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Posts tagged ‘social networks’

10 Must Like Facebook Pages for Social Studies Teachers

It seems like everyone has a Facebook page. Companies, organizations, schools. I’m pretty sure my Jack Russell terrier has her own page. So where to start? Are there pages worth liking? Try the 10 below:

1. Library of Congress
The Library’s mission is to make its resources available and useful to the Congress and the American people and to sustain and preserve a universal collection of knowledge and creativity

2. US National Archives
The official Facebook page for public news and events at the National Archives.

3. Today’s Document
A great way to access the daily primary document posted by the National Archives.

4. Smithsonian Institution
The world’s largest museum complex & research organization composed of 19 museums

5. National Museum of American History
The National Museum of American History collects, preserves and displays American heritage in the areas of social, political, cultural, scientific and military history.

6. Civil War 150
Explore the 150th anniversary of the Civil War through the collections of the Smithsonian Institution.

7. NY Times Disunion Civil War
The Disunion series from The New York Times revisits and reconsiders America’s most perilous period. It will use contemporary accounts, diaries, images and historical analysis to follow the Civil War as it unfolded.

8. National History Day
The Official Page for National History Day! NHD makes history come alive for America’s youth by engaging them in the discovery of the historic, cultural and social experiences of the past.

9. Williamsburg for Teachers
The department of Education Outreach is dedicated to bringing the Colonial Williamsburg Foundation to new and distant audiences. Through the Electronic Field Trip Series, Teacher Institute, off-site teacher development programs, and curriculum for grades K-12, Education Outreach reaches thousands of teachers and students every year.

Williamsburg has tons of other pages on Facebook. Check ’em out here.

10. Edutopia
Edutopia is where The George Lucas Educational Foundation’s vision to highlight what works in education comes to life. Edutopia provides stories integrating creative uses of technology with effective teaching and learning.

Bonus Page
Facebook in Education
Facebook in education examines ways in which Facebook is being used in an educational context.

Want more?

On each page, click the Info link on the left-hand side. Scroll down and see what other Facebook Pages are “liked” by the page you’re on. Crazy amounts of more stuff.

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Not Yet Convinced about Not Even Past

Mmm . . . got an email several days ago announcing the debut of a new web site published by the Department of History at the University of Texas at Austin.

Titled Not Even Past after the famous William Faulkner quote

The past is never dead. It’s not even past

the site claims to

speak to everyone interested in the past and in the ways the past lives on in the present.

The authors go on to suggest:

History leaves no life untouched and the story of every life deserves to be told. Not Even Past is, first and foremost, a home for these stories. It is also a place for all who are interested in history to meet one another and share their viewpoints, to learn what books and films historians are reading and watching, and to gather perspectives on national, international, and Texas events of contemporary interest.

And so far, it’s a good start.

Not Even Past is broken up into several different sections including:

  • Read
  • Watch
  • Discover
  • Listen
  • Texas

Each section looks at different events through different media – Read equals book review, Watch equal video overviews . . . you get the idea. The concept is a good one.

Create a place for history people to get together and talk history stuff.

But I would have liked a bit richer and deeper selection. Most of the sections contain a very limited number of goodies. I could have also done without the Texas section but like they say, “it’s a whole ‘nother country” so . . . And I understand it’s a university history department but it wouldn’t hurt to be a bit more K-12 friendly.

That said, I do think it will become a very useful place for history geeks to hang out, read new things, learn new stuff and meet other history geeks. I especially like their idea of offering virtual “classes” that provide a different way of discussing history and history books.

The site’s got a large-ish team of folks working to create content and it will continue to get better. Head over, register and join the conversation.

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National Archives – Eyewitness Online Exhibit

Over the last few years, the National Archives has been working hard to connect their content with users outside of their traditional brick and mortar buildings. They have Facebook pages, Flickr accounts, Twitter feeds, RSS feeds, YouTube channels and numerous blogs.

Its Education Page is wonderful and NARA has consistently excellent online resources available through its main web site and on the web sites of its regional offices. I talked about one of my favorite online exhibits, Digital Vaults, several years ago.

Another favorite is an exhibit called Eyewitness.

Gripping eyewitness accounts—in the form of letters, diaries, audio and film recordings—chronicle dramatic moments in U.S. history.

Eyewitness provides a wide range of primary sources from a variety of periods. And NARA has packaged the site using Flash so it’s incredibly easy to find and use the materials.

I was browsing through the collection this morning and ran across John Lewis’s account of his participation in the 1965 march from Selma to Montgomery and the events of Bloody Sunday, March 7, 1965.

His account of the physical and verbal abuse suffered in 1965 would make for an interesting addition to stories published recently concerning the treatment Lewis, now a US representative from Georgia, received during the national health care debates.

The good news about Eyewitness? Tons of great resources.

The bad news? Once you start browsing, it’s tough to leave.

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Aggregating, filtering and connecting is so old-fashioned

It was some time ago that I wrote about The Invention of Air by Steven Johnson. I was impressed with Johnson’s account of Joseph Priestly, a British minister, scientist and political thinker who was also a friend and contemporary of Benjamin Franklin and Thomas Jefferson.
And I had buried much of that stuff deep in the brain until I ran across a recent post on the Innovation Leadership Network. In Networks and the Information Glut, Tim Kastelle and John Steen write about the idea that social networks have always been around and how researchers have used those networks to gather and share information.

When we talk about ’social networks’ we don’t just mean facebook and twitter. People have always functioned within networks, and these have always been important in the development and spread of ideas.

It’s an interesting idea that I tried to articulate back in February 2009. My post was a bit all over the place and wasn’t really laser focused on the idea of social networks. Kastelle and Steen do a much better job of discussing how social networks of all kinds encourage creative thought.

The fundamentals of innovative thought haven’t changed since the 18th Century – it’s always been aggregate, filter and connect. The great thinkers of earlier times corresponded extensively because it helped them aggregate information from a wide variety of disciplines and sources.

I like their wording:

it’s always been aggregate, filter and connect

And they’re right.

Priestly used his connections with Franklin and Jefferson to gather, expand and share his research. We need to find ways to do the same as professionals and as classroom instructors.

If you are not currently part of some sort of Personal Learning Network, you need to be. It’s hard for me to imagine how a history teacher can continue to be effective if they are not connected with like professionals to ask questions, share information and discuss current research. Delicious, Plurk, Twitter, Ning, uStream, SlideShare, LinkedIn and other similar tools can (separately or together) all be pieces of that network.

It’s also hard for me to imagine trying to prepare students for the 21st century without training them to aggregate, filter and connect appropriately. And while the Priestly, Franklin and Jefferson versions of those tools still exist (US postal snail mail, for example), we also need to work to find 21st century tools that students can use.

A couple of suggestions:

  • Low prep?
    Use Delicious to gather and share resources with your kids and train them to do the same.
  • Higher prep?
    Use iPod Touches in the classroom as a relatively cheap way to aggregate data and connect with others.

The basic idea? Use time-tested methods of gathering and sharing information but with 21st century tools. In my earlier post, I said that

maybe all it will take is to become more old-fashioned in our thinking.

Can it be that simple?

Intersection Consulting. “5 Ways to Cultivate an Active Social Network.” 9 July 2009. 25 January 2010.

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“We all need Yodas” – Marco Torres

The TEEN network invited Marco Torres to speak via Skype during its Mashup on Monday. His presentations are pretty similar to other educational gurus (i.e. schools need to change, kids are different, technology for good not evil, etc) but he’s always fun to listen to . . . if for nothing else than his great off-the-cuff comments.

So let ’em begin.

He had teachers describe their curriculum and then asked:

If I can Google everything you just said, what value are you adding to the learning that takes place in your classroom?

He continued on that theme:

Never ask a question a kid can look up – simply knowing the answer is just not enough anymore.

Marco discussed the idea shared by Malcom Gladwell in Outliers that an expert is anyone who has 10,000 hours of practice and played a video during which he asked a grade school kid:

When did you become an expert?

Last week on Friday.

Marco used that clip to intro the idea of Personal Learning Networks:

We all need experts like that kid . . . we all need Yodas in our networks.

He finished the day by showing the Youtube video of FunTwo playing Pachebel’s Canon in D and discussing how many kids learned how to play guitar from that example.

Don’t let school get in the way of learning.

The good news? Great stuff that generated some great conversation in the room.

The bad news? Heard some guy behind me ask:

Does anyone know what the hell he’s talking about?


Oh, well. Baby steps.

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LOC and Facebook

I’m not sure what your mental image is of the Library of Congress. Mine used to be quiet reading room, huge stacks, grumpy shushing gray haired librarians and stuffy atmosphere. (And, of course, that huge underground facility where they stored Indiana Jones’ Ark of the Covenant!)

But my mental image has changed over the last few years. There has been a huge push during the last decade to digitize a huge amount of the information housed in the Library. That push resulted, along other things, in the incredible American Memory site. Resources for educators followed together with goodies for kids and families.

But what has really changed my mental image of the LOC is their push in the last year or so to become fully engaged in the Web 2.0 / social networking world. Library officials announced several months ago the Library’s entry into Facebook.

They are also active on Flickr, YouTube, Twitter, and iTunes U.

And while the Library continues to serve the public in traditional ways, connecting through the Web makes their resources more accessible to you. More importantly, these non-traditional methods make the LOC content more accessible, and much more relevant, to your students.