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TED Talk Tuesday: Tim Brown urges designers to think big

Today’s #edchat discussion on Twitter was all about training kids as critical thinkers.  I believe that we are losing students as critical thinkers because in our current model of education, where we are standardizing education with tests, we teach kids that there is one correct answer to every question.  We limit their thinking to what we have already determined is an acceptable answer to the question.  This is extremely limiting.  Critical thinking means that we aren’t satisfied with the easy answer, we think about multiple solutions to the problem and even think of additional questions.  We approach a problem differently, more creatively. In today’s TED Talk, Tim Brown talks about his journey in design and his tendency to think about problems on a small scale, limiting himself to the obvious answers and a single solution.  Design wasn’t always this way, design used to be big. Design thinking solves problems and works to create world changing innovations. It seems to me that there is a strong correlation with what Tim refers to as Design Thinking and what we call critical thinking.  Roger Martin calls this integrative thinking, the ability to exploit opposing ideas and opposing constraints to create new solutions. Isn’t this what we are asking our students to do when we are looking for critical thinking?  What we really want students to do is think as designers.   When I watch children who haven’t yet entered the classroom, I notice a strong correlation between the way a child thinks and the way a designer thinks.  They are questioners, tinkerers, and are never satisfied with one solution. Design thinking could be our model for critical thinking in the classroom, but beyond that design thinking could be our solution to reform in education.  Exploiting opposing ideas and opposing constraints to create new solutions. Design is human centered, it starts with what humans need or might need. It means understanding culture and context.   From destination to active participation that is meaningful and productive. Value is added through collaborative experiences and not through monetary gains alone (think Twitter). In times of change we need new thinking and new ideas.  We are in the midst of massive change and we need to rethink what we accept as basic fundamentals. We need new choices because our current options are becoming obsolete.  We need to take a divergent approach and come up with something that hasn’t been done before.  What is the question we are trying to answer? What is the design brief for education. The first step is to start asking the right questions. (I think #edchat does an honorable job of this!)  What are the right questions?

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Death in Rome

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, Apply, Evaluate, History, Language Arts, Middle/High School, Secondary Elementary, Understand (describe, explain), Websites | Posted on 20-10-2010

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What it is: Death in Rome is an interactive history experience from the BBC.  The game takes place in the year 80AD where Tiberius Claudius Eutychus is found dead in his apartment.  Students must put their sleuth skills to work as they investigate clues scattered around the room to solve the mystery.  They have until dawn to crack the case.  In addition to clues in the room, students can “talk” to modern-day experts for additional information, and interrogate witnesses.

How to integrate Death in Rome into your curriculum: Death in Rome is a fantastic exercise in critical thinking, reasoning, and deduction.  Students will learn about ancient Rome, using clues to solve a mystery, and find out how engaging and interesting history can be.  Death in Rome would make a great partner activity.  Students can work together in teams to solve the crime.  When each team has cracked the case, they can share the strategy they used and the clues that tipped them off to the solution.  If you don’t have access to a lab setting, solve the case as a class using a projector or interactive whiteboard.  Students can take turns at the board acting as investigators and leading the investigation.  As the game progresses, those students at their seats can make note of the clues and offer conjectures as to what the clues reveal about the death.

Tips: Because of the subject matter, this game probably isn’t appropriate for students under the age of 10.  I recommend playing through the game yourself to decide if it is appropriate for your age group.  Older students will enjoy playing investigator!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Death in Rome in your classroom!

Comments (2)

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Shelly S Terrell, ktenkely, Beth O'Connor, Thomas Baker, Teresa Heithaus and others. Teresa Heithaus said: @ktenkely Thank-you for the link on Death in Rome. Has my wheels turning! http://bit.ly/9oM1KQ […]

[…] iLearn Technology suggest ways in which the game might be integrated into your teaching: “Death in Rome is a fantastic exercise in critical thinking, reasoning, and deduction.  Students will learn about ancient Rome, using clues to solve a mystery, and find out how engaging and interesting history can be.  Death in Rome would make a great partner activity.  Students can work together in teams to solve the crime.  When each team has cracked the case, they can share the strategy they used and the clues that tipped them off to the solution.  If you don’t have access to a lab setting, solve the case as a class using a projector or interactive whiteboard.  Students can take turns at the board acting as investigators and leading the investigation.  As the game progresses, those students at their seats can make note of the clues and offer conjectures as to what the clues reveal about the death.” […]

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