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.

Class 10: The Flipped Lesson

The traditional classroom is filled with a lot of lower-order, information transmission that can be-off loaded to “homework” via content-rich websites and videos. That frees up more classroom time as a center for student interaction, production and reflection.

While some may think flipping is all about watching videos, it’s really about creating more time for in-class student collaboration, inquiry, and interaction.

Designing a flipped lesson begins with thinking about what’s the best use of classroom time.

Flipping content is also a catalyst for transforming the teacher from content transmitter to instructional designer and changing students from passive consumers of information into active learners taking a more collaborative and self-directed role in their learning.

Over the first 9 weeks of this class, I have used video tutorials to pre-teach material using a flipped approach. For example here’s a sample of a TEDed video lesson we used earlier in the course to teach historical thinking skills.

I’ve also used short tutorial screencast to provide specific just in time training for students as needed. This has freed up class time since we haven’t had to teach for example, how to use WordPress.

I’ve sent a link out to students to watch the slide deck in advance of today’s class. So we’ll spend time exploring two options to create content. Students will be asked to design a flipped lesson during this class using one of the following methods.

Use TEDed to host existing YouTube content

Teacher can use existing videos on TEDed and YouTube to create customized lessons. They can use, tweak, or completely redo any lesson featured on TEDed, or create lessons from scratch.  Visit this YouTube Playlist to a few short tutorial videos on using TEDed.

Create your own screencast to share with students

There are many free and easy to use apps for creating screencasts. One option is the free Snagit Chrome extension for screen casting (great for Chromebook schools). For our class activity we’ll be using the  QuickTime Player app built into Macs.  Here’s a how to video tutorial on creating a screencast with QuickTime Player.

Assignment for Class 11

Students will design a lesson using one of the two methods above. They will then write a blog post that showcases their flipped lesson and reaction to designing it. Feel free to generalize on the challenges and opportunities of flipped delivery of course content. See student posts here.

Students that develop a screencast can upload and host the video on Media@UP edMethods Flipped Lessons.

Students that use TEDed for lesson design can include a link to their TEDed lesson in the blog post.

Class 4: Historical Thinking

PhrenologyPixOur class begins with a review of the Sam Wineburg reading and TEDEd flipped lesson Who is the historian in your classroom? That will also provide a chance to discuss the efficacy of flipping content.  What are the challenges and opportunities for that approach?

Today we begin our study of historical thinking skills based on the work of Sam Wineburg and the Stanford History Education Group (SHEG). We will focus on three key skills – Sourcing, Contextualizing and Corroborating. See historical thinking chart (pdf at SHEG).

Assignment for Class 5

You will each design a historical thinking mini-lesson based on the Beyond the Bubble assessment model.

We will use this assignment as a chance to create a shared Google presentation. I’ve prepared some brief Google Presentation video tutorials. You can find them at this YouTube playlist / Working with Google Slides.

Here’s the Fall ’14 project that you can look at (but not edit). Can you do better?

Note: each of you will be contributing to the same Google Slides presentation. I’ve listed your names in alphabetical order in the presentation. You will turn that name placeholder slide into your mini-lesson title slide. You will insert additional slides in your section of the presentation as needed.

All mini lessons should include

  1. Title slide for your mini-lesson. Make it catchy!
  2. Your name as author of the mini-lesson on your lesson title (your lesson will take multiple slides in the presentation – have your name in small font at bottom of each slide)
  3. Target students – by grade level
  4. Indication of one (or more) of the historic skills to be studied – Sourcing, Contextualization, Corroborating
  5. One or more historic documents. Text, image and videos can be inserted into the slide. Longer documents can be linked to via URL or saved in Google drive with link to it.
  6. Source URLs for all documents used
  7. Essential question
  8. Scaffolding questions for students to use with documents
  9. Brief description of how the documents and scaffolding questions should reinforce the targeted historic skill(s)

I’ve collected some great websites that include many of the major archives from around the world.

Best Sites for Primary Documents in World History

Best Sites for Primary Documents in US History

Image credit: Phrenology diagram Wikipedia
Source From People’s Cyclopedia of Universal Knowledge (1883)

Effective Tech in the Connected Classroom

up-tech-talkI recently was a guest on the UP Tech Talk Podcast produced by University of Portland’s Academic Technology Services and hosted by Maria Erb (Instructional Designer) and Sam Williams (Dir of Academic Tech Services). Kudos for the great ATS podcast studio!

What’s the least amount of technology you could use to get the job done.

We had a lively 18 minute discussion about my UP social studies methods class and technology’s role in instructional design – it opened like this …

Maria: Peter, so glad to have you on the podcast. We just had a great conversation … you managed to rattle off probably half a dozen Web 2.0 tools that you’re using just like you were a fish swimming in water; it just seems so easy and natural for you. I’m just wondering, how do you go about choosing which tools you’re going to use for these great projects that you’re working on? What piques your interest?

Peter: I think it really begins with seeing yourself as a designer of a learning experience. You work with the tools you have and with the setting you have. You’ve got X number of students; you’re meeting once a week; you’ve got three hours with them. You think about the instructional goals that you want to achieve, and then from there, you say, okay, so what kind of tools are out there. For example, there was a situation where I wanted them to collaborate and design some lessons. I wanted them to be able to share their work with one another and be able to comment on it. I also think it’s important that there always be a public product, because I think we find our students producing content for their instructor as opposed to … which is kind of a ritualized thing as opposed to real-world content.

And ended with this exchange …

Sam: Are there any words of wisdom around it’s not about the technology that you could leave us at the end of this podcast?

Peter: I would say the big question is what’s the least amount of technology you could use to get the job done. Taking something and making it prettier by putting it on a white board when you could have written it up on the chalk board really doesn’t get you anywhere. I think that the transformative part of technology is getting it in the hands of the students so that they can research and create and produce in ways you couldn’t do without it. For me, those are the essential elements that I’m looking at, not simply just something that’s a bright shiny object.

Text transcript (word file) | Show notes and links | Podcast at iTunes: #12

The University of Portland uses the SmartEval system to gather student feedback on courses and faculty. Here’s a few comments from my UP students that are relevant to this podcast:

  • Peter challenged us to think and be designers of curriculum, instead of just lecturers. We learned how to get students working and thinking critically in the classroom.
  • I liked that the focus of the class was on making a product.
  • He also showed us how to move from the lecture mode to engaging students as architects in their own learning process.
  • Very well connected with other educators on Twitter. He has promoted every student in the class using his connections to help us build professional connections and build a professional online presence.

Originally posted at Copy / Paste Jan 21, 2015