I had the opportunity to run into Ashley Naranjo and Darren Milligan last summer at the 2016 ISTE conference during their rollout of the new Smithsonian Learning Lab. And I was blown away. Seriously.
And, yes, Ashley and Darren were incredible. They’ve got the chops. But it was the Learning Lab and all of its cool tools that really got me fired up. I was literally writing a blog post during their presentation.
At the time, I said:
This will change how you and your kids collect, organize, share, and analyze primary evidence. It is seriously that good.
And after getting the chance to talk with them via Skype two days ago, I remain blown away. The Smithsonian Learning Lab truly can and should change how we do our jobs. At its core, the Lab is an online storage facility for 2,000,000 Smithsonian primary sources that gives you the opportunity to access those sources, organize them into collections, and share those collections with students.
And wait for it.
Your kids can do the same thing. So whether it’s you who creates the collection or your students do it, the Lab is a powerful way of curating resources. And it’s done in a beautiful, image driven environment that encourages users to make sense of the past and apply it to contemporary issues in ways not possible even five years ago.
So if you haven’t had a chance to experience the sweetness that is the Learning Lab, Read more
Over the last few months, I’ve tried to be more intentional about listening to and creating more podcasts. I’ve always loved the concept of podcasts – accessing content, anywhere, anytime. Tons of people have shared with me that they love listening to podcasts while they drive places.
That’s not something I can do – listening to stuff while I drive just ends sounding like the adult voices in the Peanuts shows. I get nothing. But if that works for you . . .
Because podcasts are more than just something for us to use as a way to kill time during a commute. Podcasts can also act as a great way to connect content with students and for students to demonstrate knowledge / skills.
So. Podcasts good.
And this morning, Read more
Podcasts used to be a big deal. Then they weren’t. Now . . . they’re back. Yup. Podcasts are a thing again. Ten, fifteen years ago, podcasts were the shiny tool that was going to change the world. Replace sliced bread. Find a way for the Kansas City Chiefs to make the playoffs.
And for a few years, the podcast did all of those things. Then, maybe because of the learning curve needed to create them and a lack of mobile devices that made them easy to listen to, podcasts sort of just went away. But with the rise of easy to use creation tools and the huge growth of handheld smart devices, the podcast is making a comeback.
That’s good news for history and social studies teachers. We can get smarter listening to them and our kids can get smarter when we use them as instructional tools. (Plus you get to align your instruction to Common Core literacy skills such as speaking and listening.) Not sure what podcasts really are? Or not sure how to use them in your classroom? Or what it might look like if you did?
If you aren’t already listening to and using history podcasts, here are nine pretty good places to start. You’ll get smarter and have fun all at the same time.
I get the chance to work with all sorts of extraordinary people doing what I do.
Today you meet one.
Don Gifford is the Social Studies Consultant for the Kansas Department of Education and is responsible for the coordination of social studies standards, assessment, and instruction in the state. He spends much of his time working with Kansas districts and teachers to improve teaching and learning.
He’s been herding cats for the last 18 months getting the new state standards written and approved by the state Board. And as a member of the herd, I know how hard that has been! In this podcast, Don talks about the new standards, the perfect social studies classroom, and shares two pieces of advice.
I had a great time talking with Mary Madden from the Kansas Historical Society earlier this week. Mary is the Director of Education and is a phenomenal resource for anyone teaching Kansas or American history.
In this short interview, Mary and I talk about the very cool KSHS Read Kansas card program, weird donations including the bones of Bloody Bill Quantrill, and some of the favorite parts of her job. Be sure to check out the links below to find even more stuff!