Yesterday I spent a few minutes on a quick rant blaming laptops and mobile devices for being the reason for the terrible KC Royals pitching, destroying the rainforest, causing the downfall of the Roman Empire, and ruining your students’ educational experience.
Okay. Mostly just the student educational experience thing.
A brief recap. Research is suggesting that when college students use technology to capture lecture notes, both short and long term learning declines when compared to students who captured lecture notes using the old fashioned paper and pencil method. Tech tools seem to encourage verbatim note-taking that focuses on capturing every word rather than on capturing only information that is important – on copy and pasting rather than evaluating and summarizing. Paper and pencil force the student to make decisions about what’s important and then to transform that information into a personal version of the lecture or video.
It’s this personalizing feature of paper and pencil that improves retention and learning.
And, yes, it’s college kids not K-12. And, no, you don’t lecture all of the time. But I’m gonna suggest that the experiences of middle and high school students would not be that much different from the college kids cited in the research.
So using tech to take notes is bad. Now what? Read more
Three years ago, Mary J. Johnson, an educational consultant to the Library of Congress, created a two part article on the Teaching with the Library of Congress blog highlighting primary source integration strategies. The first post of the two-part series offered ten suggestions for filling your room with engaging primary sources. I’ve adapted her second post highlighting ways that primary sources promote systematic critical thinking and posted it below. These are starting points for you to adapt for your own grade level and content area.
The point? That the Library of Congress needs to be one of your go-tos, must use, constant companion tool of choice.
(And when you’re done here, be sure to head over and bookmark the excellent LOC blog Teaching with the Library of Congress.) Read more
Three years ago, Mary J. Johnson, an educational consultant to the Library of Congress, created a two part article on the Teaching with the Library of Congress blog highlighting primary source integration strategies. I’ve adapted and posted Part One below.
As a teacher, you can saturate your classroom with primary sources from the Library of Congress to promote critical thinking and inquiry. Think of every surface, including computer screens, as potential display spaces for primary sources – photographs, cartoons, music, films, maps, historic newspapers, artifacts, and more. Add document analysis sheets and critical thinking prompts from the Library’s page for teachers, and you’ll have a constant source of primary source conversation starters at your fingertips.
But what are some specific strategies for introducing primary sources to students? Let’s start with these ten: Read more
In Kansas, one of our state standards focuses on the idea that choices have consequences. Our document encourages teachers to use strategies that help kids to “identify and defend a variety of possible causes of events, and the resulting consequences, encourages appropriate decision-making and helps students understand the complexity of the various disciplines.”
And one of the tools I urge teachers to use as part of the learning process is the simple timeline. They might seem like super basic things but timelines truly are powerful strategies for helping kids understand cause and effect and context. They’re also great for building the ability to evaluate and analyze choices.
And there is absolutely nothing wrong with the old fashioned paper and pencil timeline.
But . . . I have been a big fan of the HSTRY timeline tool ever since it came out several years ago.
HSTRY may be one of the best digital learning tools you’ll run across. It is just that cool. Simple description? HSTRY is a web-based service that encourages both teachers and students to create their own interactive timelines that support collaboration and the use of multimedia elements. Read more
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