In this digital curriculum project, students learn about different political ideologies, how bills are lobbied (or marketed) to lawmakers and to the public. Using this information, students are given the opportunity to create a law that addresses a social justice issue. This project is introduced in the last few slides (including a rubric for the assessment and the project details), but there are formative assessments throughout the lesson to ensure students have the necessary background knowledge to complete the project.
Also available here:
As someone who takes a lot of pictures, I enjoyed the instagram project a lot. In fact, I think this was my favorite project of the course. I was using instagram for about a year prior to this course, but never considered its educational value. After reading the articles by Caitlyn Tucker, and others, I do believe that I could teach students with instagram. One reason I like it for the educational value is that it provides students a discovery-type education and gives them ownership of their project way more than a worksheet might. Additionally, students are natural and comfortable using instagram. Showing them that they might use it to learn something will rock their world. In my instagram project/storify, I tried to provide an accurate depiction of my life and how my time is spent. I’m at school teaching or learning 75% of the time, grading and lesson planning another 15%, then maybe hanging out with my dog and girlfriend the remainder. This was a nice way to look at other students’ projects and learn about them and their lives. I think I will use this as an icebreaker for my students next semester. I think they’ll really enjoy making the instagram project, and storify is a great way to exhibit their stories.
Here's the app smash I made showcasing the utility of Quizlet! I love this tool!
Here is my story told through my instagram photos. It's mostly related to schooling and work, because that is, after all, what consumes the vast majority of my life. Enjoy!
"Knowledge is concerns fact and can be either true of false, while belief is always open to interpretation." I chose this quote because I thought this distinction was interesting. It got me to thinking about why this disconnect exists. That is, why do people believe things based on facts?
Question: the book points out that students couldn't locate Iraq on a map when the prompt was merely that. But when given a computer, they could, even showing aerial views, street views, etc. My question is: so what? Of course they can find it when they use technology and look it up. don't students still need to know where it is in their head without having to look it up? It's analogous to saying that students don't need to learn math because now we have calculators.
Connection: This reminds me of Will Richardson's "Why School" book/TED Talk. Richardson emphasizes the need to teach skills and less knowledge. He frames it such that we should not teach things that are "easily google-able."
Aha/epiphany: The aha moment for me came at the end of the chapter where it describes how students reach a greater understanding of something which exceeds a surface level knowledge. My own epiphany was that students need an epiphany in order to get that depth of understanding. I think the easiest way for that to happen is for them to connect it to their lives and realize the relevance of what they're learning.
Quote: "Through participation in sicuak network sites...as well as instant and text messaging, young people are constructing new social norms and forms of media literacy..." I chose this quote because I have noticed this with my student teaching. I graduated from high school ten years ago, but the proliferation and pervasiveness of social media in kids' lives has changed them so much in such a short amount of time.
Question: How do I push students through these phases of their technological development? How can I, as their teacher, help them to get to the geeking out level?
Connection: This reminds me of the video "visitor or resident" that we watched on youtube. The chapter and the video both are aboutt how often, to what extent, and in what ways do you use technology. The chapter gets into how the more one uses technology the more proficient and adept you become.
Aha - I reached my Aha moment as I read about the difference between hanging out and messing around, which is the development of personal agency. The author quoted in the book says that it's about students pursuing things of personal interest. I realized as I read this that even if students aren't always learning history, they may using and strengthening the skills I have taught them. I might give them the skills to analyze a primary source, for instance, but allow them the freedom to find their own primary source (history or otherwise) to use these skills.
Quote: "tacit learning functions most effectively when students discover their own learning objectives." I chose this quote because I think it's sometimes counter-intuitive to us as teachers, especially in the traditional sense
Question: My question concerns something that the author wrote about games. After describing some people's dislike for games like Grand Theft Auto and other first-person shooter games, he says that "new research shows that games can in fact aid learning." So the question is: Doesn't the type of game matter what and how much students learn?
Connection: I could relate parts of this chapter to the New York Times article "How to get a Job at Google." In the article, it highlights the importance of students having ownership, which is of course exactly what happens in the World of Warcraft game that chapter 9 describes. Students want to reach the end of the task and take pride in the final product-- either in class or in the game -- when they take ownership.
Aha/Epiphany: My last epiphany for the book came when, appropriately, I read the last line in the book. It says, "And where imaginations play, learning happens." I started to wonder how I can utilize students' imagination in my history classroom. I realized that I can have students create "historical fiction" stories that utilize the information that they've learned in my class. They could create stories that take place in the time period with the same historical figures. This would allow them the "play" that the book describes.
Quote: “In the new culture of learning, people learn through their interaction and participation with one another in fluid relationships…” I chose this quote because it represents much of what I seek to do in my classroom. I have students work in groups probably 75% of the time to encourage this sort of exchange.
Question: How do you get students to share equally in the work, the discussion, etc? There is so often students who use groups to be lazy or just want to dominate because they don’t trust their peers to do work well.
Connection: In the Global Achievement Gap, the author highlights the need for students to learn skills of collaboration and being able to work together in a productive way. So many jobs involve projects that require teams of people to come together to solve a problem, and students must be prepared for this. It’s part of our job as teachers to give them skills for life after high school.
Aha/epiphany: I’ve been thinking a lot about how to use blogs and things like it in my classroom. I’m trying to figure out what is the best way to execute this sort of work. My aha moment came when I read the line from this chapter that says, “blogs are a medium for learning, but they do not teach.” This enlightens me how I want to use blogs. They should be means by which for students to share with one another, but they do not teach them. The teacher must use blogs to show students how they can interact with and learn from one another.
Quote: “Critics fear that as a result [of our digital transparency] we are losing a valuable distinction in how we think of our lives and how we share things with others.” I chose this because it resonates with how I feel about using digital media and the societal shift more generally to a liberalization of personal data.
Question: The chapter seems to highlight many of the positives of sharing our lives through digital media. My question is: What downsides are there? How do we prevent things like identity theft by criminals and/or the government?
Connection: The connection I made between this chapter and the book relates to the part on blogging. The book describes the authorship of a blog as transformed “in a way that recognizes the participation of other as fundamental to the process.” The connection I made to this was to this class. This class has made blogging an integral part. We read, we blog about it, but the point is to foster a discussion among peers. There are opinions and thoughts about videos and readings that evoke feelings and thoughts in others, who then comment on your blog.
Aha/epiphany: Much of this chapter provided me with a “hmmm..” moment. I think there is a certain extent of, in my opinion, oversharing that goes on in the internet. Sometimes, this creates a liability in terms of one’s susceptibility to identity theft. So I wonder what the balance is. I read this chapter with some skepticism. Does someone that doesn't embrace the new social media/digital learning landscape position themselves at a disadvantage? Can we accept that someone doesn’t want their information out there in the ether and make accommodations? Or are they luddites who will necessarily learn less because of their reluctance?
Quote: “Explicit knowledge...lends itself well to the process of teaching--that is, transferring knowledge from one person to another. You teach and I learn.” I chose this quote because its an interesting to consider as a teacher of history. Certainly the history we teach is stable, so I think our focus should be on skills.
Question: How do we teach students to inquire about things that they don’t really care about?
Connection: The connection I made to this was to the video about Google’s 20% project. Teaching students to inquire and to follow passions allows them to discover and learn on their own.
Aha/epiphany: I like the part about giving students a resource of the internet and students meandering along finding bits of info and producing a haphazard result. My aha moment was realizing that students really need a curated list of sources to use for research. Students are not yet capable of being handed a large resource and sifting through it for the good information. This is a skill that needs to be taught. For a while, though, students need help finding important information and putting it together in a coherent way.
Quote: "By googling the error, he was able to tap into -- large, diverse programmers and hobbyists who all faced similar issues, he often found solutions that would allow him to complete his project."
I like this quote because it puts the onus for learning on the learner and teaches independence and responsibility.
Question: Are there any legitimate computer-type games that I can use in the classroom?
Connection: I connected with Allen's story as the computer programmer. He was mostly self taught through googling, reading, and doing his own research. The reason that I connect with this is because I have also learned a lot myself about history, my subject area, through reading, studying and other self-teaching means.
Aha/Epiphany: I had an “epiphany” when I read the part about “Diabetes Daily.” The section of the book talks about an online community that shares “experiences, insights, successes, failures..” This would be an amazing resource if I could repurpose this for a classroom purpose I realized. What if I could get students to interact with each other online discussing a book or how they felt about something they read or did in class. They could use each other as a resource.
Quote: “[Culture] thrives on change, integrating it into its process as one of its environmental variables and crating further change.”
Question: How has technology made it more possible for us to teach students not "about the world" but to "engage with the world?" What has technology fundamentally changed that made this new approach possible?
Connection: The New Culture of Learning describes the old model as, "...a series of steps to be mastered." This is a lot like Tony Wagner's book and how he describes the rigid, inflexible attitude of curricula and teachers. Wagner looks at old school teachers the same way and criticizes them for not adapting to this "new culture of learning" that centers on engagement.
Aha/Epiphany: This chapter mentions the role change teachers are having and how they're becoming more facilitators than anything. My aha moment was realizing that the students have so much "information" at their fingertips, what they need is that facilitator - someone to guide them through it.
Quote: "It took 70 years to go from the first color signal to widespread adoption of color TVs." I chose this quote because I think it does an excellent job of underscoring the slow pace of change for people and especially as it relates to TVs.
Question: My question is related to my quote. How do you get people to change more quickly? Humans seem to have a natural proclivity toward inertia and the status quo, how do we as teacher change this?
Connection: This chapter also reminds me of The Global Achievement gap. Wagner talks about how slow we all have been to change and give students more "real world" skills, rather than the drill and kill model.Wagner laments the AP tests especially, which have not really changed alongside technology.
Aha/Epiphany: This time it's more of a "hmmm" moment. The author writes that "embracing change is looking forward to what is next." And that, "The 21st century is all about embracing change." It's not that I disagree with this, and as a young person, I would certainly like to see some of the changes the author advocates. But there still seems like there are numerous obstacles like parents, old school administrators, and more that might hinder the "embracing" of change. Since the author doesn't offer much advice on getting past these sorts of obstacles, my "hmmm" moment is pondering my own way of getting around this issue.
I read this article about student engagement. The reflection prompt was: What are you doing to engage your students? Which 3 can you commit to implementing and why?
The author here has an interesting tale of her childhood and her experiences growing up with a singular storytelling perception. I happen to agree strongly with her arguments. Monocultural societies have numerous issues that pluralist ones do not, and this is a mere variation on the point the Adichie makes in her TED talk. I think this is true for education. Students need multiple perspectives not only to better understand the content, but also to expand their horizons and learn to empathize among other things. I teach history, so I always try to have students analyze separate accounts of the same event, compare/contrast, and decide which one is more reliable and explain why. It's an essential skill for students and also helps them learn the content in a more comprehensive way.
The readings and the videos we've viewed in class are intended to give us many different takes on education reform. I believe that the author's point in seen here in that we -- students of this class -- benefit from seeing numerous ideas and perspectives on education reform. Through seeing these varied viewpoints, we create our own -- usually a synthesized version of the ones we like that is also inclusive of our own preëxisting ideas.
I also read an article about a Spanish teacher using instagram. The prompts were: What are you doing to engage your students? Which 3 can you commit to implementing and why?
I utilize a lot of these "engaging" strategies in my classroom. I bring in visuals all the time. The first semester I underestimated how much kids like and rely on visuals. I'm not a visual learner myself, so it wasn't intuitive for me. I often give students choices, but not as often as I should. I clearly love what I do. I don't think students have any question about that.
I'm going to commit to using technology more often. I'm going to seek out schools that technological resources for employment. I work currently at a school whose internet is so ungodly bad that you can barely stream videos, and the signal doesn't reach all parts of the campus. I find this very limiting. I will also commit to more real world, project-based learning. This will begin with a current events project so that students can make the connections on their own. As it is currently, my students don't really know anything about what's going on in the world today. They don't watch, read, or in any way consume the news. So I will commit to having students work with peers doing real world projects that involves technology.
The instagram project looks like fun. It helps prepare students to prepare to participate in a global society by having them share photos with an international audience and them interacting with the followers. I would argue, though, that students don't need help participating in such activities, as this is something they already spend an hour a day doing. It's not to say that projects like this don't have value, just that to the extent that they aid students' ability to interact with foreign students, I do not believe they need teachers' help. Projects like this do, however, successfully encourage students to collaborate and innovate. Students choose their own projects and this gives them ownership and pride in the resulting product. Students have a hard time collaborating, so I like the instagram project for that reason. The way I see students "collaborate" in my classroom involves students who assign one another a section of the work and then trade once they're done and copy each others' answers. There is no dialogue, no actual "collaboration." So I hope to incorporate projects like this into my own classroom.
I read this article about Catlin Tucker's instagram project as well, responding to these questions:How does this challenge help prepare students to participate in a global society? How do these teachers empower collaboration and innovation?
I also like this instagram project, and instagram in general. For my personal use, it filters out a lot of the nonsense from facebook -- ads, silly lists from buzzfeed, quizzes, inane games like farmville, and mundane updates from "friends -- and provides just pictures and a short caption. I like the idea of doing a scavenger hunt, but I am not sure how I would use this in the classroom. Students would love it, obviously. But what can I do without taking a field trip? I suppose students could search for pictures of something on the internet, but without a really, really good debriefing activity at the end, I do not think that this would be useful for my class.
Lastly, I read an article about universities using instagram for educational purposes. In my response, I considered how these teachers have leveraged the social networking tool Instagram. I also responded to the prompt: Do you agree that these uses are transforming instruction and engagement in the classroom? How do these articles align with your beliefs about education?
Unlike some of the other uses of instagram, I find this one to have real usability in my classroom. I hadn't thought of setting up an account for the entire class, but I think students would like it. Instagram uses like this could transform instruction and engagement, but it requires excellent execution by the teacher. The teacher would have to talk about the picture he put up, have a student explain its significance, and make sure that the students who listened really grasped the concept. It's not enough to merely post a picture on instagram and call it an engaging, transformative instructional strategy. If the teacher just posts pictures and then the next day comes to class telling students about it, then it's not engaging; it's the same top-down teaching that students are already accustomed to just done in a different way.
I do believe that these articles align with my belief about education. Using instagram in a way that surprises students makes it a more natural thing to learn. That is, students already use instagram daily, why not show them that it can be used for education as well? Students will love the novelty. It fits their daily life and habits, so it is a more natural way for them to learn.