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Posts from the ‘government’ Category

“America is a constant work in progress” so celebrate Bill of Rights Day!

Perhaps now more than ever, we all to need to better understand and appreciate the first ten amendments to the Constitution. So  . . . after taking a trip in the Wayback Machine, I found this earlier post in the History Tech archives. I think it still fits.

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Okay . . . admit it. How many of you didn’t know that today is Bill of Rights Day?

Come on, it’s okay.

Yes, I see those hands.

I first ran across Bill of Rights Day a few years ago. I consider myself a person who keeps up with this sort of thing but I had no idea. Back in 1941, President Franklin D. Roosevelt declared December 15 to be Bill of Rights Day, commemorating the 150th anniversary of the ratification of the Bill of Rights. So it’s been around a while.

And we probably need to make a bigger deal out of this than we are. Civic literacy and understanding of the nuance embedded in the first 10 Amendments seems a bit low right about now.

FDR observed in 1941 that Read more

1600 app: Experience the White House in Augmented Reality

I still have a ton of stuff to share from the #ncss16 History Nerdfest but I thought I’d share this post from the White House about a very cool augmented reality tool that I heard about over the weekend.

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What’s it like to attend a state dinner at the White House? Or see Marine One land on the South Lawn?

From hosting festivals on the South Lawn to allowing people to explore its rooms via Google Street View, President Obama has used traditional events and new technology to open up the doors of the White House to more Americans than ever before.

The White House is excited to share a new way for you to experience 1600 Pennsylvania Avenue — and all you need is a smartphone and a dollar bill.

 

Check it out now: Download the app, point your smartphone camera at a dollar bill, and you’ll see an interactive, 3D video of White House pop up – with narration.

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As you experience a year at the White House – from the Easter Egg Roll to a State Arrival Ceremony – you’ll see that even as seasons and people change, the White House endures as an institution of American democracy. That’s why we teamed up with the White House Historical Association and Nexus Studios to create this augmented reality experience – to educate and inspire Americans to learn all about what the People’s House stands for.

Whether it’s seen on a teacher’s desk or around a dining room table, we hope you enjoy and share this new way of taking a peek inside the White House.

So, give it a try: If you have an iPhone or iPad, you can download 1600 here. Or if you have an Android phone or Android tablet, you can get it here.

Tip of the Week: More Election Resources Than You’ll Ever Need But Will Probably Look at Anyway

For a former poly sci major, a presidential election year is like one long Super Bowl party. Polls. Data. Ads. Commentary. Analysis. Policy discussions. Lots and lots of analysis. Throw in the Senate and House races – not to mention the state and local stuff going on here in Kansas – and it doesn’t get any better.

And the cool thing is that there are tons of online resources available to help me, you, and your students understand and participate in the process.

Your first step should be to browse through the article titled Have Politics Become So Ugly That Educators Are Afraid To Teach Civics? It might be easier to pretend the election is already over and try to ignore all the ugliness that can happen when we see so much polarization in the process. But we can not ignore our task as social studies educators – preparing students to be thoughtful, engaged, and informed citizens. Read more

Teaching in the time of Trump

Several days ago, I wrote a quick post highlighting seven ways to survive a divisive election while making your students smarter. That post generated an interesting conversation – many teachers began asking similar kinds of questions. Specifically . . . how can we teach diversity and tolerance when much of the campaign rhetoric directly challenges these very American values while at the same time maintaining a neutral political stance?

A recent article in the National Council for the Social Studies journal Social Education can help us address this concern. Titled Teaching in the Time of Trump by Benjamin Justice and Jason Stanley, the NCSS article provides context, rationale, and specific suggestions for focusing on American democratic values and process.

The article is an incredibly useful teaching tool but it also provides a powerful reminder of our fundamental task. Head over to get the full text but I’ve pasted some snippets below to provide some flavor of what Justice and Stanley have to say.

Teaching in the time of Trump raises a fundamental pedagogical question: is it permissible for a teacher to adopt a non-neutral political stance in the classroom, either through explicitly addressing the problems with Trump’s rhetoric or, conversely, by remaining silent in the face of it? How can teachers balance the much cherished value of political impartiality (protecting the students’ freedom of expression and autonomous political development) against the much cherished American values threatened by Trumpish demagoguery?

Why should we even worry about this? Read more