Monday, July 28, 2003

Classroom Connect

My instructor gave us a link to this site, which promised some really cool interactive learning modules. It was supposed to allow "students to explore historic and scientific wonders. They virtually journey all over the globe to learn about the environment, ancient and modern cultures, and the stories that bring these cultures to life."

But when I went to check it out, I found that the entire site is brochureware for their new professional-development programs. It looks like they've seen the writing on the wall when it comes to educational web content aimed at kids -- nobody is willing to pay for it. So I'm guessing that they changed their business model to attack a new market. It would be fascinating to hear more about that transition and whether it's working or not.

The next link I checked was a profile of a fascinating project-based learning unit...and it looks like real learning. The teacher uses a research method called Big6, but when I tried to check out their product, the site was dead. Another educational content casualty? I found some basic info about the approach, though, and it looks really simple and solid.

Anyway, The Global Challenge seems like one of these ultimate learning experiences -- cross-displinary, student-focused, research-based, relevant problems requiring analysis and comparison, freedom to learn within a well-defined structure, flexible scheduling and authentic assessment. Compare that to four chapters in the textbook, a bunch of handouts and several hours of lecturing and you get a comical contrast. But it seems to take a super-teacher to make these things happen.

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