Student Innovation Exposition 2013
May 5th, 2013 by Frank LaBanca, Ed.D.

I wanted to share a brief story from the 2013 Student Innovation Exposition.  The Expo brings together over 2,000 students, parents, teachers, judges, and community members.  I have the distinct pleasure of hosting the event.  Near the end of the day a teacher from an urban high school approached me and asked if she could speak to me privately for a minute.  A bit nervous, not knowing what she was going to ask, I agreed, and we moved to a quiet corner of the tradeshow hall.  She started telling me that her students had really not done a good job preparing for the event and that several of the students were identified as Special Education.  Then she started to cry.  She said the judges had been so supportive of her students, they gave them meaningful feedback, asked questions, and complimented them on their work, even though the students knew it wasn’t the best or of the highest quality.  The students felt VALUED.  And what can be more motivating than that.

If we really want students engaged, they must find value in the process.  That engagement undoubtedly leads to higher achievement.  As another teacher put it – the event is unique – it allows students to really be challenged by academic content, it encourages them to be extremely creative, they must collaborate and rely on each other, but most important, it allows them to be kids at the same time.

I couldn’t ask for a better assessment of the program.

Learning from video
May 18th, 2011 by Frank LaBanca, Ed.D.

My team and I have been talking lately about the notion of teaching videos. “Distance education” processes have been around for a long time, and have manifested in different ways. The challenge for the asynchronous delivery of content is that it be engaging. What does that mean? For a video, engagement might mean:

  • interactive with the viewer (making the viewer complete a task to be an active, instead of passive, learner)
  • interactive internally (when two or more people can talk and interact, it makes the video more engaging)
  • short (too long, tuned out)
  • specific (content should be very targeted)
  • robust (include appropriate visual stimuli)
  • seeing the speaker(s) (there’s something powerful about seeing a person talk and watching the specific content)

This video visually enhances some of this vision:

Get Engaged 2.0
Jan 26th, 2011 by Frank LaBanca, Ed.D.

My team at the Center for 21st Century Skills at Education Connection recently produced a video about student engagement, with a “Did You Know?” feel.  Check it out and share it with your friends, family, and colleagues!

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