|You know the old adage, “work smarter, not harder.” That’s the motto behind crowdsourcing. According to Merriam Webster, the official definition of crowdsourcing is “the practice of obtaining needed services, ideas, or content by soliciting contributions from a large group of people and especially from the online community rather than from traditional employees or suppliers.” In this e-news, we explore three ways you can extend the power of crowdsourcing to the 21st Century classroom, helping you keep students engaged, shorten lesson plan prep time and connect with industry professionals.Offer students real-world challenges|
Whether students are working on a complex math equation, computer algorithm or writing assignment, they are eager to know how lessons apply in the “real world.” Work real-world challenges into your lesson plans to help students see the link. Start by identifying challenges public companies face that fit your curriculum, then have students work to find a solution that could be submitted to the company. For more complex challenges, ask students to come up with their best solution and comment on each other’s ideas. Award your own prizes for winning ideas and continue the problem-solving theme with a Rubik’s Cube or Puzzle Cube.
Crowdsourcing websites such as InnoCentive® and Cambrian House are great online tools that can help with these real-world activities. There, companies post real challenges they are looking to find a solution to. With each challenge, they include an overview and explanation of the end goal, requirements or limitations and a deadline for submission. Individuals – including your students – can submit solutions with the potential to earn rewards for their winning idea. Here are a couple of examples:
Collaborate with colleagues, peers and industry experts
One website that can help is sophia.org. There, you can find free “learning packets” on a variety of topics from visual and performing arts to mathematics and education levels from middle school to post graduate. Sophia relies on credentialed professionals and experts (called “Academic Reviewers”) to ensure the accuracy of the content. The packets are multimedia, including text, images, video, audio and slide shows, you’ll have everything you need to deliver a complete lesson.
Gain community support
Connect with industry experts and professionals to schedule field trips and guest speakers or to gain financial support for a unique project. Do this by harnessing the power of the world’s most widely used crowdsourcing tool: the social network.
To get started, check out our e-news on social media in education or try these ideas:
Don’t forget to show your gratitude to supporters, too. Post a public “thank you” via social media and send a small thank-you gift, such as the Colour-Me Activity Tote hand decorated by your students or a classic travel mug baring your school’s logo and social media outlets.
Whether you are looking to engage students and the community or just get a little help with your lesson plans, crowdsourcing can be a powerful way to get the job done.
To learn more about crowdsourcing, check out our Blue Paper® Beyond the Team: Crowdsourcing.
“Crowdsourcing – Definition and More from the Free Merriam-Webster Dictionary.” Dictionary and Thesaurus – Merriam-Webster Online. Web. 6 Apr. 2011.
Buckler, Grant. “Crowdsourcing.” CBC News. Web. 03 May 2011.
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