Superheroes & Sci-Fi: Why I Chose STEMJanuary 16, 2024
Monthly Newsletter – February 2024February 9, 2024
As educators, we continually seek fresh perspectives and innovative strategies to enhance our teaching, especially in the ever-evolving realm of STEM education. I’ve found TED Talks to be a valuable resource for inspiration and professional growth. In this blog post, I’m excited to share with you three STEM-focused TED Talks that have particularly resonated with me this year. Each talk offers insightful approaches and practical ideas that can be seamlessly integrated into our classrooms. These talks challenge our thinking and provide us with tools to engage and inspire our students in new and meaningful ways. Join me in exploring these talks, which are sure to enrich our teaching practices and spark lively discussions in our educational communities.
Speaker: Peter Weinstock
In our first featured TED Talk, we explore the transformative power of lifelike rehearsal in medical simulation, as presented by an ICU doctor from Boston Children’s Hospital. The speaker introduces us to a groundbreaking technology that has revolutionized patient care across all ages, significantly improving outcomes with no side effects. This technology, he reveals, is the practice of medical simulation – a method that allows doctors and nurses to rehearse complex medical procedures on lifelike replicas of patients. The talk explores the compelling case of a newborn with a congenital diaphragmatic hernia, illustrating the critical role of simulation in saving lives. He draws parallels with other high-stakes industries like nuclear power and aviation, where simulation is a standard practice. He emphasizes how this approach is especially crucial in medicine, where rare but life-threatening conditions demand a level of preparedness that only repetitive, realistic practice can provide.
This TED Talk not only highlights the importance of innovative training methods in healthcare but also offers educators a powerful example of how simulation can be used in STEM education to enhance learning and preparedness. Furthermore, this talk serves as an excellent professional development resource for teachers, introducing them to potential new technologies, and it’s a great tool to share with students, showcasing cutting-edge STEM breakthroughs and inspiring future innovation.
Speaker: Caitlin Holman
The second TED Talk we highlight focuses on the intersection of video gaming and education, revealing how gaming strategies can be applied to enhance learning experiences. Caitlin Holman, a game designer and developer of educational applications, discusses how video games engage players through intrinsic motivation, a concept often lacking in traditional educational systems. By comparing the structure and motivational elements of games to those in school settings, the talk emphasizes the importance of autonomy, competency, and a sense of belonging in fostering intrinsic motivation. She explores how these elements can be integrated into educational settings to create more engaging and effective learning environments. This approach challenges the conventional reliance on extrinsic motivators like grades and suggests a shift towards a more personalized, choice-driven model of education.
As educators, we can draw inspiration from this talk to rethink our classroom strategies, considering how gameful learning can be incorporated to enhance student engagement and motivation. Additionally, this talk serves as an intriguing resource to share with students, helping them understand the power of intrinsic motivation and the potential for applying gaming strategies to their own learning.
Speaker: Kevin H. Gary
In the third TED Talk, Kevin H. Gary, an educator and parent, tackles the often-overlooked issue of boredom in educational settings. He shares a personal story about his son’s first experience of school, using it as a springboard to discuss the pervasive nature of boredom among students. The talk sheds light on how boredom not only diminishes interest and focus but also leads to misbehavior and disengagement. However, it’s not just a classroom concern; boredom extends its influence into various aspects of life, including negative behaviors and addictions. The speaker proposes a nuanced understanding of boredom, urging us to question our automatic responses and to see it as an opportunity for self-reflection rather than a mere nuisance.
This TED Talk is an excellent resource for educators aiming to foster a more reflective and proactive approach to boredom in their students. By encouraging students to be more aware of their reactions to boredom, to question their automatic judgments, and to find constructive ways to engage with their learning environment, educators can help students take responsibility for their own learning and well-being. This approach can lead to more dynamic, engaging classrooms where students are better equipped to handle the challenges of boredom and become active participants in their educational journey.
As we wrap up, I hope these TED Talks have sparked some new ideas for you, just as they did for me. From the innovative use of medical simulation to game-inspired learning strategies and even a fresh take on tackling boredom, each talk offers a little nugget of wisdom that we can bring into our classrooms. But beyond the content, these talks remind us of the simple yet powerful professional development opportunities that lie in watching and discussing them. They’re not only a fun and easy way to keep our teaching practices fresh and exciting but also provide fantastic teachable moments for our students. It’s about connecting with our students, showing them real-world applications of what they’re learning, and maybe, just maybe, sparking a curiosity that goes beyond the curriculum.