As regular readers know, I teach an International Baccalaureate “Theory of Knowledge” class (and, next year, I’ll teach two of them!). Our school structures our IB program a bit differently from many others by having a whole lot of students take individual IB classes; we have relatively few who are taking all IB classes in order to get the IB diploma. I really like this set-up, and it opens up my TOK class to a lot more students.
As I’ve said before, I can’t think of a high school class that would be more fun to teach or more fun to take…
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The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2013 – Part Two
Here are my choices for The Best Theory Of Knowledge Resources In 2014 – So Far:
TED Talks has unveiled a new site called “Ideas.Ted.com”.
Here’s how they describe it:
ideas.TED.com is built to celebrate this: to track ideas that began decades ago and are now forging our current reality. And to follow new ideas that are still little more than crazy thoughts in their inventors’ heads.
Our goal is to provide useful context, relevant backstories and fresh, thought-provoking ways of looking at ongoing challenges. We’ll provide a smart, friendly space for discussion of the issues worth discussing.
I think it might be useful for TOK
The Internet was awash in discoveries made by Tyler Vigen, who wrote a computer program that discovers strange correlations and publishes them on his blog. I’m definitely adding this info to The Best Online Resources For Teaching The Difference Between Correlation & Causation, which is an important lesson to teach, especially in IB Theory of Knowledge classes.
The old Abbott and Costello “Who’s On First?” routine is used by Theory of Knowledge teachers around the world to illustrate how language can be used to discourage understanding. Jimmy Fallon also did a remake with famous comedians. You can see them both here.
The New York Times recently shared a sad, but funny, video, What Is A Photocopier?, that can be used for the same purpose:
It reminded me of the famous Bill Clinton deposition during the Monica Lewinsky scandal about the meaning of “is.”
You can read about it here and see the famous few seconds in the first video below. I’ve embedded a second video that provides a little more context, though the video itself is of poor quality:
The Onion humor magazine has published a wonderful piece titled Top Theoretical Physicists, R&B Singers Meet To Debate Meaning Of Forever. It’s perfect for IB Theory of Knowledge classes. In fact, it would be a fun model to use and then challenge students to come up with their own parody on TOK topics. You might also be interested in The Best Education Articles From “The Onion.”
The online bookmarking tool Delicious no longer provides the number of links that are bookmarked in a particular category, but I guesstimate that I must be up to 1,700 or so categorized ones related to the International Baccalaureate Theory of Knowledge class.
Those are just the ones I’ve bookmarked. If you want to contribute to an even bigger, more “universal” collection, you, too, can use Delicious and add the tag “#TOK” to helpful sites and articles.
TED Talks has unveiled a new animation titled “The Long Reach Of Reason.”
Here’s how Chris Anderson at TED describes it:
Two years ago the psychologist Steven Pinker and the philosopher Rebecca Newberger Goldstein, who are married, came to TED to take part in a form of Socratic dialog. Steven Pinker and Rebecca Newberger Goldstein: The long reach of reasonSteven Pinker and Rebecca Newberger Goldstein: The long reach of reasonShe sought to argue that Reason was a much more powerful force in history than it’s normally given credit for. He initially defended the modern consensus among psychologists and neurologists, that most human behavior is best explained through other means: unconscious instincts of various kinds. But over the course of the dialog, he is persuaded by her, and together they look back through history and see how reasoned arguments ended up having massive impacts, even if those impacts sometimes took centuries to unfold.
They turned it into a “talk in animated dialogue form.” I’ve embedded it below, and you can read more about it here.
Here’s a great video created by an organization in Norway to raise awareness of the plight of Syrian refugee children. TOK students studying ethics can discuss what they would do….
I’m sure most IB Theory of Knowledge teachers use this famous and terrible scene from Sophie’s Choice when discussing ethics and moral dilemmas. However, I realized I never posted it on this blog, and thought it might be useful to others (and to me) to have it here:
I thought IB Theory of Knowledge teachers might be find this Bill Nye clip useful — I use it as part of teaching about pseudo-science:
Emotions Of Sound is a neat interactive that plays different sounds, along with images. You’re then show several different “emotional” words and have to pick the one that the sound and image elicits from you. After each answer, results are shown for how many people have chosen each word. At the end of the all the questions, the site tells you, overall, how alike or different your responses were from others visiting the site.
It’s a great site for English Language Learners to use for learning feelings-related vocabulary, and would be a fun interactive for IB Theory of Knowledge students to use when studying perception.
I’m adding it to The Best Sites To Learn “Feelings” Words.
The Dangers of Certainty: A Lesson From Auschwitz is an excellent (though somewhat meandering) column in today’s New York Times, written by Simon Critchley.
I think it relates a lot to what I’ve written about teaching and “school reform” in a Washington Post piece titled The importance of being unprincipled. I’ll also be using it in my IB Theory of Knowledge class — I always begin the course by sharing quotations questioning the value of absolute certainty.
Here’s an excerpt, followed by a video accompanying the column:
Here’s A Cartoon: “Try To See Things From The Other Person’s Perspective”:
created by Abstruse Goose
This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-Noncommercial 3.0 United States License.
I’m adding this to The Best Sites For Walking In Someone Else’s Shoes.