If you have not visited www.ted.com, or downloaded the app, please do so as soon as you can. The site is full of inspirational, though-provoking videos on a plethora of topics. Of course, it is always advisable to preview a video before you make it available to your students, but TED also includes interactive transcripts that you can skim for any objectionable content. Larry Ferlazzo had a great post recently on his blog that included various resources to accompany the TED talks, including a wiki in which teachers share their ideas for using it in the classroom.
Khan Academy is a revolutionary approach to teaching which advocates “Flipping the Classroom”. You can view the TED video below to learn about the humble beginnings of the Academy on YouTube, and the ambitious plans Mr. Khan now has for his free service. Basically, the site has hundreds of video lessons indexed in which Mr. Khan explains a variety of topics – mostly math and science related. If you have a G-mail or Facebook account, you can become a Coach. Your students, who would also have to register with one of these e-mail addresses, can complete exercises on the site at their own pace. As the Coach, you can monitor their progress using several different tools included in the registration portion of the site. Even if you don’t want to register, this is a fabulous resource for allowing students to learn at their own pace, or even for reteaching and reviewing topics.
Wonderopolis is a very engaging site that elementary school students could use to find out more about their interests. It features a Wonder of the Day, but also has a catalogue of “Wonders” listed by category. For example, under “Animals”, there is an article called, “Why do Cats Like Catnip?” This site encourages curiosity and independent research. It includes videos and fun facts that are sure to entertain and educate. There is a widget teachers could embed into their own sites and blogs.
Created by Kim Ball, a teacher of Gifted and Talented students in San Antonio’s North East Independent School District, The Producer’s Toolbox is a great resource for anyone, teacher or student, who is interested in creating multimedia presentations. It has links to video, audio, and research sites, as well as other fun extras.
I haven’t had a chance to try this one with students, yet, but it shows great promise. With videos of different math challenges and supporting resources for K-12, this site has great potential for allowing students to do some independent critical thinking.