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
Some things just don’t make sense when we first try wrapping our heads around them. The balloon should move backwards like everything else in the car. Working together to solve a problem makes sense. Chilling water at 150 degrees to 32 degrees should be harder to do than chilling water that starts at 75 degrees.
Only it’s not.
How about this one?
- Ed tech is good for kids. Except when it’s not.
The whole point of History Tech is focused on finding ways to integrate technology into social studies best practices. Ed tech is a good thing. Ed tech can be used to support data collection and analysis, critical thinking, collaboration, problem solving, communication. It’s a good thing.
Except when it’s not.
Recent research seems to suggest that there are times when using technology Read more
No real theme here today at all. Other than I’ve been reading this stuff. And, yup, I’m smarter now than I was before.
Part of what I get to do is spend time browsing the Interwebs finding tools and resources that would be useful for history and social studies teachers. Sometimes I find new stuff like the very cool Smithsonian Learning Labs and sometimes I just keep going back to the classics.
Russel Tarr is one of the classics. His Active History site (along with his ClassTools and Tarr’s Toolbox) always has some new strategy or tool that I haven’t seen and it’s always something useful. I’m really not sure how he finds time to actually teach but he’s been doing this for almost twenty years.
He has a degree in Modern World History from Lady Margaret Hall, Oxford University and is currently Head of History at the International School of Toulouse, France. On his free time, he delivers training courses to history teachers in the UK and Europe, writes regularly for the national and international press on historical and educational issues, and is a prominent figure in the educational community on Twitter – where he is one the most followed history teachers in the world.
All of this to say that he knows what he’s talking about. And it just got better. Tarr recently published a book titled A History Teaching Toolbox: Practical Classroom Strategies.
It’s the perfect resource for busy classroom teachers looking for some new strategies with their students. You’re going to find more than 60 tried and tested activities and approaches organized into helpful categories and explained with step-by-step instructions and topic-specific examples to illustrate how they can be used immediately. A History Teaching Toolbox is written for both new and experienced teachers who want to engage their students in high level thinking and problem-based learning activities.
I ordered a copy last week and I’ve been browsing through it this afternoon. It truly is the type of resource that provides activities and suggestions that any 6-12 social studies teacher could implement tomorrow. It would also be a great book for PLCs and history departments – go through a chapter together, try out a few of the ideas, and come back together to tweak and adapt. I’ve posted a few table of content pics below to give you an idea of the scope Tarr covers in A History Teaching Toolbox.
So you’re gonna want to spend some time at his websites but then head over to Amazon for the old school print. Both totally worth your time.
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
You may have already made the switch. If you have, quietly move along. You’re probably happy with EdPuzzle and there’s nothing to see here.
That leaves two kinds of people. Those of you still be looking for that perfect Zaption replacement. And those of you who never went down the Zaption road at all and have no idea what we’re talking about.
At its most basic level, Zaption was a way for you to take a video clip from a variety of sources including YouTube, Vimeo clip, Khan Academy, and other educational video outlets and add interactive elements such as multiple choice questions, open response boxes, text, images, and drawings. Students responded to the elements you embedded. You tracked their responses using Zaption’s analytics feature. Everybody was happy.
You should have noticed the past verb tense going on. Zaption was a great tool for annotating videos and embedding formative / summative assessments tools into video clips. It was a great example of a push / pull edtech tool – giving teachers a way to push content and assessment out to students and a way for teachers to pull in work back from students.
But Zaption no longer exists, having sold out to something called Workday. No idea what Workday does but what it means for Zaption users is that a very cool tool won’t be available after September 30.
If you’re a Zaption user who hasn’t found a Zaption replacement, I got you covered. And if you never used Zaption but the idea of integrating a very cool push / pull video annotation tool sounds like something you want to take out for a test drive, I’ve got you covered too. Read more