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?
A few weeks ago, the folks over at Educational Technology and Mobile Learning posted a very cool article about the equally cool Smithsonian X3D site. The Smithsonian has over 137 million objects in its collection and is able to display 1% of that to the public. The X3D project is designed to find a way to digitize in 2D and 3D at least part of the remaining 99%.
The cool part? You can begin using the site right now to bring artifacts directly into your classroom.
We’ve always known the power of primary sources and artifacts to help our students make sense of the past. Things become much more real to kids when they can touch and hold stuff. And while the Smithsonian X3D tool doesn’t actually let them hold artifacts, it’s as real as you can get without traveling to Washington D.C.
The SIx3D viewer offers students the ability to explore some of the Smithsonian’s most treasured objects with a level of control that has never been possible until now. We hope this revolutionary level of access to the Smithsonian collections will spark your students’ curiosity and that the exploration of these objects will enable them to build lifelong observation and critical thinking skills.
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
I ran across the Jewish Partisans group last fall while browsing through the vendor area at NCSS last November and walked away impressed with their resources and materials. It’s a group I hadn’t heard of but their stuff seemed to fit perfectly into a lesson I’ve been using to focus on historical thinking skills. So I spent some time at their booth and came away impressed. I’m waiting on some of their free goodies and, while I’m not a World War II / Holocaust expert, what I’ve seen so far is pretty impressive.
What is the Jewish Partisan Educational Foundation?
Most people have never heard of the 20,000-30,000 Jews who fought back against the Nazis as Jewish partisans. These Jews were responsible for thwarting the Nazi war machine in countless ways. This information has the power to transform people’s perception of the Jewish experience during the Holocaust.
The mission of the JPEF is to develop and distribute effective educational materials about the Jewish partisans and their life lessons, bringing the celebration of heroic resistance against tyranny into educational and cultural organizations.
JPEF’s goal is to engage and educate teens about the Jewish partisans. Recognizing that this learning can take place in a variety of settings, they’ve put together a variety of resources and materials.
I think we fail to tell the entire story if we don’t include these sorts of accounts into our World War II and Holocaust lessons. Many of our students have a perception that all Jews (and other groups persecuted during World War II) passively submitted to German orders. The story of the Partisans can be an eye-opening tale that highlights one of the many ways that Jews resisted the efforts of Germans and their allies.
What are their resources? Read more
I’m sitting here in a comfy chair warming up by the fireplace, with laptop in hand and a nice cup of coffee nearby. It’s a snow day pretty much everywhere in the state of Kansas and I’m catching up on my to-do list.
One of the things to check off? The Monuments Men.
It’s an incredible true story. It’s a book. And this weekend, it’s a movie coming out starring, well . . . a bunch of my favorite actors. Bill Murray. George Clooney. John Goodman. Matt Damon. Cate Blanchett.
Early reviews over at Rotten Tomatoes seem mixed. But I’ll be going no matter what. I’m a sucker for movies based on historical events. Argo. Lincoln. Band of Brothers. Hotel Rwanda. Glory. Gettysburg. All the President’s Men. The Mission.
I’m hoping for the best but I’m sure that through the whole thing I’ll be making mental notes about the lack of historical accuracy and the jumbling of facts for dramatic effect. Because we all know that the book is always better. Always.
But I’ll also get over it. The book is always better but it’s also always interesting to see how the story “looks,” how the movie tells its version of events. Because the story is a great tale. If you haven’t gotten the drift from all the movie ads, here are the basics: Read more