A Higher Caliber of Learning | What Happens When Students Host Their Own TEDx-Style Event
When Lamar Schrader talks about Schoology, his enthusiasm shines through.
“I have been able to encourage students to create and cultivate ideas with an innovator’s mindset,” he says. “This means closing the educational gaps that exist and growth for all.”
Lamar is an English instructor at Lake Travis High School, near Austin, Texas. He and his colleagues are transforming the classroom learning experience.
Using Schoology, Lamar’s students explore their passions, develop and research a topic, and present their very own TED-style Talks at a licensed, student-organized TEDx event. He wants his students to experience an authentic audience that consists of more than just their teacher and peers.
“The scaffolding of skills, the curation of content, and the cultivation of their ideas all took shape through the use of Schoology resources,” Lamar says.
The high school hosts the live TEDx event each Spring, which is filmed and published on the TEDx YouTube channel. They just finished their third annual event on April 1.
“It’s been an incredible experience for students,” Lamar explains, his excitement obvious. The process requires learners to analyze multiple texts, write a personal analysis, interview their elders, research databases, and evaluate effective public speakers.
“The outcome has far exceeded our expectations,” Lamar says. “I am incredibly proud of them—of what they learned throughout the process, of the ideas they develop and share. TEDxLakeTravisHigh has become a benchmark experience for everyone involved.”
The Substance of Learning and Achievement
It’s important to Lamar that he not simply measure his students' achievements, but showcase them as well. He employs Schoology data to monitor their growth and mastery of concepts, while keeping a broad point-of-view.
He says that he’s looking for a “progression through content” from the completion of assignments, to submissions to folders, to comments on discussion boards. “The development of all this through one LMS,” Lamar explains, “makes it easy for students to organize and track their growth, and easy for me to provide feedback as well.”
“Achievement means risking failure and growing past what you already know, then using your knowledge and experience as power to serve those around you,” he says. It’s with this sort of inspiration and charisma that Lamar continues to encourage his students to excel and innovate.