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TED Talk Tuesday: Tom Wujec Build a Tower, Build a Team

The group that consistently fails at the marshmallow task: recent graduates of business school. Business students are trained to find the single right plan and then execute it. The problem with this strategy is that they wait for the last minute to add their marshmallow to the top of the structure and when their plan fails, it is a crisis. The group that consistently succeeds at the marshmallow task: recent graduates of kindergarten. Kindergarten students start with a model and they build successive prototypes of their structure. They always keep their marshmallow on top. They have multiple opportunities to refine their structure until it is working. With each version of the prototype, students are getting instant feedback about what works and what doesn’t and they can adjust accordingly. Kids don’t spend time trying to be CEO of Spaghetti Inc. They aren’t jockeying for power, they are working together creatively and having fun. What stands out to me about the data that Tom Wujec shares, is not that architects and engineers build the best towers (as he says, we would expect that), but that kindergartners are not very far behind. This makes me wonder about what important things we are deprogramming kids to do as we send them through the education system. If the education system was really working, I would expect that adults would be able to construct the best, highest towers. I would expect that those with the most education would build the best towers. But as we see, this isn’t the case. In school we teach students that everything has a correct answer. Sometimes that answer means filling in the “c” on a bubble test, and sometimes it means getting your teacher to nod and say “that’s right”. School has become a game of “guess what the teacher is thinking”.  As a result, we have students who can come up with one correct solution to any problem. In the real world, we often need more than one right solution. Many times we need several solutions and creative thinking applied to the problem. Our most recent example of this is the BP oil spill. I can’t help but wonder what great solutions kindergartners would come up with that adults aren’t even considering because we have been deprogrammed to think that way. What does this mean for schools? It means that we need more opportunities for students to explore multiple solutions to a problem, it means that we offer kids the chance to discuss and stop asking the one answer questions all the time. Sometimes there is one correct answer, but in life that isn’t always the case. Students need to be given the chance to explore both options. (As a side note, it is interesting to me that when the incentive of a prize was offered, not one team had a standing structure. I am working my way through Daniel Pink’s book Drive right now and it mirrors what he says in the book.)

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Corkboard: Classroom Collaboration

Posted by admin | Posted in Analyze, collaboration, Create, Evaluate, Middle/High School, Primary Elementary, Secondary Elementary, Subject, Teacher Resources, Understand (describe, explain), web tools, Web2.0 | Posted on 30-12-2010

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What it is: Corkboard is a neat little collaboration tool that I learned about on Twitter yesterday thanks to @Grade1. Corkboard reminds me a lot of Wallwisher (which has been a little unreliable lately). Best of all, it is literally a one step set up process.  Just type in the web address: http://corboard.me and it automatically creates a unique url for your corkboard.  Click to add a sticky note on the corkboard. Give students or other teachers the unique url so that they can add a sticky note. Easy!  Sticky notes can be as big or small as you like.  Click and hold down on a sticky note to move it around the corkboard.

How to integrate Corkboard into the classroom: Corkboard provides an easy to use platform for students to brainstorm, collaborate, and share ideas. Students can use Corkboard to brainstorm ideas for writing, research, and collaborating on group projects. Ask students to add their thoughts to any conversation on history, literature, science, phonics, or vocabulary corkboard.  Students could practice spelling by typing out their spelling words along with a sentence or synonyms on sticky notes. Students can share a board to discuss a book they are reading together, predictions for a class science experiment, and to share what they are learning in any subject or lecture. You could create a new corkboard each week where you post homework, resources, to-do items, etc. for your students. Students can add sticky notes to the board about what they are learning throughout the week. These Corkboards can be added to a Weblist.me so that there is a record of the whole year.

Tips: Looking for other alternatives to Wallwisher? Check out: Edistorm or Stixy. Each has a little different features!

Please leave a comment and share how you are using Corkboard in your classroom.

Comments (19)

[…] This post was mentioned on Twitter by ktenkely and others. ktenkely said: Corkboard is a great alternative to Wallwisher for classroom collaboration http://bit.ly/eRpjxI So easy to use! Thanks to @Grade1 […]

Lino-it and Popplet are two other tools worth exploring. Lino-it has that “sticky note” look but like Wallwisher allows you to embed video and images. It also comes with some project management & collaboration features. Popplet has a different look and feel, allowing you to embed images, videos & even link to books on Amazon. You can also link different “popples” (the sticky note equivalent) together so you can use it as a mindmapping tool.

[…] to LifeHacker and iLearn Technology for the heads up on this webapp. Bookmark on Delicious Recommend on Facebook Share with Stumblers […]

[…] highly recommend checking out Corkboard Me by clicking here.Thanks to the award winning iLearn Technology for the tip!! Sphere: Related Content Posted by dkapuler at 12/31/2010 Labels: […]

Linoit.com is another great one. The cool thing about that too is that you can install a bookmarklet and do a Lino that you can quickly open up and use and put it away when you’re done. Great stuff!

I like to use sites like this as an alternative to the KWL. My students brainstorm questions they have about a topic. As we progress through the unit and discover answers, we add them to the original sticky note.

[…] Corkboard: Classroom Collaboration […]

Thanks Kelly for sharing Corkboard! WallWisher is so frustrating at times. It is nice to know about lots of alternatives! Happy New Year!

I agree, alternatives are always a good thing! Thanks Melissa!

Great idea for using Corkboard as a KWL brainstorming tool Aimee, thanks for sharing!

That is a great option thanks Rob!

I absolutely love learning new and innovative ideas and this has been one of my favorites. I use a lot of graphic organizers in my classroom and the KWL is one that I use often. The idea of corkboard would be more meaningful and a great motivator for students. I plan to incorporate this into my curriculum because it would be a great learning tool.

Hi, I just came across your blog and I must say I absolutely love it. So many great ideas I look forward to implementing in my own classroom. I especially enjoyed this Corkboard site. I’m currently teaching 6+1 traits in writing, and we’re working on the “Ideas” aspect, so this would be a great avenue for students to brainstorm ideas for a topic and share them with others. I look forward to using this! Thanks!

I’m really glad that I came across your blog. I think that I will definitely be using this technology in my classroom at some point. Corkboard seems like it could or would be the step before using Google Docs when students are working on a group project. Students within a group could be looking up different information that is contributing to the same project simultaneously and thus work much more efficiently. I could also have students jigsaw using Corkboard. I’m excited about trying out this new program.

Stacey, great ideas for using Corkboard in your class! Thank you so much for sharing your ideas with us!

The 6+1 traits of writing brings back memories! I was in school when they had just introduced the 6 :) I think you are right, Corkboard is a great place for students to brainstorm and share ideas. Thanks for the comment Nicole!

Good idea for a KWL exercise Kim! Thanks for sharing your ideas!

How do I get more than one sticky on the board?

You should be able to just double click somewhere else on the board to create another sticky note.

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