Big Think

04-Apr-2008

MEC Marketing Assistant, Julian Chant, writes:

Get your students talking about issues that matter with Big Think!

Big Think is an ambitious online project that brings together the views of experts from a range of different fields across the world and enables users the opportunity to interact and make their own contributions with an easy-to-use and accessible interface.

The site’s core feature is a collection of interviews presented in short, concise video clips. The search function enables users to browse by topics (e.g. ”If you had $100 Billion to give away, how would you spend it?”) and experts (including Richard Branson and Wikepedia co-founder Jimmy Wales). Users have the opportunity both to respond to questions – by voting on interviews or rating speakers – and to upload their own questions or statements either in video, audio, slideshow or text format.

While the language level of the majority of content is quite high, Big Think could be used in a number of ways in the classroom. In his Learning technology teacher development blog for ELT, Nik Peachey offers a range of suggestions on how to use the site with your students, including:

– discuss some of the questions or statements in class then check with the expert on the site
– ask students to summarise an opinion they have viewed
– get your students to prepare their own opinions and video them for their own class Big Think. This could be added to the site or just used as a model for a classroom activity.

For other stimulating video-debate websites, take a look at the TED Talks and the 6billionothers project. To start Thinking Big, check out their online tutorial now.

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