Ditch That Textbook by Matt Miller

Go Make Something.

  • Initially most teachers will have to rely on learning videos that they or students find on the Internet. This doesn’t mean that you shouldn’t start making your own. You may find that some of your students can help. You and your students can also create flashcards to help with memorization using tools like Quizlet, ExamTime, and StudyBlue. Matt recommends Google Apps as they will allow you to create many other items like drawings, slideshows, and spreadsheets.
  • Photographs can make content more attractive. In addition to your own photos, checkout Creative Commons. The big message is Go Make Something.You should also be careful about what you block. Matt blocked Minecraft once and soon regretted doing so.

Go Where the Kids Are

  • Matt sees that the changing marketplace and continually advancing technology requires teachers to reevaluate the way they educate. We need to prepare the students for the world they will be living in, not the one that teachers grew up in. Rather than passively receiving all information, students need to be actively searching for it, interact with it, and share it. By moving into the world that many students inhabit outside of school, teachers can accomplish more.

Section 4. Ditch That Curriculum

  • Matt suggests you start with a short mission statement. It should guide everything you do. In Matt’s case he wants his students to be able to converse in Spanish. He wants them to create and share products that matter. He has basic themes and lets the themes drive the vocabulary and usage. As you move along, plans may have to be modified depending on how your class is doing. Without the textbook, teachers and students are free to enjoy opportunities for creativity, which isn’t likely to happen if you plow from one chapter to the next. As you create your new class, try to take one step at a time and persist. Change is difficult. Embrace the mess and the complexity. Go out on a limb because that is where the fruit is.

Matt Miller

  • Matt is a teacher, blogger and presenter from West Central Indiana. He has infused technology and innovative teaching methods in his classes for more than 10 years. He is the author of the book Ditch That Textbook: Free Your Teaching and Revolutionize Your Classroom and writes at the Ditch That Textbook blog about using technology and creative ideas in teaching. He is a Google Certified Innovator, Bammy! Top to Watch in 2016, and winner of the WTHI-TV Golden Apple Award. Onalytica named him one of the top 25 influencers in educational technology and learning.
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