The Internet is Awesome

I love the internet.

It’s true. Sure, just like everything else touched by humanity, the internet has awesome places and very, very dark places. Here are my picks for the best places for personal or educational growth.

Life and Education Inspirations

Planet Money podcast

I can’t get enough of this fantastic podcast. When I first started listening, my knowledge of economics was shakey at best. After listening for 4 years, I can understand conversations about quantitative easing, discuss the global impact of cotton subsidies and can identify the “new” ways to hit the top of the pop music charts. The bite-size 20 minute segments twice a week make listening manageable.

This year I asked my grade 12 Challenge and Change students to use analyze an episode and apply a socio-/psycho-/anthro- logical lens. They ate it up like candy. Many have become obsessive listeners. (assignment here: Plant Money podcast analysis.)

This American Life podcast

This show from NPR is representative of all that is good in public radio. Clever reporting, heartbreaking and heartwarming storytelling and the delightful charm of Ira Glass makes this the best hour on radio ever week. Don’t let the name of this show turn you off, Canadians. These stories are stories of humanity, not just Americans.

bonus: sometimes they have David Sedaris read his stories. *squee!*

The Story Globe is an awesome resource for a geographer like myself. I use it for my Challenge and Change class.

Here are two of my favourite episodes.

TAL500_illustration_by_steve_dressler2_lg_0

#1: Nummi (Episode 403) – if someone had said, “Here’s a really great podcast about a car manufacturing plant, it’s awesome!” I would have laughed in their face. I believe I did (sorry, @gduncanclark). This episode is a testament to the outstanding journalism and storytelling I’ve come to know and love with This American Life. It is a fascinating (and awesome) episode.

#2: I now hesitate to eat calamari at restaurants. Episode 484: Doppelgangers

Sociological Images

I can’t say enough about my favourite website, Sociological Images. This site is curated by Lisa Wade, a professor at Occidental College in Los Angeles. Numerous other academics contribute to the ever-growing bank of social scientific reflections on the world around us.

#1: Course Guide to Sociology of Gender

#2: Pointlessly Gendered Products (with a contribution from yours truly!)

perceptions

#3: Rebranding the Prune (because nothing escapes the sociological lens)

#4: Heightism Most of us know about racism, ageism and sexism. @SocImages does a fantastic series of posts about Heightism – when people are judged as a result of their height.

Youtube for Learning

My favourite channels:

1) Crash Course: The Brothers Green have outdone themselves with this fantastic series of videos covering World History, world religions, American History, Science, Psychology and Literature.

2) PBS Idea Channel Check out “Bronies Redefining masculinity” and “There’s no Such thing as offline”

#3 Vihart – A beautiful union of math and art.

Great Places on Twitter

Personal Interests

spaceballs

I didn’t know I like astronomy. I have @Failedprotostar to remind me daily that space is cool.

Love Ottawa? Love Local History? Love Art? Love local Ottawa artist and amateur historian, Andrew King.

Education:

Russell Tarr @russelltarr – This British Ex-Pat in Toulouse, France exemplifies the marriage of History and Technology in the classroom. He loves “sharing creative ideas on Twitter & offending Mr. Gove [British British Conservative Party politician, the Secretary of State for Education].” He can also be found on Tweets as @activehistory and @classtools.

Megan Valois, @msvalois, is a local Ottawa teacher extraordinaire. She considers herself a “21st century teacher/learner.” Check out her Twitter feed or her website at meganvalois.com for great ideas for History and English as well as differentiated instruction, assessment for learning & #edtech!

The Good Doctors:

I’m pretty lucky to know some very intelligent people who have the degrees (and peer reviewed journals) to prove it! Beyond their talents in their respective fields, these Drs are also fascinating and humourous folk. Check out @thejennye (Canadian History, Women and Sport), @postWarHist (Canadian Cold War Military History) and @mittenstrings (Canadian Literature) for musings and links to amazing places and discussion about historical and contemporary issues.

Googleable vs Non-Googleable Questions

Googleable vs Non-Googleable Questions The Lab.

In this post by Ewan McIntosh at @NoTosh, teachers and students are challenged to determine low and high order questions. The latter than becomes the focus for the duration of the lesson.

Why?  McIntosh states:

Every topic, every bit of learning has content that can be Googled, and we don’t want teachers wasting precious enquiry time lecturing that content. We want students, instead, to be using class time to collaborate and debate around the questions that are Not Googleable, the rich higher order thinking to which neither the textbook nor the teacher know the answers.

Update:

I tried this with my gr 11 Anthropology Class.

Collaborative Tools online

Padlet

This is my new favourite collaborative software.

Richard Byrne did a great little video about how to start using Padlet and why you might use it in class. He talks about using this as an assessment for and assessment as learning.

The program allows people to log on anonymously or through an account. The Wall-owner can include images on the wall – perhaps an opportunity to annotate? You can also print out the contents of the wall for sharing in hard copy.

You can also add images from your computer or using a laptop camera.

Ways you could use this in your classroom

1) Collect information during student inquiry

2) use “layout modification” to force entries to be ranked in order of posting, and use as a debate

3) use as a Graffiti wall or as part of a jigsaw activity

4) Share links and ideas on a topic

5) Ask students to contribute personal connections to a historical theme – example: How is your life at home different in 2013 than when you were 5 years old?

Here are some other ideas by Cynthia Treichler. She even includes a tutorial on her website.

padlet integration

Let’s Play!

hey, PED3183, Let’s share some cool resources we’ve found and play with this resource.

http://padlet.com/wall/historytips – Groups 1 – 4

http://padlet.com/wall/historytips2 – Groups  5 – 8

Today’s Meet

A colleague introduced me to a neat tool called Today’s Meet. It allows students to ask questions, make comments and get clarification from a presentation. The beauty of the site? It doesn’t require someone to log into the site and  the shared  link is memorable. The wall owner can set the duration of time the link is “live” to prevent access to the wall after an activity.

Students can debate with each other using this venue and thus becomes an alternative to Twitter.

The transcript option allows the presenter to save the Room after a discussion. It saves in chronological order and there’s an easy copy & paste function.

The Today’s Meet Blog has some interesting ideas as well.

The website sells itself as a backchannel opportunity.

todays meet

Teachers on Pinterest

I don’t pin*, but some of my closest friends do (Bronwyn or JenGilpin). They guarantee me that this is a brilliant way to share ideas visually. These two ladies also happen to be kindergarten teachers.

I stumbled across this great board for teachers. There doesn’t seem to be a lot for high school aged students, but that doesn’t mean you couldn’t adjust some of these fantastic ideas for their lessons. Heck, many of these ideas could be just as effective in a grade 3 room as they would in a grade 10 History room.

Here are some of my favourites and how I might use them.

1. Classroom management

This would be really great for 7 and 8s. They may be able to ‘earn back’ letters before they have to wait x minutes after the bell.

2. Building new groups. I have students line up in different orders and then count them off in smaller groups.

3. Oral Assessments/Questioning

4. Literacy and Communication using evidence

5. Literacy

Young historians or applied level students would love using a giant venn diagram on the ground to compare periods of time or experiences of different Canadians.

6. Building Relevance

Students often struggle making connections between History and their own lives. Sometimes, it’s easier for them to connect to non-personal things AND this still demonstrates their ability apply ideas. Consider tweaking this anchor chart for the history classroom.

* I’ll admit I started an account whilst researching this post. I’m pinning. *

iMovie on the iPad- Trailers

iMovie Trailer Activity instructions

Our school has 20 iPads in the library. I have been trying to figure out ways to use them in my classroom. Unfortunately, the way our current system works, there are few apps directly related to Canadian History. I turned my sights on iMovie.

My Grade 10 Academic History class served as pioneers in developing an activity (and avoiding some of the bugs) revolving around the $5 iMovie app.

Students were asked to select a variety of images around a topic, in this case, an introduction to Canada’s involvement in WW2. Then, using the basic-pre-made trailer option, students’ text and images were animated, set to music and packaged in a really slick format.

PLUSES:
– the students LOVED this creativity.
– they love the iPad and the simple image save functions
– the trailers look professional
– because they couldn’t obsess about music choices of storyboard setup, they were able to start and finish a 1 min trailer in a 75 minute period
– easy upload to Youtube or Vimeo

CONS:
– because the iPads are shared with the whole school, the students couldn’t save work they haven’t finished
– YouTube can take a long time to upload and if students don’t have their own account, you have to provide them with a password.
– Students need to remember (and learn) to sign out the account they use to share the finished product

Here’s an example of what they produced.

World War Two: Raid On Dieppe from HTrinity on Vimeo.

The Digital Native

Teaching students in a digital age is taming a very different beast than it was 20 years ago. Some of us might remember the early days of the Icon computer, Commodore 64, early Nintendo, our first “surfing the net” experience and then an ability to — *gasp* — view images on the web without waiting 10 minutes.

This is not the reality for our current students. Many were born after the mass marketing of the internet, were conceived in the DotCom bubble and have grown up with computers, the internet and cell phones in their lives, everyday.

We assume young people born after 1995 have solid computer skills. However, these students were not required to take ‘typing.’ They are unsure of how/where to insert a tab, how to use their word processor to double space their documents and changing file extensions can pose real problems. They can access Google or Facebook, send images and attachments on their emails or smartphones, but few think about how these tasks are achieved by the computer. They are simply ‘done.’

This can pose some significant challenges to educators when students encounter digital-related problems. I’ve seen students go white with panic when their .docx file won’t open on the school computers or burst into tears when You Tube is uncooperative during their presentation and they have no ‘back up’ plan.

The digital native is NOT a digital expert.

The perception of the Digital Native and Digital immigrant isn’t only a trope, but it also creates an unhelpful binary (Bayne and Ross, 2007) of “us” and “them:” those who can feel good about using technology and those who feel less comfortable. A study by White and LeCornu (2011) suggest the best way to see the differences in people’s comfort in using technology can be summed up as “visitor” and “resident;” the former is less likely to have a large online presence and ‘dabbles’ in interwebs connections, whereas the latter has a large footprint in social and content-based online media.

Part of our role as teacher, even if we’re Visitors, is to help them to learn more about the systems which will be forever tied to their lives: computers. We can help them build resilience. We must console and encourage baby steps for those pupils who claim, ‘computers hate me!’ We can show them how to problem solve using a web search.

CBC’s Spark has an excellent segment on this very topic. Check it out.

This study (March 2012) looks at the Millennial habits for online searches. How can we improve this for our students?