One of the challenges faced by all instructors is ensuring that students actually read the textbook. This summer we came up with a innovative assignment to address this issue. The book in question was  Daniel Willingham’s Why Don’t Students Like School? A cognitive scientist answers questions about how the mind works and what it means for the classroom. 

We called it the 3 x 3 x 3 project since their task was to create a video overview for each of the chapters in the book under the following guidelines:  the video should be no more than 3 minutes long, it would provide 3 key ideas from the chapter and 3 practical implications of these ideas for educators and for teaching (hence 3 x 3 x 3!).

Beyond that we provided no constraints on the technology to be used, style to be followed. SInce we had 5 groups and the book has 9 chapters and a conclusion, each group got to create two of these short videos.

Here are the 10 videos the students created. In essence these 10 videos are a video summary of the book in 30 minutes! Enjoy.


Chapter 1: Why don’t students like school?

Chapter 2: How can I teach students the skills they need when standardized tests require only facts?

Chapter 3: Why do students remember everything that’s on television and forget everything I say?

Chapter 4: Why is it so hard for students to understand abstract ideas?

Chapter 5: Is drilling worth it?

Chapter 6: What is the secret to getting students to think like real scientists, mathematicians, and historians?

Chapter 7: How should I adjust my teaching for different types of learners?

Chapter 8: How can I help slow learners?

Chapter 9: What about my mind?

Chapter 10: Conclusion