As you'll see below, Eric mentioned using a TED Talk on day one, and, well, I'll let Eric take it from here (cross-posted from http://intellectualsprawl.blogspot.com/2012/08/how-and-when-to-show-ted-talk.html):
How and When to Show a TED TalkI wouldn't say that we show a lot of TED Talks to our AP Psych students, but (a) Yosup and I do watch a lot of them for ourselves, and (b) we do show some to students.
Jon Ronson, who is a documentary filmaker and author, wrote The Psychopath Test: A journey through the madness industry, gave a TED Talk on his experiences with the question of sanity. Strange Answers to the Psychopath Test is 18-minutes long:
I would go so far as to say that this one video could serve as the introduction to our AP Psychology class. Either explicitly or implicitly, there is every single topic that we address in the course in this one video. But do I show it? And if so, when?
Part of me wants to lead off with this; use it as a teaser, use it as a draw. But, it's 18-minutes — an eternity for 17-year olds.
I mentioned this dilemma via Twitter, and you can see the dialogue that ensued between me and a Psych teacher in Durham, NC:
I'm not positive how I'll fit this into my 40-minute opening class, but I'm leaning toward teasing — just foreshadowing the questions and issues it raises — the video, asking students to take a position on the central question of the video ("Is there a definitive line that separates crazy from sane"), assigning students to watch the video for homework, and then having a discussion around the video during part of our next class (which will be an 80-minute period).
--posted by Steve