizable General lesson (PDF, MS Office) and assignment (PDF, MS Office),
- And a Feedback Form (PDF, MS Office): to share experiences and suggestions for improvement with us.
So download the entire educational package we’ve created for free, in either PDF or MS Office 2010/2011 formats, for use anywhere in the entire world. Let’s give students and teachers complete and open access to the tools to achieve greatness, and encourage everyone to make the next school year amazing. If we can teach the generation on the precipice of adulthood today the value and utility of evaluating the quality of their information, the sources it comes from, and to recognize misleading rhetoric and logical fallacies, we may just help create the world we all wish we lived in.