There’s a cool buzz running through the history education world.
Primary sources. Documents. Using evidence. Solving problems. Historical thinking. And that’s a good thing. But I know that it can be difficult sometimes trying to figure out how to use primary sources.
First piece of advice?
Several months ago, I posted some thoughts about the importance of creating better problems for our kids to solve. Basically I asked:
“If a kid can Google whatever you’re asking, what value are you bringing to the process? If they can ask Siri the answers that are on your test, why do they need you?”
The value we bring is a deep understanding of not just the content but the process needed to understand and apply that content. And the ability to create authentic and engaging questions that lead your kids into that content and process.
In the earlier post, I listed a few suggestions about what those sorts of questions might look like. I called them “un-Googleable” questions, the kinds of questions that Siri can’t really answer: Read more
It’s one of my favorite times of the year. I mean, it’s not Christmas or the first four days of the NCAA basketball tournament or the magical three consecutive days in Kansas when it’s 75 degrees and there’s no wind. But it’s pretty close.
It’s MACE. I really enjoy this annual Kansas tech conference ritual. Great sessions. Great people. Great venue. And the best part of MACE 2014 last week? I got the chance to lead a conversation with a full room of folks about using video games to teach social studies. We spent 45 minutes talking about reasons to use games, ways to use games, and different kinds of games – including the potential of MineCraftEDU, SimCityEDU, and serious games.
And no, 45 minutes is not enough time. It was definitely a tip of the iceberg sort of the thing.
But still a great time. My hope was that people would walk away open to the idea of looking into the idea of using video games and sims as part of their social studies instruction. In Kansas, we continue to push the idea of historical thinking skills and video games can be a huge part of that process.
My sticky idea for the presentation? Rewiring brains is a good thing. It’s how kids learn. And video games can help you rewire the brains of your kids.
I’ve been planning to talk about Thinglink for months. I had the chance to learn more about this last spring and, well . . . I just haven’t gotten to it. I’ve been busy. The dog ate my homework. The internet was down. There was football to watch. There was basketball to watch.
Basically I pushed it to a back burner, told myself that I would play with it some more, and never did.
But I was reminded today at MACE 14 about how cool Thinglink is and all of the awesome stuff you can do with it. So today a quick review and sample.
Thinglink is an online tool that lets you and your students Read more
Lisa from Maryland stopped by the other day to browse the Google Maps Gallery post and left a quick comment about the similarities of the Maps Gallery and a site called WhatWasThere.
(Lisa works as a Secondary Social Studies Mentor in the Howard County Public Schools and also made sure to pass on another great D-Day photo source and oral history archive.)
I had never heard of WhatWasThere. I’ve heard of HistoryPin. And Histografica. And I’ve even heard of Smithsonian’s interactive maps. But WhatWasThere?
Nope. And it’s so cool. How have I not run across this before?
The WhatWasThere folks say that their project
was inspired by the realization that we could leverage technology and the connections it facilitates to provide a new human experience of time and space – a virtual time machine of sorts that allows users to navigate familiar streets as they appeared in the past.
The premise is simple: provide a platform where anyone can easily upload a photograph with two straightforward tags to provide context: Location and Year. If enough people upload enough photographs in enough places, together we will weave together a photographic history of the world.
And for the last few years, they’ve been collecting old photos and pasting them onto Google Maps around the world.
Using the site couldn’t be much simpler. Read more