WCSS 2012 – Tech Tools at Work—Examples of Interactive Technology
Tech Tools at Work—Examples of Interactive Technology
What’s in your tech toolbox? Probably more tools than you had last year … or month … or week, based on the explosion of interactive technology available for teachers. Our goal in this session is to see some examples of technology tools in action, using examples from actual social studies classes. Hopefully you will find a few ideas that you can incorporate in your classrooms right away! We will begin with a few caveats about technology integration, and then dive into a few of the various online tools. For each, please think of possible applications in your classroom and curricula, and get ready to share your great ideas so we can all steal … er, borrow your excellent brainstorms!
Lino – An Online Bulletin Board
Teachers love bulletin boards … don’t we? Those old-school repositories for information have been part of the classroom since push-pins were invented. Just think of the possibilities of utilizing a bulletin board online for information and collaboration! While there are a few platforms that allow teachers and students to post text, images, and video in a common space, Lino does it the best. The platform is incredibly easy to use as a moderator or visitor, and the ability to customize the settings and copy from one board to another are invaluable. How can you use this tool for interactivity in and out of class?
WHY STUDY HISTORY? - Every year I open my course with an overview of the importance of studying history. We examine some online resources, have a discussion at home, and then develop a rationale as a class. The driving force of the class discussion? An collaborative board online – check it out!
SHOULD WE CELEBRATE ANDREW JACKSON? – Our 7th President is one of our most controversial, and his eight years in the White House makes for a great discussion and debate. To prepare for such a debate, students can post ideas and questions in advance by period (PERIOD 1 / 2 / 3 / 4 / 6). They make great class starters!
THE PROGRESSIVE MOVEMENT LIVES! - Some topics in history are tough to teach, due to prior student knowledge, interest, or simply the nature of the subject. Reform legislation usually doesn’t rank at the top of the student interest meter, but it does lead to more value from students when they see how it relates to the present. Having students post modern applications of history is an easy assignment, and sets the stage for a great discussion!
1920s SOCIAL LUMINARIES – Want a great way to learn about the personalities of the Roaring 20s? Invite them to a speakeasy, and have them prepare a biography and bring an artifact to help tell their story. The patrons can present a catch phrase on a bulletin board to prepare everyone for the social gathering … and don’t forget to bring the (root) beer!
VIETNAM ANTIWAR BULLETIN BOARDS - Campus bulletin boards must have been a hotbed of political activity during the Vietnam Era – could they be replicated decades later? In this activity, students posted various reasons why people were opposed to American involvement in Vietnam, and their work was used as a discussion point for class.
VoiceThread – An Interactive Combination of Images, Video, and Sound
ABOLITIONIST TRADING CARDS – We know many of the big names of the Abolition Movement … but do our students? Young historians can do some research and develop interactive “cards” that discuss what these great men and women did for the movement, supported by primary source quotes and audio narration. Collect them on bulletin board!
COLD WAR TRADING CARDS – Trading cards don;t just need to involve people – events are great topics as well! A benefit about having students using voicethread is that you can provide audio feedback – pretty easy!
THE COMING OF THE CIVIL WAR - One of the great advantages of technology tools is the possibility of extending a discussion outside of the classroom time period and walls. VoiceThread (and other platforms) allows teachers and students to interact and comment on historical and modern topics asynchronously. If students have roles in class, and you want them to reconsider events such as The Compromise of 1850, The Kansas and Nebraska Act and The Election of 1860, this is a great tool!
ANNOTATED GRUNTS - If you want students to role-play or examine a specific character in history , but you don’t have the necessary components for a successful activity, try out an “annotated” ______________. In this example, students create general biographical sketches of soldiers in Vietnam, including images, audio, and primary sources. It’s amazing how much an emotion will sink in when a students has to narrate instead of just read the words of men and women in the past.
Glogster - Interactive online posters
SLAVERY HISTORY - In order to chronicle the history of slavery in America and also help 4th grade students understand the history of slavery at an accessible level, I had my young historians develop interactive glogs concerning major topics in American slavery. Students took a preview survey in which they proposed questions and thought about their prior knowledge. Their questions were used to develop guiding questions for categories of study. After a demonstration glog is shown, student’s collaborative develop the rubric for the project, select their category if interest, and research and create glogs to present the information.
ANTIWAR ANNOTATED COLLAGE - Annotated collages are excellent methods of having students collect and combine images and information to demonstrate their understanding of a historical topic. Utilizing Glogster not only allows students to present their ideas online, but multimedia can be integrated as well. Check out a few student examples - here’s one, here’s another, and here’s one more!
ABOLITIONIST CONVENTION BROCHURES - As a component of an Abolitionist Society convention, students created glogs for their role as an opponent of slavery in the antebellum era. After researching their abolitionist, students developed online brochures to advertise their position on how slavery should be eradicated. The brochures are posted on a convention wall, and the students use their research to debate the best methods of abolition prior to the Civil War.
Google Forms - A Versatile Method of Collecting and Distributing Information
Most teachers have been exposed to the variety of tools provided by the folks at Google, including Google docs and Google sites. However, many are still unfamiliar with Google forms. According the company, “Google forms are a useful tool to help you plan events, send a survey, give students a quiz, or collect other information in an easy, streamlined way.” they can be integrated into outside assignments, assessments, and collaborative work across class periods. Forms are very easy to make and manage, and the information can be compiled and used in class activities, such as …
CRM CRAMBO - To creatively process events of the Civil Rights Movement and compile a longer narrative of the era, paired students participated in a crambo – an age old battle of words and rhymes in order to explain the later years of the Movement. Their results were collected through Google forms and then easily published on a wikispace - Crambo 1 2 3 4 6.
CIVIL WAR PREVIEW AND REFLECTION - I always like to activate prior knowledge for the more popular topics in may class, and I have found Google forms to be an easy and effective method of doing so. By using a preview form, students can rate their current understanding and interest in a subject (in this case, the Civil War) and I can use the results in class to determine areas of interest. The post unit form not only provides great feedback for me, but it also allows students to look back at their own learning.
BIG CITY TWEETS - When learning about urbanization in the late 1800s, I had students imagine they were strolling through the new big cities and providing some short posts or “tweets” describing their experience. We then used their collected tweets in class to discuss some of the advancements of cities and have a few laughs.
SLAVERY TERMS COMPILED - As we studied antebellum slavery, students kept a list of terms, people, places, emotions, ideas, and whatever else came to mind about the topic of slaver. At the end of the study, students simply posted their long list of terms in a form. A quick compilation of the terms and pasting them into Tagxedo provided out class with a stunning collaborative visual for antebellum slavery.
Social Networks – Students Interact as Historical Figures
Who isn’t a member of a social network these days? People interact, comment on their status, make friends, post images and videos, join groups, make comments, and share information. Imagine if your students could take on a historical role and interact in and out of class. The networks provide a very powerful method of challenging students as well as extending their historical role play outside of class … but they also require a great deal of work! Two sites that I have used in the past are Ning.com and grou.ps.
Constitutional Convention – I have had great success with a historical social network based on the Constitutional Convention. Students are assigned a delegate to the 1787 meeting, research their role, respond to profile questions, interact with other delegates, and represent their roles in a class convention. Based on earlier presentations at other conferences, I have a comprehensive site that discusses how to integrate such a convention in your class – it was even profiled in Social Education!
Civil Rights - I had students participate in a Civil Rights Network, researching a Civil Rights personality, develop an online presence, and interact with each other. Students developed questions for a Civil Rights Roundtable, and we utilized a backchannel chat during the discussion. A great example of my students’ collected work is available here.
Online Student Notebooks – Methods to Store Students’ Awesome Tech Work
How can you collect all of your students’ amazing work online? There are many repositories out there, but I have used two – Wikispaces and LiveBinders - with varying degrees of success.
Wikispaces has been very successful for online notebooks with an entire 1:1 unit, but it does take some getting used to -check out some student notebooks from 2011, 2010, and 2009. The most successful collection of information I have assembled on Wikispaces is an oral history project – awesome to have young historians actually being historians. Here are a few samples - 2011, 2010, and 2009.
I have used LiveBinders to post my class materials, and I plan to have students pilot it as a possible student notebook this year. A few of my examples are Unit 5 – Reshaping the Nation, Unit 6 – Modern America Emerges , and Unit 7 – Problems at Home, Problems Abroad.