Monday, January 25, 2016

Innovating with TED-Ed #EdChat #TEDEdChat

This past year, I've been very lucky to be part of an wonderful group of educators put together by TED-Ed. The TED-Ed Innovative Educator cohort has been an amazing experience for me. I haven't written much about it, but I wanted to change that today.

As part of the cohort, we needed to come up with an innovative project. This could involve students, staff, or both. I was really stressed over this. I always just come up with ideas and see how they go. Creating something that is supposed to be innovative from the start was just something foreign to me. I was not sure where to go with the project, but I knew who to turn to.

My cohort and the leaders from TED-Ed making this group happen this year have been amazing. They have been supported of me through my stress of choosing a project and trying to get it going. They have also been an amazing support group for when school and life get crazy and I needed a place to share. As a group, I feel like we have really come together and helped each other when we needed it. I've met some awesome people and have made some great connections. We are spread out all over the world, but our love of teaching knows no borders.

When I finally needed to come up with something, I decided to give my students the chance to be innovative in my innovative project. I was taking over a new class that needed some tweaking. The one tweak I brought to the table was to give my students one day of the week to work on an innovative solution to a problem. The first quarter focused on solving a problem they encountered in their daily life and the second quarter revolved around a problem in the community or the world. It was a but like 20 Time and Shark Tank combined.

I had students design their own earbud wraps so they would not get tangled in their pockets. I had a student create a knee brace for a specific condition she was dealing with in sports. I had another student spend their time trying to design a submersible that would clean the ocean and run on the garbage it collected. Two students worked on an app that would connect people who wanted to adopt dogs to shelters in their area. The list goes on from there. These students were highly engaged in their work and really loved what they were doing. One project is even going to be piloted in our district after the student presented their bathroom pass scanning creation that runs on Raspberry Pi! It was great to see students working on things that they created on their own. Their excitement has led me to get my hands dirty with different tools as well. It has been a great experience for teachers and students.

Now that the semester is over, I can reflect on the the project and I can see all of the places I would change the implementation. To some, this might cause extreme amounts of anxiety. It will probably cause me some, but I know that my TIEs will be there by my side to help me in any way they can.

Interested in applying to be an Innovative Educator? There is some time left! Sign up closes January 29th. Fill out the application here.

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