Educator Studio: Classroom Inspiration
Back at the end of April my team at Full Sail University and the awesome creative talent at Red Square Agency launched a site that flat out made me proud. Educator Studio is just about the coolest website in the world for teachers, visually, but it’s more than a pretty face. We spent a lot of time thinking about how to best serve our audience for this site, classroom educators. We wanted to create a place where teachers could get more than ideas for lesson plans, but rather inspiration from each other. Education is under a lot of pressure right now, being tugged by budget shortfalls in one direction and the limitless possibilities that technology provides in the other. What Educator Studio does is showcase how teachers out there are changing education on their own terms.
Lesson plans form the core of the site, all user submitted. What makes Educator Studio different from other lesson plan sites is the usage of the RILS methodology to transform a simple lesson into an opportunity to teach students multiple skills. Rena Hanaway, one of our star instructors of Full Sail University’s Education Media Design & Technology Masters of Science program pioneered the RILS format and helps us integrate it into the DNA of Educator Studio. Her students upload the RILS they work on as projects in their coursework, but teachers not in the program can still use the format to think deeper about their lessons and discover how small changes they make in how their plans are written can make a big difference in what their students get out of their class work.
As a parent, I love this approach to teaching. I want my children to attend school and learn how to communicate ideas with others and solve problems with critical thinking. I want them to train to be thinkers and creators, not automatons who can remember a set of facts repeated to them for 9 weeks. The RILS on Educator Studio are just overflowing with this approach.
We also have a great blog on the site, maintained by our Community Coordinator, Christine Harper. She keeps an eye out for great lessons uploaded by our members and puts together articles on a variety of topics such as how to leverage technology and modern teaching methods to engage today’s students. Christine is also curating an extensive list of resources for teachers, including articles on apps, website and other tools with tutorials on how to make the most of them. As any parent with a 4 year old that can work a Harmony remote will tell you, kids are digital natives. Some people fear that, but I say it should be embraced! If teachers are equipped to use technology in the classroom to the advantage of the curriculum, then students will be highly engaged and retain more. I think we’ll be pleasantly surprised with how much our kids learn as the teaching world adapts to meet the students’ expectations.
I’m happy to be a part of a project that’s doing its doing a part in moving education towards a better place. I love being able to put my stamp on something that has the potential to make a big difference, I’ll put my blood, sweat and tears into a project like this any day.