Thursday, November 29, 2012

Is it legal? How crowd sourcing pop culture clips is not a shady concept

Probably the most common feedback that I get when asking people what they think about my idea is: "Cool! But what about copyright?"

This has been my question for over 2 years now. What about copyright? Check out this video below, and maybe like me you will be a little surprised at what you learn. 

Under Fair Use, I believe The Relevant Classroom concept would work with the law just fine. If teachers and students are sharing and viewing clips with clear connections and context to what is being taught, then there really shouldn't be any problem with it. Looking at the idea from the filmmaker's position, would I really be that upset by millions of kids watching 1-3 minute clips of my movies? No! If anything, kids would be more likely to discover films they were unaware of, and may even spend money on the product down the line of time. But someone might ask, "Yes, but isn't there something wrong with a mass database of Hollywood clips that is open to the public?" I admit that initially I asked this question too. However, when you think about it - who is going to be searching this education site for mere entertainment? And if they are, won't they end up learning anyway? Thus the educational benefit will always outweigh the cost of the films themselves.

Movie clips, pop songs, comics, and trending culture in general is so rich for educational use. This database thing I have been pushing around as the potential to do so much good! It is free, it is legal, and it is relevant.

Monday, November 12, 2012

Another Iteration

I decided to dig in and revamp my database idea on The Relevant Classroom site, and now I feel that it is one significant step closer to being more accessible and ready for feedback and contribution. 

The challenges are still all over the place, including Google Sites being buggy (the joys of using free software!) and lacking in content. However, hopefully when you go to the site it is clearer as to what I am trying to do, and how anyone can participate. 

Probably the most often asked question I hear is something like: "So what is your end objective for this thing?" I don't know if I want to start a business (see the evil corporate looking picture on the left), or if I see this concept as being the foundations of a non-profit consulting group. Perhaps it could be an idea I formalize and then sell to TED Ed? They are doing something very similar, but without the emphasis on pop culture. 

Another option I have thought about, is developing this enough to where I could do some research studies by implementing the database in a classroom (or two) and then extracting some qualitative data about the student and teacher experience. This is a rich option because I could utilize expert critiques (from my professors) as well as see how the idea works in a real classroom

Tuesday, November 6, 2012

Motivation and Student Value

I have been meaning to write an amazing commentary about these quotes, but realized I just kept putting it off. So, here are the excerpts from a chapter in The Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences that taps into some themes I am really excited about. 

"There are several ways in which students can value subject matter. Intrinsic value is influenced by interest for the topic and enjoyment experienced when performing the task. Instrumental value refers to students' perceptions of how tasks are related to their future goals and everyday life. Attainment value refers to the personal importance that students place on accomplishing the task."

"Drawing connections to student's personal lives, embedding the introduction of new concepts and skills within meaningful tasks, and emphasizing the instrumental value of mastering a skill or doing well in a subject matter enhances value . . . A second way to enhance value is by incorporating topics that students find interesting."

"Teachers can support autonomy by allowing students to make decisions about topics, selection and planning of activities, and artifact development. When teacher practices are autonomy-supportive, students respond with increased interest and willingly approach challenges."

"One instructional challenge is to determine what students find meaningful."

"Descriptions of how students engage in initial experiences with inquiry suggest that another motivational challenge is that students are often interested in surface features of the investigation, not in the underlying content. Students often get excited about what they are seeing and doing during inquiry. However, students who lack the skills cited above can appear interested an excited about what they are doing, even though this does not necessarily translate into cognitive engagement with the content."

"Beyond the classroom, collaboration with other students, experts, and neighborhood members enhances student motivation. Students are excited when they have the chance to communicate with other students outside of the classroom via the World Wide Web. Opportunities for sharing work with their peers and community members beyond the classroom enhance feelings of ownership and value."

"To meet the instructional challenges of motivating students and promoting cognitive engagement  teachers must be motivated and invested in improving their own knowledge and enactment skills."

"We argue that the field (of Learning Sciences) would profit from making motivation an explicit concern."

Kempler, Toni M., and Joseph S. Krajcik. "Motivation and Cognitive Engagement in Learning Environments." The Cambridge Handbook of the Learning Sciences. By Phyllis C. Blumenfeld. Cambridge: Cambridge UP, 2006. 475-86. Print.