Cool Resource Providers – Are your students cool? ;)

In some of the materials provided by Dr Bonk this week in Instructional Ideas and Technology Tools for Online Success has looked at the idea of students being ‘cool resource providers’.  What does this mean?  Well, it is basically the idea of students taking turns to provide a resource to support the learning topics each week.  I personally love this idea because it gives students a significant role to play in the learning content presented.  When I think of how this can be done in online courses with students providing a supporting video or presentation to be shown in a week, I can’t help but think of the TEC-VARIETY model and the fact that this exercise help in many areas of this framework.

Asking students to contribute a ‘cool resource’ to the week’s learning materials is greatly encouraging for the students.  I would feel a immense sense of connection with a week if I was providing a resource to support the topic and I believe that the curiosity of the other students would be increased in wondering what kind of resource would be discovered and shared in that week.  It would be very intriguing and exciting to see what was produced.

The variety of what would be produced if such an exercise was carried out throughout an entire course would be great.  Students are so different and their interpretations of a topic vary considerably, thus producing varied resources in such a learning venture as this.  It would be very interesting to see the variety produced and as a teacher, I would value their contributions and some resources could become part of the courses standard teaching materials.

Allowing students to produce and share a resource that they personally identified with in the context of the week’s topic is encouraging autonomy at its best.  The students have a choice in what they produce and its based on their own relevant understanding of the topic.  Bonk had this to say about students being ‘cool resource providers’ in Bonk, C. J. (2008, March). YouTube anchors and enders: The use of shared online video content as a macrocontext for learning. Paper presented at the American Educational Research Association (AERA) 2008 Annual Meeting, New York, NY.

The majority of what students discovered and presented was online resources and ideas related to their content. Some students decided to create PowerPoint presentations, others moved the class to a computer lab for guided Web safaris of resources that they had found, and still others showed specific Web sites and online videos after which they fostered interactive small and whole group class discussions and reflections. It was not the particular format of their presentation that was important but the fact that students were empowered to be the instructors of the class.

Empowerment, engagement and so much more. Who would have thought it could be so simple to empower students as to give them the ability to share a resource.  The possibilities after this are also worth considering.  The ‘cool resource provider’ could even be the main facilitator in a discussion forum around the resource presented.

When I was a secondary Music teacher, I used to allow students in my class to nominate a YouTube video that they would like to share with the class and I would play it for the class on the projector.  We didn’t always formally follow up the viewing with an activity but my students sure were engaged and listening more when I gave them this option of choosing a resource for the lesson.  The buy-in I gave students helped them feel that the lesson was ]relevant and that I valued their contribution and knowledge.  I valued the response I got from my students and the positive outcomes that eventuated as well.  My students were amazing in what they produced, so so cool!

I share this video below because I love a good Flashmob but even though this one isn’t the best I’ve seen the message at the end it great!  The Flashmob is for an ad for T-Mobile but the message is simple, “Life’s for Sharing”.  Well I believe education is for sharing too so encourage it, breed it and model it.  Enjoy 🙂


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