Hip Hop Genius Innovates Education

PBL World 2013 is meeting the highest expectations as conference that redefines thinking about learning. Today’s keynote, Sam Seidel, talked about how the business of education can be re-invented, and he showed how it’s being done.

Sam Seidel, author of Hip Hop Genius, shared his life’s passion for Hip Hop, and how he combines that passion with engaging students into curriculum. How? They communicate through the language of Hip Hop messages and products intended to move people to take action. Now some would say, “Creating rap songs to demonstrate content is done all the time. What’s the difference.” If I’d not seen Sam’s examples or heard him tell his stories, I probably would be saying the same thing. Having students write rap songs to tell content, has seemed to be over done, unoriginal, and most of all lacked any real purpose than to provide an alternative means to express traditional school work. But,…

Sam Seidel talked about an amazing school in St. Paul, MN called the High School for the Recording Arts (HSRA) where students create music — based on content knowledge — to make a difference in the world.

Here’s an example of a project the students did for State Farm Insurance about education. The work was connected to an English course. This is part of a campaign called 26 Seconds where every 26 seconds a student drops out of school.

The Other Side by The Groove

Wishing on Stars by Molly

The school exemplifies what it means to educate students and not be fettered by chains of…

“I don’t have the resources…”

“My kids can’t do this…”

“I have standards to cover…”

” ________________…”

Sam Seidel’s message was a wakeup call to all educators that a key to education is to innovate learning opportunities so that students can succeed. He gave three guiding ideas: Make project units real world so that the work has real value to others; the work is real to students, not just playing school by doing assignments for its own sake; and that the work be relevant for today’s needs.

The only obstacle to making this type of experience happen are the ones that we as educators put in front of students. It’s time to change that. Begin with a new beat…

To learn more:

High School for the Recording Artists – Student Voices – School History

Sam Seidel – TwitterHip Hop Genius – Article by Suzie Boss

1 comment

    • Claire Murray on June 21, 2013 at 5:33 pm
    • Reply

    This is very interesting–another way to connect students with the real world and the knowledge we want them to gain.

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