July 4, 2014 / 8:22PM

Television and Education: Shows that Inspire Classroom Lessons - Recap

When I was selected to present at the ISTE 2014 Opening Ignite, I was shocked. I, Amanda, was selected to present alongside very talented, educated, Twitter famous individuals? This had to be a mistake. I mean, I had 42 followers at the time… and even my biography that I submitted to the committee said something along the lines of, “I’m totally new at this.” It was a disaster waiting to happen, but then, a miracle happened —

I did it.

And, it was one of the coolest experiences of my life!

Below you will find a transcript of my presentation… in case you missed anything. If you have any questions, you can find message me on Twitter (@futuretvwriter) or shoot an email to futuretvwriter@gmail.com.

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Most people don’t think television and education go together, and maybe they don’t. At least not in a typical peanut butter and jelly kind of way. But, let’s not think typical. Typical is boring, and we don’t have time for boring. So, let’s open our minds, get creative, and have some fun!

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Try taking the number of weeks in your semester or year and counting down – 24-style. Incorporate weekly missions that fit with your curriculum. Accomplish a mission? Unlock classroom rewards. End weeks off on a cliffhanger to build excitement for Monday.

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Dog with a Blog showcases personification, but it also promotes blogging. But, why have your students write a blog as themselves when they can be a famous historical figure or animal? It will require some research, but it’s a change of pace from a standard essay!

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The show Numb3rs featured some great examples of using math in real-life, so maybe students will stop asking “when am I ever going to use this?!” Navigate to the Google Docs document on the PowerPoint for episode-based classroom activities.
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The Tonight Show with Jimmy Fallon features hashtag Wednesday. This fun approach can easily be added to a classroom. Just create thought-provoking hashtags like #whatmakesushuman and have your students add their voice to the conversation.

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As a student, I walked into class one day and saw crime scene tape up and a dead body outlined on the floor. It was like an episode of CSI. It turned out to be an assignment where we analyzed evidence, only to discover our victim died of a virus… which, ironically, was our next lesson.
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Psych and The Mentalist are all about fake psychics, so give your students a third eye and use augmented reality to make them feel like they have psychic powers too. Using an AR app, such as Layar, hang pictures around the room that reveal clues to solve a complex problem.

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Phineas and Ferb is about brothers who conduct insane experiments all summer. Not all experiments can be duplicated, but there are science concepts and lessons explored in many episodes. Books are also available with experiment ideas that may excite the younger scientist.

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Hannibal features strong symbolism examples, which are perfect for the older student to examine. Have them dive into social media to see what others are saying and how they interpret the symbolism. Then, discuss why these symbols are interpreted differently by different people.

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How I Met Your Mother provides a unique way of storytelling… it’s a love story in reverse. Encourage student to write their own reverse stories. How I won first place? How I aced the test? Students can use digital storytelling apps to create and share their final story.

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What Would You Do is a question asked in this series and is great for sociology classes. For a college class experiment, I once dressed in a robe and grandma’s wig and sang around campus. The campus police thought I escaped from a mental hospital. Awkward, maybe, but a valuable learning experience.

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SpongeBob SquarePants is famous for jellyfishing – a hobby similar to butterfly catching. For a fun classroom activity, teachers can create paper jellyfish with questions. Catch a question? Answer it. To blow the jellyfish around, check out the Hasbro game, “Elefun.”

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Quantum Leap your students into a period of time. Perfect for history classes. Use videos, pictures, and sounds to send your students to a different time, and then use GoSoapBox to have your students respond with where they think they’re at.
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Much like the news, have your students virtually bring in an interviewee and interview them on the spot via Skype. It’s a lot more fun than using a tape recorder, which not to sound too much like an AT&T commercial, but back in my day is what we had to do!
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Games like Jeopardy are usually used in classrooms, but they start to phase out in older grades. I once created my own game in which I developed pictures of pig organs. The photo guy thinks I’m crazy, but I aced the test. Moral of the story: Stop the embarrassment. Play Jeopardy in class.

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Shows like the Americans and Game of Thrones are two more hit shows but how historically accurate are they? Have your students do some research and put together a presentation with their findings. Who says pop culture and education don’t mix?

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What would your students say to next year’s students if they had a chance? Similar to Good Luck Charlie vlogs, try having students make their own vlogs that contain advice about how they succeeded in the class. Vlogs can be shown to next year students, preparing them for the school year.

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The Amazing Race is one of those reality shows that breaks the stereotype of horrible reality TV and can actually be educational. You can implement your own classroom Amazing Race or have your students design a project based on their favorite destination using apps like TouchCast or Doceri.

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iCarly set a standard for tech-savvy kids. Students can create web shows around a specific topic or design a “pear phone” and place items inside of it that best represent them. And, of course, if students are sleepy, you can always wake them up with some “Random Dancing.”

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Well, that’s all the time I have. I’d like to leave you off with a quote by Nicholas Johnson, former FCC commissioner and professor at the University of Iowa who once said, “All television is educational television. The question is: what is it teaching?”

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iste2014

Text post
June 30, 2013 / 8:57PM

I’ve seen this skit. It features Aaron Goodwin (he comes at the end). I’m beyond jealous of the talent these guys have!

aaron goodwinshortfilmzz123

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June 30, 2013 / 8:08PM

I haven’t posted in awhile, but Friday night I did one of those ghost tour things. It wasn’t a hunt. We just visited a couple of haunted locations in Chicago and got to take pictures. Well, we caught some stuff. And, I thought it was awesome. I wish I had the vortex picture to show you. Somebody else in the tour took it. Clear as day was an evil face in smoke and a neon streak of light. If it ever turns up on the Internet, I share it here. In the meantime, here are a couple things taken at the Hull House in Chicago:

1.) The less awesome and may not be paranormal blue orb:
Photo: Giant blue orb? Or rain? Lol. I have an identical photo where there's nothing. Dun. Dun. Dun! Lol.

2.) And, the more awesome shadow man (friend took this one):

3.) And, the still trying to figure out what’s going on in this picture, but it definitely looks like chidren’s faces that may or may not be the reflection of something else. Still cool, though. Plus, the white thing and the thing next to it. I wish I took more pictures in that spot. Grr…

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ghosthull house

Text post
October 15, 2012 / 7:31PM 2 notes

Sometimes… I get to do awesome things!

First pic: My bro and I chilling against the Ivy at Wrigley Field.

Second pic: Tony Campana (Cubs outfielder) and I posing in the Cubs’ clubhouse.

wrigley fieldchicago cubscubstony campanachicago

Photoset post
October 15, 2012 / 1:06PM

gacandwwechick asked i got a Dungeonwear shirt and i got it on Saturday and i just said that i loved it and that it was the most comfortable t-shirt i've worn

Dude, that’s awesome… not just that you got retweeted, but that the shirt is so comfy. I don’t own any DW yet. :(

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October 15, 2012 / 1:03PM

gacandwwechick asked so would i and i got a retweet from Zak last night and i still can't believe it

haha, awesome! What’d you say that got retweeted?

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September 8, 2012 / 1:32AM 79 notes

I love this man.

(Source: normalpeoplescare-me)

Photoset post
September 7, 2012 / 8:43AM

gacandwwechick asked i'm one of those fans i've seen it so many times now that when i hear that song on the radio or around my house i actually grin like a fool and automatically start imitating Zak from the vlog

Haha! I hear you. How can you not? His impression is burned into our brains! I wish Zak, Nick, and Aaron sang more love songs, lol.

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September 6, 2012 / 8:03PM

gacandwwechick asked i think that is one of those vlogs that you can depend on to always cheer you up whenever you need it. i mean it's one that as soon as you start it you start smiling and don't stop even after it's over

Definitely agree! It should be bookmarked on every computer of every GA fan having a bad day. Zak kills me every time. 

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