Wednesday, February 9, 2011

K12 Online Conference "Bridging History Using Web 2.0 Tools "

Bridging History Using Web 2.0 Tools by Robin Beaver, an instructional technology specialist, and Jean Moore, a seventh grade English and Social Studies teacher, illustrates how to integrate technology into an existing unit on Asia. This unit includes various activities including presentation and research and analysis of primary sources. Her goal is to create activities that encourage higher level thinking skills, collaboration, self direction, and provides for differentiation. 

The film begins showing multiple sites, where students can access countless primary resources to aide students in their research efforts. It also shows the students using a Webquest to complete a project about the Chinese cultural revolution. The authors illustrate how Glogster can be used in history research projects. This allows text, pictures, video, sound, audio files and hyperlinks and this free service also comes with 200 student accounts per teacher. One of the most fascinating parts of this video was where the class was able to have an online conversation with a Vietnam veteran. Rather than reading a book about or trading emails to communicate, these students were engaged in a real time conversation with a real life American hero. It helped the students gain a real life experience at what a young American soldier endured during the Vietnam War.
As a future social studies teacher, this video was very interesting to me. I actually bookmarked this one, because I know at some point in the future I will use some of the ideas presented in  this film to incorporate technology into the classroom. Most of history is well documented from a variety of sources. Instead of simply having students memorize facts, I like the approach the teachers in this film took in having the students seek out the information and data to complete any given assignment. These are the skills employers in the real world are looking for when making hiring decisions.

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