During the few hours that she has available between reading the Court of Thorns and Roses Series and finishing the Wii Zelda video game, my daughter spends a couple days a week as a volunteer intern at the National Archives Dwight D. Eisenhower Presidential Library in Abilene. She’s had the chance to organize a ton of donated primary sources, catalog teacher materials, and watched a general from Fort Riley’s 1st Infantry Division cut a cake in half with a sword.
So . . . she’s already having a better summer that most of us can hope for.
Today I got an email from her sharing a sweet new online tool that highlights some of NARA’s resources surrounding America’s entry into World War One. (NARA has so many different teacher tools available that it can be difficult keeping up with all of it. It’s nice having a member of the crack Eisenhower staff working on the inside to keep me up to date.) So I figured I’d pass on the NARA goodness.
The United States entered World War One on April 6, 1917. To honor the 100th anniversary, the National Archives created Read more
I love election season.
I hate politicians that say stupid things and do stupid stuff. But I love elections.
Because when you think about, the democratic election process is such an incredibly unique event. Try and ignore for a minute the billion dollars worth of Koch Brothers PAC money and the racist comments and the focus on soundbites and lack of policy discussions that might actually improve lives. And focus instead on the amazing process that ends with a peaceful transfer of power in one of the most powerful countries in the world.
It’s a system that’s worked fairly well for over 200 years.
And we need to continue sharing that idea with our students. The problem? The process is more complicated than it looks. Take, for example, an article describing why Donald Trump really doesn’t have a chance of winning the Republican nomination. Like most things, the political process (especially the primary system) is much more complicated and nuanced than pundits and politicians seem to suggest.
How can we help kids start to understand the process? Use more tech. Specifically, start using mobile apps that simulate the process in ways that make sense. Today you get a few of my new favorites. Read more
With over 1,500,000 apps available in the iTunes App Store and more being added every day, it’s not easy keeping up with the latest iOS tools for social studies. But I’m still a bit surprised that it took a year for me to run across The New Immigrants NYC 1880-1924. When a great app comes out, there’s usually at least a little bit of a buzz. A blog post somewhere. A mention at a conference. A cutting edge teacher tweeting out a lesson plan idea.
But The New Immigrants was released way back in December 2014, a lifetime in the app world, and I just this week ran across it. I know that some of you have probably already been using it but for those of you who haven’t? You need to jump on this because the app is oh so sweet.
Sweet for several reasons. Perhaps the biggest reason is that immigration and refugees and “give me your tired, your poor, your huddled masses” and the principles on which this country was founded are part of the current conversation. One of the most difficult things you are expected to do is to connect past and present – to find ways to help kids see how what happened 120 years ago still has relevance. And having intelligent conversations about how America reacted to immigrants and refugees in her past can lead to intelligent conversations about how she should respond to current immigration and refugee issues.
(The key phrase here being intelligent conversations – a skill that I think could use some improvement considering what we’ve been hearing lately.)
So . . . sweet because it’s relevant.
And doubly sweet because the app uses hundreds of primary sources, great guiding questions, and a focus on using evidence to solve problems to support high-quality historical thinking. Did I mention that the apps is free?
It’s a win / win / win.
Created by the New York City Department of Education, The New Immigrants iOS app includes Read more
Audrey Mullen is a sophomore at Presentation High School in San Jose, California. She started Kite Reviews, an all-student consulting service that provides user reviews of your edtech products. She’s worked with Brainpop, All Can Code, and Readorium.
And she recently posted an article at EdSurge, sharing her thoughts on the use of technology in the high school classroom and the teachers that use it. For those of us on the far side of being a sophomore in high school and who advocate for the effective use of technology as part of instruction, Audrey’s viewpoint should be a vital part of that conversation.
Her article is also a good reminder of how we need to be much more aware of how our decisions impact the actual people who make up our very large customer base. Read the entire article over at EdSurge but here’s a brief teaser of some of her topics: Read more
Back last May, I highlighted three iPad apps that I called the perfect trifecta – apps that focused on the creation of digital products using visuals, text, and audio. One of my favorites on that list is an app called Voice. Voice is a very easy to use tool that captures your voice and overlays that audio on top of images, background music, and transitions.
The end result is a web-based video that can be quickly shared with others. I really love it for end of unit student projects. Simple to use. Lots of copyright free images. Background music built in. A wide variety of transitions and themes. Very slick.
Adobe just released Slate. Read more
The Smithsonian has always been one of my favorite museum / museums. I suppose a person could add up how many museums, exhibits, and collections they have but who has that kind of time?
There is just so much you can interact with onsite but they also have an incredible online presence. And now, via a handy email from the iTunes people, I just found out that they’ve entered the mobile app world.
The iTunes App Ripped Apart: A Civil War Mystery is their latest cool tool. From the app description:
Ever wondered what it’s like to work at the Smithsonian? With the sudden and curious departure of her last intern, Museum Curator Isabella Wagner needs your help solving a mystery dating back to the Civil War. Could there be ghosts trapped in the basement of the National Museum of American History? Read more