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10 Innovative Ways Teachers Have Connected With Their Students

As technology progresses, education must also progress. Target recognizes the value of innovative educators, which is why they're on track to give $1 billion to education by the end of 2015.

1. The chemistry teacher who uses science to say "trick or treat!"


Chemistry professor Chris Bergmann uses science to spread a little Halloween spirit by emitting flammable gas into a pre-carved pumpkin and magically turning it into a jack-o'-lantern by igniting the gas inside.

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2. The teacher who uses Blended Learning to help her students get the most out of Romeo and Juliet.


Veronica Bane uses a new teaching technique called Blended Learning to instruct her students. With the use of computers, she separates her classroom into three groups that all learn different aspects of the material simultaneously, in hopes of never allowing a student to fall behind.

3. The teacher who uses rap music to teach his students about the wonders of mathematics.


Jake Scott, math teacher at Montgomery Blair High School, uses music to help his students learn. Scott produces songs and music video covers based off of popular rap artists like 50 Cent. He claims that music makes memorization a little easier for his students, thus encouraging learning.

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4. The scientist who knows “if you build it, they will come.”

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Sugata Mitra discovered that when you expose children to new technology, they’ll learn how to use it on their own. He loaded a computer with information on molecular biology and gave it to a group of students in southern India. Soon after, the students were examined and all scored highly. In 2013, Mitra won a $1 million grant from TED to continue his work.

5. The teacher who uses video games to teach his student important lessons.

Mission US / Via

Scott Jackson, American history teacher at Brooklyn International High School, has found a way to implement video games into his classroom’s curriculum. He uses video games like Mission US to instruct his students on Native American history, giving them a much more immersive learning experience than any textbook could have provided.

6. The man who saw a need for social media in the classroom.

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Edmodo (aka “Facebook for Schools”) is a social learning platform founded by Nic Borg that has earned over $57 million since it was founded in 2008. It provides a collaborative online space for students and teachers to share and interact with information. Currently there are an estimated 33 million teachers and students benefiting from the software worldwide.

7. The teacher who believes in hands-on learning.

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Engineering teacher Eugene Chou at Dublin High School uses Project Lead The Way to enhance STEM education. She provides her students with a hands-on learning experience through the use of computers, models, and other technologies to which they wouldn’t otherwise have access. This allows the students to not only be prepared for future study, but also helps foster a genuine interest in creative problem solving.

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8. The school that isn't afraid to have a little fun while learning.

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The students at Chipping Norton School in Oxfordshire, England are using laser guns to learn math. After winning a grant to develop innovative educational methods, the school will create a theatrical environment complete with props, camouflage, and moving targets that the students will have to progress through by solving math equations.

9. The professor who believes in the benefits of collaborative learning.

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Eric Mazur, physics professor at Harvard, came to discover that his students weren’t learning half as much from his lectures as he had originally thought. After prompting them with real-world, anti-textbook questions on the core concepts of physics, the students were stumped. His solution was for the students to collaborate through discussion. He claims that they learned in three minutes what otherwise would have taken him more than 10 minutes to teach.

10. The fifth-grade teacher who brought the outdoors inside for her students.

Heather Katsoulis/(CC BY-SA http://2.0) / Via Flickr: hlkljgk

Brenda Koehler, fifth-grade science teacher at Midview Intermediate School in Midview, Ohio, decided to bring the outdoors inside to help her students learn. Koehler and her students transformed a 150-gallon tank into an indoor ecosystem that mimics the deciduous forests native to Ohio. The terrarium is host to many different animal and plant species, including turtles, frogs, and lizards.