Join Kevin Kelly for an in-depth discussion in this video Finding content for your class: Teachers as collage artists, part of Teaching with Technology.
- As you think about teaching with content or materials in digital formats keep in mind that you don't have to make all that content yourself. If the blank canvas intimidates you, you can start out as a collage artist. What exactly does that mean, for a teacher to be a collage artist? Well it means that you find that in curate collections of digital content related to topics from your class. As a side note, if you want to study some of the most famous collage artists check out the later work of Henri Matisse, what he called his Second Life after his cancer surgery.
Photo montages by Hanna Höch, or Paystubs by Jess Collins. When you think of where these famous artists spent their free time you might picture them at a sidewalk café sipping a beverage. Appropriately, we're going to start at a site called MERLOT. MERLOT stands for Multimedia Educational Resource for Learning and Online Teaching, trust me MERLOT is easier to remember. More importantly, MERLOT is a curated collection of mostly free and open online objects and services related to teaching, learning, and professional development.
Almost all of the MERLOT learning objects, lessons, and collections were created by teachers. After you go through the rest of this chapter you might make digital content for your class that you want to share with other teachers too, MERLOT is the place to do it. What's the best way to spend your first visit to the MERLOT site? If you need something specific and right away, I suggest searching the materials. If you have a little more time, and don't have something particular in mind then try browsing. The advanced search allows you to enter specific keywords like mitosis or sonnet.
The community menu allows you to pick a specific subject or discipline, like history or math. Do your students need practice with another language? You can find instructional materials in dozens of other languages from Abkhazian to Zuni. The material types range from simple animations to online course modules to simulations. The technical format menu includes media you might recognize like PDF, Word, Excel, PowerPoint, Podcast audio or video.
If you're not familiar with some of the other formats, Director, Flash, Shockwave, and Executable files allow learners to navigate self-contained environments. The audience menu allows you to filter the vast collection of materials, and find items for learners of all ages from grade school through grad school. Last but not least, you can find apps for specific devices like iPhones, iPads, or androids. Now I'll search for mitosis.
If you can't decide if specific materials will work for your class take a look at the peer reviews and comments by other instructors. If you use content from MERLOT for your class perhaps you'll come back and leave comments of your own. Now I'll click on the title of the item. Once you've found something useful download it or make a link to it for your students. Each item will have a copyright or a creative commons license which will tell you if there are limitations to how you can use it. Another well curated site for free high quality educational content is the Khan Academy.
This site has grown exponentially since its founder Sal Khan first created some online YouTube videos to tutor a young cousin in another city. Similar to MERLOT, you can search the Khan Academy site by subject, with a heavy emphasis on making math and science concepts easy to understand. However, the site is growing other subject areas like arts and humanities. The partner content includes lessons from museums, orchestras, universities, and even NASA. Also like MERLOT, the content is available in dozens of other languages.
Once you have an account you can create lessons for your students, include practice exercises, try out the student experience, and monitor their progress. Now I'll go to the profile. Students can earn badges as evidence of achievement as they go. While these two sites are two of the best places to find quality open content for your class, they are only two. Universities such as MIT, Yale, Harvard, and Open University United Kingdom offer free online course materials.
Third party sites like Open Education Database and Open Culture list hundreds of free online courses and resources from around the world. Some instructors also like to use content from MOOCs or Massive Open Online Courses by EdX, Coursera and Udacity. Before reviewing the next movie take a minute to identify the most important factors for you when you consider using content someone else created. How well does the content relate to the learning outcomes for your course? What content formats do you want students to use? Who created the content? Who else has used the content, and how? When was it created or last updated?
Author Kevin Kelly explains how learning outcomes can be adapted to support technology in the classroom, and guides educators through selecting the appropriate technology for their activity, module, or class. Then he shows how to apply technology in three key areas: finding, creating, and sharing content with students; facilitating classroom activities; and assessing learning inside the classroom or online.
- Including technology in your learning outcomes
- Applying Universal Design for Learning (UDL) principles
- Finding and creating content and instructional materials
- Enhancing lectures and presentations with technology
- Getting students involved
- Facilitating in-class activities
- Assessing learning
- Teaching effectively online