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21st century show and tell

May 24, 2012

A few weeks ago, Marco Alameida and I were having a chat on twitter about how you might share all the awesome things you find on the internet with students, and perhaps more importantly, how students share the awesome things they find with you. Things like Cain’s Arcade, the video of a skydiver in a wingsuit landing sans parachute on a stack of cardboard boxes, or this incredible commencement address by Neil Gaiman.

In the past, I’ve shown thought-provoking stuff that isn’t always physics related in the first few minutes of my class. Students always report back enjoying these little snippets, but the way I’ve done it in the past, it’s definitely been all stuff shared by me, and I’m not sure that anything I’ve shown has really moved students much beyond the “neat” or “cool” reaction.

This is why the conversation with Marco got me thinking about a sort of 21st century “show and tell” for high school and beyond, which hopefully wouldn’t lose all of those awesome real artifacts that I fondly remember from my days of show and tell. The guiding rules of the club would be that everyone would have an opportunity to share something, and as part of sharing, the presenter would hopefully also try to think of some sort of follow up for the group.

There are also tons of other tools out there for doing this asynchronously, starting with bookmarking tools like diigo, which let you create groups to share links, but I think this endeavor would likely be far more powerful if you could carve out face to face time for sharing. Could this be something you do during homeroom or advisement time? Could a “show and tell” club work in high school? What do you think?

4 Comments leave one →
  1. May 24, 2012 10:35 pm

    I have facebook groups for my high school classes, and we post things there. I also have them in my newsfeed, so we’re commenting and liking each other’s posts. It’s good to have a running stream of stuff, but something more composes and curated would be nice. A blog.

    Not sure a show and tell club would work, but that’s a lot of what my mathematical art seminar is. I’m trying to make the product of our work in math class more like show and tell.

    Thanks for that awesome post.

  2. Susan Berrend permalink
    May 25, 2012 8:05 am

    This sharing is a big reason for my use of wikis and edmodo with my classes. I can post videos and articles and they will get viewed and commented on without taking additional class time. Students also post great stuff: class-related or not. Considering the hours students spend online..this is the easiest method I have found.

  3. May 25, 2012 10:20 am

    John, the commencement address really is terrific! I have already passed it along to a couple of young friends – one in university and one in high school. I hope they do not get away from their secondary education before hearing this message! I fear many do.

  4. May 25, 2012 6:39 pm

    I started a Facebook page for my physics classes this year ( The followership is small right now, but I get feedback from my students regularly in class that they have found something I’ve posted to be intriguing.

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