Can videos make you teacher of the year? Paul Andersen’s Montana science videos

November 25, 2012

There’s a great story here — maybe more than one.

For “Origin of Species Day,” November 24, the anniversary of the 1859 publication of Charles Darwin’s most famous book, Paul Andersen sent out this Tweet:

Who is Paul Andersen?  He’s Montana’s Teacher of the Year (for what year, I don’t know).  He teaches science in Bozeman, at Bozeman High.

Plus, he’s produced 224 videos, most of them on science issues.  They’re short, they’re informative, and they work.  Salman Khan, not yet — but here’s one more piece of the great big puzzle, how do we marry education and technology.

Where does he offer continuing education for teachers on how to produce videos?  Why isn’t Texas paying big money to him to get him to do that, to teach Texans how to use YouTube to teach?

Andersen’s on the right path, and he’s running hard.  Teachers, are you paying attention?

(By the way, I’d quibble a bit on his history — I think Darwin did a fair deal of experimentation on evolution, breeding pigeons for a decade, among other things.  But Andersen’s use of stickleback evolution is very good; the little fishies have been observed to speciate in the wild, and then to duplicate that speciation in captivity, thereby confirming what was observed out in the lakes.  Thank you sticklebacks!)

Very quickly this gets into serious territory.

Look, I’m an out of the loop teacher in Dallas, Texas — and for all its money and size and importance, Texas is mostly a cultural and educational backwater.   It’s not that there aren’t great people in education here, or no great resources — we are shackled to an ancient political system that puts more value on fealty to not-quite-superordinate ideas than on cutting edge education, or mass educational attainment.  There is a powerful anti-intellectual stream in Texas politics that believes a hobbled education system will not threaten the political, social or cultural order.  Too many Texans take great solace in that, covertly or overtly.

As a nation, we are engaged in a series of great education experiments, using our children as testing subjects, as guinea pigs.  How does video fit into making education work better?

Here we’ve got Paul Andersen and his science videos.

Despite my grousing about his not being in Texas, he is active in national circles where the serious questions get asked about how to use video, and other technologies.

A YouTube Education Summit on October 18 and 19 got Andersen out of Montana, where Andersen ran into C. G. P. Grey, another guy who uses video.

Grey responded with this ode to a “digital Aristotle“:

Links and other information Grey offered:

Some thoughts on teachers, students and the Future of Education.
The book kid me is holding in the video is The Way Things Work. If there’s a bookish child in your life, you should get them a copy: http://goo.gl/QdreH

Also I don’t think that the idea of Digital Aristotle is sci-fi, but if you *do* want to read the sci-fi version, I highly recommend The Diamond Age: http://goo.gl/uvbx6

Thanks to YouTube EDU for bringing me out: http://www.youtube.com/education

And Angela for arranging the whole show: http://www.youtube.com/aresearchbug

And Jessica for her amazing note artwork: http://www.youtube.com/seppyca

Full credits and more info at: http://cgpgrey.squarespace.com/blog/digital-aristotle-thoughts-on-the-future-…

CGPGrey T-Shirts available from DFTBA: http://dftba.com/product/10m/CGP-Grey-Logo-Shirt

Twitter: http://twitter.com/#!/cgpgrey

Google+: http://plus.google.com/115415241633901418932/posts

Facebook: http://www.facebook.com/pages/Greys-Blog/193301110697381

Andersen replied, questioning how well a digital Aristotle can work, since it takes Aristotle out of the equation:

Links Andersen promised:

Paul Andersen reflects on Digital Aristotle, his trip to the YouTube Edu summit, and the future of education

Digital Aristotle: Thoughts on the Future of Education:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=7vsCAM17O-M

60 Minutes episode on Sal Khan:
http://www.cbsnews.com/video/watch/?id=7401696n

Classroom Game Design at TEDxBozeman:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4qlYGX0H6Ec

Blended Learning Cycle:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=-apJDi7cx9o

Game on, ladies and gentlemen.  Which one is closer to being right? 

There you go, from evolution, to evolution of teaching and education.  What’s the selection tool for quality education?  Which species of learning will survive to reproduce?

Your thoughts in comments, please.

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