Reflection on the Creation of a iBook

Painting by John Trumbull
Painting by John Trumbull

The creation of a DBL (Document Based Lesson) has been an interesting one.  Originally, I looked at the task as if I was creating a DBQ (Document Based Question) such as one that would be found on the AP US History test.  However, I soon realized that this is only one aspect of a DBL.  For a DBL to work, the students must answer a general question through the use of very specific source material.  This hindered my generation of ideas with which to create a DBL.  I eventually did decide on a solid topic: The effects that a singular event can have on another event that occurs many decades later.

To answer this question, I am having students examine the Declaration of Independence as compared to the Declaration of Sentiments.  For this I have having the students read sections of each work as well as images depicting the events in question.  The compare and contrast elements of the assignment are meant to help he students come to a deeper understanding that little in history happens in a vacuum.  Almost everything has had some sort of influence acted upon it.

I greatly enjoyed the creating of the iBook because it allows for a degree of creativity.  The use of the iBook medium allows for a more interactive version of a lesson.  The use of scrolling texts widgets allows the writer/teacher to place large snippets of text  in a condensed area.  This allows for the reading to become less daunting than a solid block of static text and it allows the creator to add in additional material—such as images—onto the page.  This makes it so the students don’t have to use only text but can use the text in context/conjunction with the images.

Image credit:  The Declaration of Independence
By John Trumbull  Source

1 to 1 and the Digital History

Samsung Series 3 Chromebook.JPG

Google Chromebook

Technology has begun to find a place in today’s schools.  Computers, once reserved for the library or digital lab, are now a staple of the modern students arsenal.  Many schools have begun experimenting with what is known as a 1 to 1 program.  Such a program—in theory—means that every student in the school is paired with a digital device.  For example, at Roosevelt High School in Portland, OR, many of the students are given iPads to use for their studies.  Those who aren’t given iPads have access to Chromebooks that are located in the classroom.  These devices allow the students to access multiple web-based resources during a lesson.

There are certain advantages to a 1 to 1 style classroom.  One of the advantages is that the students now have access to exponentially larger amounts of information with which to learn from.  It also means that tools such as iBook and Google Docs can be used with greater ease.   Google Docs is extremely useful for when students write essays.  Teachers can not only give corrections but give immediate encouragement to students as they are working.

There are some dangers to using a 1 to 1 classroom.  Standards have to be set concerning student behavior while using their devices.  For example websites such as YouTube and Facebook might be made off limit to students.  Maybe students will not be allowed to use earphones in order to ensure that their auditory attention remains with the teacher.  This can also be assisted by setting rules as to when the devices can be used.   A reliable internet service will also be required.  Some schools may have all the hardware, but because of the constraints of their internet , are limited to what they can do in the classroom.

Flipped Lesson: Ancient Egyptian Hieroglyphics

Image of Hieroglyphics

           The flipped lesson that I have created is on the ancient system of writing known as Hieroglyphics.  This lesson was created using the TedEd software.  A link to the lesson is provided below.

The Odd Writings of Ancient Egypt


            This is has not been the first time I have designed a flipped lesson using the TedEd format.  I had previously used the format for one of my education courses.  I have found that the TedEd format for the flipped lesson is a simple tool for teachers to create lessons for students using already established videos.  This makes it easier for the teacher to gather the appropriate content for the lesson.  TedEd also has a streamline format for the inclusion of questions and discussions that the students can use to begin to dig deeper into a topic rather than just parrot back information.

If I were to use the flipped lesson format, especially the TedEd format, I would use it in a supplementary role or as a means for students to access the material at home.  For example, if a student is absent for an extended period of time, the flipped lesson allows the students catch up with the material that they had missed during that time.  Also, if a student is not grasping lecture material, the use of the video medium can supplement their learning, buttressing what they have learned.


The Technology of History

Classroom Technologies

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

During the week of 10/26 we explored digital means that can be used to diversify our lesson material.  Of particular interest in this class was the use of websites and engines designed to show trends over time.  Such websites include the following: GapMinder, NGram Viewer, and the NYTimes Chronicle.  The trends that these programs are capable of showing are of use to us as educators because it allows show some of the material we would otherwise lecture about.  For example it is one thing to say that the use of various racially charged words spiked during times of strife; however, by using utilizing NGram Viewer to search the collection of digitized literature available through Google it is possible to show this.

I can see these sites being of particular use in an social studies inquiry class because of their ability to coalesce data into an easy to understand format for the students to digest.  An example of this would be if a student wished to examine the origins of certain controversies.  By searching the language of various forms of literature (books, newspapers, magazines and journals) NGram Viewer and NYTimes Chronicle give the students access to what seemed to be hot topics from various periods in our history.

Personally, I greatly enjoyed the use of these tools in class and am going to incorporate them where I can in my various placements.

Despite the amazing things that technology can bring to the classroom we must be wary of its ability to take control of the classroom.  Technology can make things easier but its use needs to be regimented so that it supplements not instructs.  Like I said before, being able to show what you are talking about is a great idea.  That is what technology should be for the classroom.

Image Credit: Hets Virtual Plaza