Struggles of a DBL


For my DBL I designed a lesson that addresses the disaster that happened in the ancient Roman city of Pompeii. Since I am not placed in a history class at the moment I wanted to design my lesson to flow with any history or social studies class that would be studying ancient civilizations or natural disasters. I wanted an interesting lesson that offered a wide range of documents that would allow students to engage fully into the lesson regardless of needs.

Designing a Document Based Lesson, or DBL, has been a great experience. I learned the importance of creating a generative question that serves as a guide for student learning. The hard part was finding documents that best fit this question. I wanted to show the students how devastating the event was and how important it is to look at a variety of sources that are out there. This also puts students into the place of the researcher as they see the evidence that modern historians were faced with in their attempt to understand the catastrophic event.

I struggled with what sources I should attach to this DBL. I wanted a first hand experience of the events along with some “modern” photographs. The hard part for me was finding what photographs I would provide the students for the DBL. There are a lot of photographs out there on Pompeii, of many different artifacts as well as the location itself. I wanted to pick photographs that best capture the event in a student friendly fashion. It was important to include the bread loaf that was fossilized by the ash because it is so relate-able to their lives. I could of simply front loaded a bunch of photographs of fossilized victims of Pompeii; however, I felt that this would just distract the students rather then help them understand the event. This could also have felt very de-contextualized.

If I had to do the DLB again I would like to find a few more documents of related to the event. I am happy with the photographs and video I have. That said, I feel that the for the lesson to be truly complete I would like a few more textual sources for students to go over and maybe contextualize between. I will continue to strive to build lesson that scaffold students knowledge and experience.

Caleb Wilson.

Lancevortex. (2000) Garden of the Fugitives. (Image). Web Accessed November 11, 2015. Retrieved source

Flipped Lesson to Defeat the Manticora Elder Scrolls Online

Prompt: Students were asked to design a flipped lesson and then write a blog post that showcases their flipped lesson and reaction to designing it. 

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Click to play video

Above is a flipped lesson that I designed using Quicktime on a Mac. I used an already uploaded video from youtube featuring the boss fight of the Manticora from Elder Scrolls Online. In my flipped lesson I go over details on how to defeat the boss using the burn method.

I decided to use the Quicktime program because it seemed more suitable for the lesson that I wanted to teach. The program was a bit confusing at first, but this is do to my lack of experience using a Mac computer. After figuring out how the program worked, I am really pleased with the final product. I could see myself using this program again for my classroom. In fact I did a lesson today on how to use a globe in order to answer question about our planets geography. I believed a flipped lesson of this would have been better then me standing in front of the class lecturing for 20 minutes.

The issue I can see with using the flipped classroom method is that if I was just going to play the video in class I might as well lecture. Instead I would want my students to do the lesson at home. This becomes a concern in having my students do the assignment at home, and do they have access in order to do this assignment at home. The flipped lesson using quick time does not take very long to create. If I was going to use this in the future I would write out my question before hand and model the video a few different times.

For a class project for upper grade level I would like them to use Quicktime to create a presentation rather then having them do an oral presentation. I can see using flipped classroom as more of a project base Jig Saw for the students to create rather then something I would use.

Digital History K.O.s Traditional History in Round One

ED 533 digital tools

Prompt: Write a blog post in response to our class on digital history.

With today’s globalized communication, it is not surprising that many of the old educational teaching methods are become a thing of the past. No longer are students needing to memorize details  such facts, dates, concepts, or theories. Instead students have access to all of this information at their finger tips. Electronic devices, whether you like it or not, are attached to most student’s hip. With instant access to the information, why are we so afraid of moving forward and embracing the future of information gathering?

There are several different tools available on the internet that students can use to not only gather information, but compare or share that information in ways that was not possible in the past. Tools like GapMinder, NY Times Chronicle, Twitter, and many other websites allow for this. By using these tools students have a way to compare information in a way and make critical comprehension of relationship between data set that would otherwise never been compared of before. As Historians, it is our duty to question and re-evaluate the past. We must take both old and new data, and examine it in a way to see if concept “X” effect concept “Y”.  As teachers in today’s environment it is more important to teach students to question what they have seen and read about; take the concepts and have a debate with fellow scholars around the world. This kind of debate can be done with Twitter. Students would get more out of lesson if they where forced to defend their reasoning behind a theory that they came up with, than they would by writing a paper about something that happen in the past.  That being said it is still important to not forget to teach students how to hold onto facts and use them in a way not only teaches them, but helps them think critically about the historical evidence.

Benedick, Keven. Image. The Digital Transformation Imperative. Web Access November 1, 2015. Web Retrieved Link

Tablets, Phones, Laptops, Oh My

Prompt:  Assume you have your first full time teaching job and the principal tells you that you’ve been selected to pilot the  “1 to 1 Project.”  What are your thoughts about the opportunities and challenges that  presents?

Computer used at a steel mill in 1962.
UNIVAC computer used in 1960 Census

In the ever expanding world of technology it is no surprise that students and teachers are coming to school with electronic devices that just 10 years ago would have seemed impossible to carry in a backpack or pocket. This ever evolving world of technology is pushing the world of education towards a direction suitable for the next generations of children; this new direction is, of course, a one to one classroom where every student will be equipped with a tablet or laptop, and be able to use that device for learning. In some schools this has already been adopted by some teachers or even whole buildings. In these school the teachers are allowing the students to use technology in order to develop a more complex understanding of the material out there. No longer are students required to know the date of an event, when one can simply Google the answer, and get every piece of information about the topic in front of them in real time.

In my experience, seeing the effects of a one to one classroom, mostly in Language Arts, the students are performing at a higher level of task completion. What I can see is that the one to one doesn’t mean the students are developing a more complex critical thinking ability, but instead they are producing projects that a higher level of overall class completion. Students are already advocating for using technology in every assignment given to them. With programs like Google Classroom teachers are able to post, assign, lecture, keep parents informed, and have an easier time keeping track of students work. This also leads to increased feedback responses from teachers. The issue is cost: who is going to pay for all the computers, tablets, or laptops for each student to have?

In my ideal world of teaching I would like to run a one to one classroom with each student having a personal device such as a Macbook, Chromebook or tablet. In the field of Social Studies it has always been about memorizing information and regurgitating facts. I ask myself why? With WiFi, a student can just Google any answer on their phone. I would rather have the students use information found online to develop a greater understanding of the material and researching methods in order to produce a project that reflects the material and the student’s interest. It would also make the role of my teaching a lot easier. I could post lectures, PowerPoint, notes, assignment, etc… to a class website. This would allow students easy, consistent access to anything that they missed or need a refresher on.

In the world today, I do not see any reason for students not to have access to computers in education. It is future of the next generation and beyond. The more access we giving them now, and skills we teach them, the better off they will be in life.

US Census Bureau. (1960) Image. UNIVAC computer used in 1960 census. Website Retrieved October 25, 2015. Link