Bonus 12 Days of Learning: Most Popular TED Talks

We have wrapped up our 12 Days of Learning series (shamefully stolen from Atomic Learning). As we head into the winter break, we thought we would leave you with some bonus viewing material for inspiration in the new year. The Most Popular TEDTalks, 25 of the most watched TED presentations.


Have a great holiday and winter break. We’ll see you in January.

Set Up Your Holiday Devices

Did you receive a shiny new gadget for the holidays? Are you giving someone a new device? Did your kids (or parents) get a new iPad or Surface and need your help to set it up? Have no idea where to start?

holidaydeviceFortunately, Atomic Learning has your back. They have short video tutorials to help you register and get started with your new toy including iPad, Surface, Kindle, Xbox One and PlayStation. They also have a section on online safety. Videos are short and to the point allowing you to get up and running quickly rather than fighting with your tech.

Log into Atomic Learning with your myLesley username and password. Then access the Holiday Devices tutorial series or search for “Holiday Devices.”


Create a Storyboard

Traditionally a storyboard is a sequence of drawings, often with dialogue or directions, that is used in filmmaking to visualize and organize a scene before it is filmed. Storyboards are very good for media projects where you need to prepare before you begin filming or creating content, but they can be used for lots of other things. You can essentially use a storyboard for anything where you need to move through a process or a collection of content or information.

Storyboards are great for designing a course or even just a learning activity. They allow you to work through a process step-by-step before your students have to do it. By creating a storyboard, you can see the big picture of your course and how everything connects together… or doesn’t. You ensure you haven’t overlooked potential obstacles as well as potential opportunities. Visualizing how all the pieces of a course or assignment work together can help you communicate it to your students making sure they too know how their learning is connected.

The video below walks through creating a journey map for getting a cup of coffee. Sounds simple, right? Even simple things can have many steps. How many did you think weren’t important to mention, but were actually quite critical to the end goal?

Journey Map from Stanford on Vimeo.

Backward Design

Backward Design is a method of designing courses that works backwards from the desired end goals of a course rather than beginning with a list of content and activities that will be taught.

To begin the backward design process, you identify what your students need to know and be able to do once they have completed the course. These are your course goals or outcomes.

Next, you identify what evidence you will need to determine if your students are meeting those goals. How will you know they are able to do the necessary tasks you identified as your course goals? Will a test truly tell you if they have mastered a skill or will they need to create a project?

Finally, you design the activities and coursework students will complete to develop the skills and knowledge and result in the evidence you need to assess them.

This backwards process ensures that your students have all the content and activities that they need to achieve the goals of the course. It also helps eliminate extra course content that may not work towards those goals creating a focused and streamlined course and allowing plenty of time for students to practices their new skills in ways that are meaningful and directly relate to the content.

The two videos below will provide you with a couple of examples of backwards design.


Visible Thinking

Visible Thinking is a research-based approach to making learning visible so that it can be reflected on and built on. It emphasizes three core practices: thinking routines, the documentation of student thinking and reflective professional practice. It is the difference between teaching skills and teaching students to think creatively and critically. The use of thinking routines encourages the development of habits of observing and analyzing situations and problems. Project Zero developed thinking routines as simple structures that help students work through complex information to make it accessible and then to reflect back on what they have learned.

View the video below for an introduction to Thinking Routines. Then review the tools to find one to begin using in your classes now.