GOOD Video: How Do We Make Learning Relevant to Students?

Future Learning, a micro documentary from GOOD, taps the expertise of education innovators from around the globe.


This post is in partnership with University of Phoenix

"I wanted to avoid the usual doom and gloom—the usual 'it's all crap and there's no hope for the future,'" says Eli A. Kaufman, GOOD's director of video production and the creator of our latest education micro documentary, "Future Learning". Instead of making a film about everything that's wrong with America's schools, Kaufman and his team set out to answer a key question: "How do we make learning more relevant to the lives of our students?"

However, Future Learning isn't about "educators in the classroom or about the out-of-the-box teachers who are pushing the envelope," says Kaufman. Instead, "it's about people who are out of the box of education completely who are trying to improve the system." The half-dozen education technologists Future Learning features are sparking conversation across the globe—innovators like Khan Academy founder Sal Khan, Sugata Mitra, an education scientist and professor at Newcastle University in the U.K., and Catherine Lucey, the vice dean for education at the University of California at San Francisco School of Medicine, who has come up with a pedagogical approach that employs technology that serves new models of learning—and not just for the sake of having the newest gadget in the lab.

Creating the film was personal for Kaufman—he's a new dad whose son will one day attend public school in Los Angeles, and, like many of us, he believes in lifelong learning. But, education's also in his blood—Kaufman's the son of two teachers, and before he became a filmmaker, he spent three years teaching eighth grade English "to Bridge and Tunnel kids" in New Jersey and a year teaching at a private experimental school in Los Angeles. The film stems from a series of minute-long webisodes that Kaufman’s team created for GOOD's education page partner, University of Phoenix. Because of his teaching experience, Kaufman realized that the footage being left on the cutting room floor could add value to the current education conversation.

Kaufman says the education innovators he filmed have a fresh perspective since they're "not right on top of the issues." However, their ideas aren't without controversy. At one point Mitra,—who is well known for his "Hole in the Wall" experiment where he put unattended computers in villages in India to see what kids would do with them—suggests that maybe we don't need teachers anymore. While that certainly pushes buttons, Kaufman says he had to step back and realize that what Mitra means is that the role of teachers has to change from that of lecturer to facilitator, mentor, and coach.

Kaufman says he can see how the innovators' lack of actual classroom experience might make some teachers reluctant to listen to their ideas. "They’ve never had to put together a lesson plan or a scope and sequence that would help a kid," Kaufman says. That doesn’t make their ideas less legitimate to Kaufman, but making the film made him realize that there are real limitations to tech-based solutions. A computer can't teach "those life skills that only a master teacher can teach"—and which require people to be in the same room—"how to become a citizen, how to problem solve, and learning how to be a collaborator," Kaufman says.

Above all, Kaufman's optimistic that the ideas shared will spark conversation about how we design a learning experience that matters to our students. "There are people who are really investing the time to make learning better," says Kaufman. "I hope other teachers feel that there's hope, too."

Ottawa Humane Society / Flickr

The Trump Administration won't be remembered for being kind to animals.

In 2018, it launched a new effort to reinstate cruel hunting practices in Alaska that had been outlawed under Obama. Hunters will be able to shoot hibernating bear cubs, murder wolf and coyote cubs while in their dens, and use dogs to hunt black bears.

Efforts to end animal cruelty by the USDA have been curtailed as well. In 2016, under the Obama Administration, the USDA issued 4,944 animal welfare citations, in two years the numbers dropped to just 1,716.

Keep Reading Show less
via I love butter / Flickr

We often dismiss our dreams as nonsensical dispatches from the mind while we're deep asleep. But recent research proves that our dreams can definitely affect our waking lives.

People often dream about their significant others and studies show it actually affects how we behave towads them the next day.

"A lot of people don't pay attention to their dreams and are unaware of the impact they have on their state of mind," said Dylan Selterman, psychology lecturer at the University of Maryland, says according to The Huffington Post. "Now we have evidence that there is this association."

Keep Reading Show less
via Real Time with Bill Maher / YouTube and The Late Late Show with James Corden / YouTube

A controversial editorial on America's obesity epidemic and healthcare by comedian Bill Maher on his HBO show "Real Time" inspired a thoughtful, and funny, response by James Cordon. It also made for a great debate about healthcare that Americans are avoiding.

At the end of the September 6th episode of "Real Time, " Maher turned to the camera for his usual editorial and discussed how obesity is a huge part of the healthcare debate that no one is having.

"At Next Thursday's debate, one of the candidates has to say, 'The problem with our healthcare system is Americans eat shit and too much of it.' All the candidates will mention their health plans but no one will bring up the key factor: the citizens don't lift a finger to help," Maher said sternly.

Keep Reading Show less

There is no shortage of proposals from the, um, what's the word for it… huge, group of Democratic presidential candidates this year. But one may stand out from the pack as being not just bold but also necessary; during a CNN town hall about climate change Andrew Yang proposed a "green amendment" to the constitution.

Keep Reading Show less
Me Too Kit

The creator of the Me Too kit — an at home rape kit that has yet to hit the market — has come under fire as sexual assault advocates argue the kit is dangerous and misleading for women.

The kit is marketed as "the first ever at home kit for commercial use," according to the company's website. "Your experience. Your kit. Your story. Your life. Your choice. Every survivor has a story, every survivor has a voice." Customers will soon be able order one of the DIY kits in order to collect evidence "within the confines of the survivor's chosen place of safety" after an assault.

"With MeToo Kit, we are able to collect DNA samples and other tissues, which upon testing can provide the necessary time-sensitive evidence required in a court of law to identify a sexual predator's involvement with sexual assault," according to the website.

Keep Reading Show less