TEDx Comes to the Hilltowns of Western MA

TEDxShelburneFalls: Oct 12th & 13th, 2013
Ideas Worth Spreading

What place are you from? What defines a place? What is the history and nature of the places you most love and most dislike? What can you do to make the places you live, work and play better? Attend 2013 TEDxShelburneFalls conference, themed A Sense of Place, on Saturday October 12, 2013 to talk about and hear how your neighbors are answering these questions.

This weekend, October 12th & 13th, thirteen community members share their thoughts and experiences surrounding the development of a sense of place at TEDxShelburneFalls.

Including two sessions of talks on Saturday, the event features speakers who have had a wide variety of life experiences and whose understanding of the importance of a sense of place takes on many different personas.

The internationally known TED talks, which stands for “Technology, Entertainment, and Design,”  is a democratically run organization which allows for their platform to be utilized by communities across the country in regional TEDx talks, and makes their videos available for free on the internet (They are translated into more than 90 languages.).

In allowing for this, TEDx broadens the scope of their library of talks and works to engage diverse groups of people in international conversation.

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Flipping the Classroom: Western MA Teacher Offers Support Through Online Videos

Education Reform, One Video at a Time

Hollington Lee of Hatfield, MA writes:

You never know what crazy thing listening to someone else’s ideas will inspire. In my case, as a public high school teacher, it inspired me to produce close to 60 short videos (yes, 60!) of MCAS math practice questions for 3rd and 4th graders.

A fellow teacher and friend asked me what could have possessed me, a science teacher, to do this. The short answer is not what but who. Salman Khan, founder of the nonprofit online Khan Academy “school” inspired me. It all started with his presentation on TED.com.

If you’re not a subscriber to TED.com’s weekly email newsletter, you should be. TED.com is a site that features video presentations – mostly less than 20 minutes long – from original thinkers around the world on subjects ranging from education, nutrition, science and technology to music, poetry, art and social activism. It’s a place to expand your thinking about… well, everything.

I received my weekly email from TED announcing newly posted presentations, and one talk by a guy named Salman Khan was entitled: “Let’s use video to reinvent education.” As a 14-year science teacher who’s been thinking a lot lately about how I teach – and whether it’s really the best way to reach my students – I was intrigued.

I watched the video, then I went to khanacademy.org and all I could say was WOW! Here’s his story in brief: After earning degrees from MIT and Harvard, Sal was working as a hedge fund manager. He began tutoring his cousins in math, first in person and then long distance. To make his efforts easier, he ended up putting his lessons on YouTube, after which he received two surprises. The first was that his cousins preferred interacting with the YouTube version of him because they could stop him, replay or fast-forward him, without Sal looking over their shoulders to ask if they “got it.” The second surprise was that other people around the world were finding his lessons and sending him thank you notes.

Khan Academy is truly impressive – the scope of lessons, the exercise and progress tracking software (for math), and the fact that it’s all FREE! At this point you should watch the talk. It’s just 20 minutes long and I think you’ll see what the excitement is all about:

The whole thing really made sense to me. His delivery, his method, his vision. I came away from his lecture inspired – to the point of action. Here was something I could do to make my teaching not just different, but BETTER and my students’ understanding GREATER.

I wanted to change the teaching in my Biology and Human Anatomy classes to a more Khan-style approach and use Khan-style videos (he calls it “flipping the classroom” and it’s a subject in itself). What I needed to start with, though, as a practice, was something more concrete, with specific correct answers, and a finite set of questions… Read the rest of this entry »

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