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CAMMY TORGENRUD

9-12 | Other | Student-created media projects

My Classroom Innovation

Knowing that students learn by teaching and feeling that textbook pricing has gotten out of hand, I challenged my AP Psychology class at York School this fall to write the first installments of our own original, documented psychology textbook. Our goal is to write a complete text in the form of a wiki (using the free site wikispaces.com) over the course of the next 3-4 years. The final product will be superior to works published and sold for nearly $100 each for several reasons: examples and illustrations will come from our school culture to help students absorb and recall concepts more effectively; we will update information and keep current with developments in this constantly expanding field; we will take advantage of multimedia opportunities, embedding video clips and podcasts as well as linking to detailed articles online (like those found at PBS.com); and best yet, students will gain mastery of specific areas of psychology by virtue of researching, evaluating and synthesizing course content. I know of no other teacher in this field who has taken on such an ambitious, long-term project.

How Students were Engaged

When asked whether they had truly benefited from this project, fall semester students answered with a resounding yes. With a high sense of autonomy and ownership, they took great pride in their work. Emphasizing collaborative learning, students in this first round teamed in pairs, and pairs from one chapter helped edit sections written by pairs from other chapters. Using unfamiliar technology did pose some challenges, but the quality of teamwork accelerated the learning curve. These same students will write spring term papers which we will embed on private pages to add real depth of content for future York students.

PBS Program/Content Used

just 1 example: http://www.pbs.org/teachers/connect/resources/179/preview/