Exploring History Vol VI

Exploring History VI

Every semester students publish a collection of historical thinking skills lessons in a showcase. In prior years we used iBooks Author. This year we switched to Microsoft Sway.

Here’s our Fall 2018 showcase.

American Reactions to the Vietnam War 
by Nick Krautscheid

Ending WWII
by Nicole Matier

War and Society
by Gabriel Bruneau

Equality on the Front
by Jana Peters

Westward to Equality
by Jordan Bonnell

Wounded Knee Massacre
by Nick Campagna

Class 14: Course Wrap Up

Today’s class will meet in the digital lab and complete our final projects using Sway. Students will then create one final blog post to showcase their Sway.

This final post should have a catchy title, featured image, brief intro to their lesson and use Sway’s “Visual Link” to to provide a connection to their Sway lesson from the post. See example of Peter’s Sway capture here.

Note: after you click “Get Visual Link” you will have the entire visual link (image and text)  on your clipboard. Just create an insertion point on your new blog post and paste. You will see the image thumbnail and text. The visual link will simply capture the beginning text of your Sway. You can edit that once it’s been inserted into the new blog post. 

Sway Visual link

A few more Sway housekeeping items.

1.  Make sure you have properly cited all content in your Sway. Could be done right at the doc or as endnote list.
2. When you are finished, export your Sway as a PDF and upload to TaskStream for your final assessment.
3. Check the settings for the Sway and make sure you agree with them.
4. Use the “Accessibility Checker” to see what accommodations can be made.  For example: identifying hyperlinks and providing visually impaired visitors alternative text for images.  



4. Be sure your Sway includes  “Lesson Designed by your name” and has a hyperlink back to the your author listing. The link is on the “Student Roster” Page. A “Control” or right click will get you the link to all your posts. (18A-1 through 18-A10)





  1. Complete course assessment at SmartEvals
  2. All blog posts completed – see list here. You should have completed 10 – including the final “Sway” post.
  3. Create a PDF version of Sway and upload to TaskStream for final assessment.


Class 13: Lesson Design With Sway

Today’s class will meet in the Clark Library Digital Lab where we will begin design of our final project – a historical document-based lesson (DBL).

Your DBL will include:

  1. Essential question for student to consider. Open ended, invites discussion / debate. If possible phrase so it continues to be a relevant question.
  2. Introduction of the lesson with brief historical context as needed.
  3. About 5 – 8 related documents (image, text, video, audio) that will assist the students in exploring the essential question.
  4. A scaffolding question for each document to assist the student in examining the document.

We will be using Microsoft Sway as our design tool.

See Peter’s sample DBL made with Sway.

Go to this Sway

Each student will log into their UP Microsoft 365 account and design their own Sway. (They will also invite Peter as a collaborator.)

For assistance using Sway check these resources


Class 12: Teaching with Video

Don't talk, Screencast

Edtech guru, Kathy Schrock defines screencasting as “the capture of the action on a computer screen while you are narrating. Screencasts can be made with many tools and are often used to create a tutorial or showcase student content mastery.” A related practice is slidecasting (creating a PowerPoint or Apple Keynote slideshow and then screencasting your narration of it as it plays on the screen). Here’s my Keynote turned video.

There are many other variations – Paperslide Videos, anyone?

Here’s a few tips for video creation:
  • Keep it simple. Think of audience and purpose. See One Take Video
  • I favor taking complex instructions and turning them into multiple shorter videos covering specific aspects of the task. Some students know one thing and not another. Why make them sit through a long how-to.
  • I use a plug in mic (just a standard iPhone earbud mic works well) rather than the microphone built into my Mac. I do a quick test screencast to check the volume level and mic position first to get sound level right.
  • I first practice the skill a few times to find efficient ways to demonstrate and describe what I am doing.
  • If I will be entering much text as part of the task, I create a text document first so I can copy/paste text into the app I’m demonstrating ( I hate watching videos of people typing.)
  • I make sure any images, websites or other content I will use in the video are readily available.
  • I try and do the screencasts in one take. I don’t worry too much about flubbing words – hey, it’s only a screencast.
Three options for teaching with video – there are many more

Option 1: Screencast with “Loom.” An easy to use Chrome browser plug in – works on any computer or Chromebook. Your video is hosted at Loom.

Loom is a free Chrome browser plug in. To get Loom open your Chrome browser and get the Loom extension here.  It makes it super easy to record using your webcam, screen or both. The resulting video can be embedded into a blog or shared via email or social media. A great way to explain something in a visual way.

Note: Since making this video the embed code is now found by clicking the curved Share Arrow at lower right of video. Then pick </> Embed 

Get Loom embed code

Option 2: Screencast with Quicktime Player (easy and built into Macs). But if you want to post on blog, you need to “host” the video on YouTube.

I typically use Quicktime Player, which is built into the Mac OS. It’s easy to use and quickly uploads to my YouTube account.  Here’s a screencast I made on how to use Quicktime Player to make a screencast. (very meta)

Option 3 – Turn someone else’s video into a lesson

First off – a quick nod to ViewPure – an easy way to share video content with students without “risking” related sidebar content. Click here to “purify” a video.

Here’s two useful video lesson builders.

  1. TEDed – build a lesson around any TEDed original, TED talk or YouTube video. Note you cannot embed a TEDed lesson. So you could get a screenshot and provide a hyperlink.
  2. EdPuzzle – Pick a video, add your magical touch and track your students’ understanding. Create an EdPuzzle account, then turn an existing video into a lesson. You can share the result with an embed code.

Assignment 3: Use video to support a lesson | Completed work

Student’s will use class time to design and create a video supported activity using any of these tools. They will use HTML Snippets (on WordPress) to embed it in a blog post.

Then in your blog post briefly describe:

  1. Audience and purpose: For example, is this to help parents with homework?
  2. How you would integrate it into your lesson: For example, the 1st day of class, I created time to meet individually by using screencast for Adobe Spark Post and WordPress instruction.

Remember, if you use Quicktime Player, they should plan to load it up to your YouTube account. If you use Loom the video hosting is taken care of.

How to use HTML Snippets to Embed External Content on the blog