Learning with Novelty – Gangnum Style!

A new phenomenom has hit the internet and you may have heard of it- PSY Gangnam Style! This newbie Korean singer with “cheesy” dance moves (as he quoted himself) has been #1 on the itunes stores for weeks. Recently, he appeared on the Today Show and The Ellen Show. His dance moves are being copied all over the world from Australia to Saudi Arabia!

So, what makes PSY and his style so special? One word- Novelty! That’s right and this word novelty is actually a form of helping people learn and retain new information. Amazingly, this can be related to the field of Education. Just as new video games and tech toys grab young people and adults attention, alike, so does anything new! Yes-anything! So try something new, the next time you want to get someone’s attention in or outside of the classroom.

Brain research confirms that novelty is a mechanism for learning. It aids in retaining new information. However, once the “newness” has worn off, another type of novelty will continue the process.

Imagine using this silly video to teach children with. The possibilities are endless. Children could compare the original version to the American version. Students could research and translate the original Korean lyrics to American. They could study the impact of viral videos on the web or even calculate the percentage of You Tube “hits” each day. Quite simply, they could write about how the song made them “feel” the first time that they heard it. Math, Social Studies, Foreign language, Technology and Writing can be taught with one simple song!

Now keep in mind that this song has the word “sexy” as part of its lyrics-so it may not appropriate for the classroom (well, it may even be banned). However, this platform of learning through novelty, language and You Tube, can be used in so many educational ways.

How could you use a You Tube video to teach your students?

Saudi Gangnam Style:

Psy on the Ellen Show:

“Environmental Novelty is Associated with a Selective Increase in Fos Expression in the Output Elements of the Hippocampal Formation and the Perirhinal Cortex”

9 Favorite Quotes-Do you see your favorite?

Albert Einstein
Image via Wikipedia

Please add your favorite quote, if you don’t see it on my list. Thanks! If you don’t have a favorite that resonates with you, then sit back and be inspired!

  • “Tell me and I’ll forget; show me and I may remember; involve me and I’ll understand.” -Chinese proverb
  • “I cannot teach anybody anything, I can only make them think.” -Socrates
  • “Educating the mind without educating the heart is no education at all.” -Aristotle
  • “Imagination is more important than knowledge.” -Albert Einstein
  • “The only thing that interferes with my learning, is my education.” -Albert Einstein
  • “The important thing is not to stop questioning. Curiosity has its own reason for existing.” -Albert Einstein
  • “I have never let my schooling interfere with my education.” -Mark Twain
  • “You must be the change that you want to see in the world.” -Gandhi
  • “Most people are about as happy as they make up their minds to be.” -Abraham Lincoln

Poptropica is like facebook for children!


Poptropica (Photo credit: grace mcdunnough)

“Poptropica® is a virtual world in which kids explore and play in complete safety. Every month, millions of kids from around the world are entertained and informed by Poptropica’s engaging quests, stories, and games. Kids create a “Poptropican” character to travel the many Islands of Poptropica and use gaming literacy to enjoy a narrative that is often rooted in factual history. Problem-solving skills are honed as kids discover and solve mysteries unique to each Island. There are always new areas to explore in this ever-expanding world where kids can collect objects, read digital books and comics, watch movies, and compete in head-to-head competition. Parents can always trust that their children are playing-and learning-in a safe, online environment.” (direct quote from their website)

I must admit, I felt a little guilty for letting some of my students use Poptropica during free stations (or a no recess day, due to rain) in my classroom. I knew there must be something amazing to it though, and I am so happy to have found out that Poptropica is truly educational fun! I plan to use it as an incentive now in my classroom!

Students can blog too-read all about it!

Ok-I am sold! I will begin blogging with my students. Thanks to my “Kindergarten Teachers United” Linkedin group member, Sharon D., for sharing this idea with me. Kid blog looks so easy to set up and I am about to do it. I am excited to share me and my students journey with blogging in the classroom! Stay tuned for updates!  “” creator, Matt Hardy, was featured in the front page story for the Sunday Pioneer Press. Here is one quote from Matt, who is also a 3rd grade teacher in Minnesota:

“With blogs, it’s more about the ideas,” he said. “It’s not so much about the original post as it is about the discussion that follows, that trail of comments that comes afterward.””

Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy…low and high levels of technology!

Have you heard of it? Well, I have heard of Bloom’s Taxonomy, but never “Bloom’s Digital Taxonomy.” So, here it is-and I can’t wait to use it in my classroom! I will outline some key points from Andrew Churches document, based on Bloom’s levels of learning.

1. Remembering (Knowledge)- finding, locating, using a google search or bookmarking, social networking

2. Understanding (Comprehension)- explaining, blog journaling, subscribing, using twitter

3. Applying (Application)- using, executing, uploading, sharing, editing, hacking, playing, running

4. Analyzing (Analysis)- organizing, linking, validating, cracking, organizing, media clipping

5. Evaluating (Critical thinking)- judging, experimenting, critiquing, posting, moderating, blog commenting, reviewing, networking

6. Creating (Creative thinking)- designing, constructing, producing, inventing, programming, filming, animating, video blogging, wiki-ing, publishing, podcasting

I was so happy to stumble upon this information at an article found at the following blog:

The original contents comes from a very thorough document created by Andrew Churches: