Thursday, April 14, 2011

Learning AND Remembering!

There are people who can remember all sorts of things that they did as a student, but I'm not one of them. My classroom years survive only as scattered bits of faded memories. Oh sure, I learned things. The fact that I can string together a coherent sentence is evidence of that, but most of the time I spent in the classroom remains extremely unremarkable.

However, I do have moments that I clearly remember.

I remember presenting a report on the country of Chile to my 4th grade class--back in the day when "research" meant reading the entry in The World Book Encyclopedia. For a visual aid, I assembled little bags of corn, rice, and beans to illustrate some of the nation's crops, and I drew a map and colored a flag.

I also remember the modern dance routine my partner and I had to design in 8th grade gym class. (Our teacher was the choreographer for the high school musicals.) I still remember most of the moves, and I can't listen to Jim Croce's Time in a Bottle without cringing a bit while I mentally rehearse the steps. 

In 10th grade, we studied Greek mythology, and for one assignment, we had to pick a topic to research. I selected the theater and built a model to present to the class. I can still tell you about the skene (the backdrop--known today as the scenery) and chorus. 

During my junior year of high school, one of my English teachers encouraged me to enter a poetry contest. Although I don't remember my entry word for word, I do remember the gist of it.

I could cite other examples too, but I had to ask myself, "Why do I remember these things? What makes these things stand out from everything else?"

And then came the "Aha!" moment. All of them involve creating and presenting.

We live in a digital age that allows us to create blog posts (like this one) and share them with the world. We expect to create our own ringtones, playlists, videos, and photo albums...yet many online instructors are still stuck in the old classroom mode. How often do you encourage or even allow that creativity and presentation?

This video has been circling the education circuit for a few years, and it makes a similar point. When I reviewed it again, I couldn't help but marvel at the speed of digital change. For example, the video quotes the statistic that in 2006, 2.5 billion Google searches were conducted a month. That number seemed extremely low. My web research puts the numbers today closer to 88 billion a month. (

Learning can take many forms, but if we want our students to really remember, we should encourage their natural desire they have to create.

Do you have a similar story? Share it!

Copyright © Deborah A. Ayers - All rights reserved.

Friday, April 8, 2011

An education database confuses Nevada for Arizona!

I was Googling around this evening checking out Pima Medical Institute's search engine optimization when I came across the Education Database Online. Clicking through the site I found the silouette of the state of Nevada masquerading as Arizona.

This was probably the result of a
  1. coding error on the back end.
  2. geography challenged web designer.
Considering the location of the image in the table--my money is on "B."