Thursday, October 29, 2009

For future reference

Service Learning Project Ideas compiled in my Integrating Technology class. Nifty.

Tuesday, October 27, 2009

Bill of Rights Glogster

My Bill of Rights glogster!

My Glogster is (obviously) on the Bill of Rights. Honestly, I wanted to do the Glogster on either Rafael Trujillo or the Mirabal sisters, but I couldn't find audio for either or video for Trujillo (and, for the Mirabal sisters, it wasn't actually them on the video--just actors). I'll probably make another Glogster for them just because I enjoyed making this one so much.

(PS: If i were you, I'd skip the audio but definitely watch the video if you have two minutes!)

Does anyone know if Glogster posters can be printed out for actual classroom use? I mean, if they don't have video, that is.

Sources for photo/video:

Thursday, October 22, 2009

Voting Matters! service learning lesson plan

Service Learning Project Title: Voting Matters!

Area of Service: Civic Responsibility

Grade Level: 11th-12th Grade

Subject Area: U.S. History/Government

Unit Description:

Students will do this service learning project as part of a unit on movements for voting rights. After their overview lessons on African American voting rights, the women's suffrage movement, and Native American voting rights they will choose a topic such as key figures in the women's suffrage movement, key figures in the African American voting rights movement, Supreme Court decisions' significance for each movement, the history of Amendments with regards to each movement, etc., or a topic of their choice that they are particularly interested in.

Students will work together in small groups of 3. They will then research that topic extensively and put together summaries, key points, photographs or other primary documents, and other interactive materials for an online voting rights museum that will be used by another class as a resource for learning about voting rights. They will also be encouraged to interview people in their community that have unique perspectives on their topic, such as former Civil Rights activists or people who lived through the time. The online museum will include each topic that students chose, and will include information on how to find your local leaders and contact them. In addition, the materials that each group gathers will be used to create short lessons that the students will present via Skype to a group of younger students (grades 5-8) in another school.

The goal is to, through this project, connect younger and older students by having the older students teach the importance of voting to the other student, showcasing that these rights are not to be taken for granted: they were fought for and won by individuals united to make change. As such, both groups of students will understand why participation of everyday individuals in political and civic spheres is important. The desired end result is a comprehensive website that can be used by students later on as a learning resource.
Standards met by the project:
Next Generation Sunshine State Standards
  • SS.912.C.2.5: Conduct a service project to further the public good.
  • SS.912.C.2.2: Evaluate the importance of political participation and civic participation.
  • SS.912.C.2.8: Analyze the impact of citizen participation as a means of achieving political and social change.
  • SS.912.C.2.16: Analyze trends in voter turnout.
U.S. History:
  • SS.912.A.1.4: Analyze how images, symbols, objects, cartoons, graphs, charts, maps, and artwork may be used to interpret the significance of time periods and events from the past.
  • SS.912.A.1.6: Use case studies to explore social, political, legal, and economic relationships in history.
  • SS.912.A.2.4: Distinguish the freedoms guaranteed to African Americans and other groups with the 13th, 14th, and 15th Amendments to the Constitution.
  • SS.912.A.5.7: Examine the freedom movements that advocated civil rights for African Americans, Latinos, Asians, and women.
NETS for Students
  1. Creativity and Innovation
    • Students demonstrate creative thinking, construct knowledge, and develop innovative products and processes using technology. Students:
      -apply existing knowledge to generate new ideas, products, or processes.
      -create original works as a means of personal or group expression.
  2. Communication and Collaboration
    • Students use digital media and environments to communicate and work collaboratively, including at a distance, to support individual learning and contribute to the learning of others. Students:
      -interact, collaborate, and publish with peers, experts, or others employing a variety of digital environments and media.
      -communicate information and ideas effectively to multiple audiences using a variety of media and formats.
      -contribute to project teams to produce original works or solve problems.
  3. Research and Information Fluency
    • Students apply digital tools to gather, evaluate, and use information. Students:
      -plan strategies to guide inquiry.
      -locate, organize, analyze, evaluate, synthesize, and ethically use information from a variety of sources and media.

Technologies/Web applications applied to the unit with description of how they are used:
  • Students will be using the internet to find resources and conduct research for their topic. In doing so, they will be evaluating the validity of internet sources.

  • Students will be using PC and/or Mac computers to create an original website, their “online voting rights museum.” They will be responsible for creating the page that corresponds to their topic, and for handing everything (images, media, etc) in on a disk for the teacher to upload and organize into one master website. Students may have multiple pages, and may use whichever website editing program they wish to create the site. As such, they will also use some fort of website design software.

  • Students will be using Skype to present their lessons to a group of younger students between the grades of 5-8.

  • Students are welcome to use whatever appropriate online resources/websites they find to create their own original lesson materials.
Assessment: Students will be assessed using three criteria: their contribution to the overall website, their lesson and its presentation, and group participation. A rubric, presented when the project is first explained, will be used for grading.

For example, a group getting full credit for the website portion will create well-designed webpages that clearly state and thoroughly explain their topic, contain accurate information, present information in an interesting or compelling way, have no spelling errors, contain appropriate multimedia, an attractive layout, be easy to navigate, include sources, and can easily answer questions regarding content and the website itself.

To get full credit for the lesson component, a group's lesson and presentation would have to make clear why the lesson is important and relevant, members would show full understanding of the topic being presented, are able to answer all or almost all questions that are asked about the topic, are enthusiastic, stay on topic, and speak/present well.

The last criteria is individual, where each student's contribution to the group will be measured. Each member of the group is to describe what each member contributed, how they organized their work, what issues arose and how they were solves or not solved. The teacher will take those evaluations and then assess what each student did, the quality of work each student contributed and whether it represents their best effort.

Monday, October 19, 2009

Social Media Makes Information Move Ridiculously Fast.

I didn't realize that news about the earthquake in China was not reported by the government, but by the people it was happening to--in real time. That's crazy! If the media implications of technology/social networking sites on the internet were the same in the past as they are today (as described in Clay Shirky's lecture "How Social Media Can Make History," I think that government repression of information would not be possible.

For example, during the 1950's the Dominican Republic was ruled by a dictator who was actually backed by the United States because he was anti-Communist (in this way, the Dominican Republic is not unique). Given that it was difficult to get out word of the state of terror he kept Dominican society under, the United States was not under pressure to answer for their support of a repressive ruler. Perhaps if social media such as Twitter or Blogger had been available at the time, more people would have been made aware of the situation and held American leaders (at least partly) responsible for their compliance.

Another instance is in Cambodia's genocide in the 1970's. The country was essentially closed off to tourists and journalists for years, and Pol Pot had free reign in the country to do what he wanted with the population. If there had been a way to get information from regular people out, then perhaps the executions and relocations would not have happened, at least not in such a grand scale. Perhaps the Khmer Rouge would have been denounced and made into an embarrassment, like the Sudanese government because of the genocide in Darfur. Or, perhaps not--sometimes people just don't listen or care enough about what's going on across the world because it doesn't directly relate to them.

Social media is a really powerful tool for the masses. Do you think that it really causes people to pay attention, or care more? Or does it just get information out more quickly without really making a difference in how people view or feel about the news?

Sunday, October 11, 2009

YouTube Response

It was so easy to embed this video!

I first tried to search for "embed video," and it just took me to this list of all these YouTube videos about embedding things, which I didn't want. All I wanted, I got by clicking the "YouTube on Your Site" link. Which proves that sometimes, you really don't need a YouTube video to learn something by watching someone else do it. Sometimes, you really can just read the directions.

I have mixed feelings about the above-embedded video. The only social networking example he really focused on was YouTube. YouTube matters because it's a great educational resource, and has potential for people to be really creative. But as the speaker admitted, there's thousands of hours of crap uploaded every single day. Who wants to search through all of that just to find the one really funny, or really poignant, or really interesting video?

I guess it has the potential to connect people--but why aren't people connecting face to face? Why are people doing all of this connection in an anonymous, kind of narcissistic way? It makes it seem inauthentic. Also, there's so much potential for connection but most of YouTube's users aren't using it that way, at least not in a way I can see.

The role of the "self" in social networking is strange. I don't think you have to be particularly self-aware, but you do have to want to put yourself out there. You can be whatever "self" you want to present yourself as online. When making a video, or writing a post, you're very aware that this is meant to be read or viewed by someone else, so you're not your uninhibited, or what some may say is your real self- the you that you are when no one is watching, or the you that comes out when you wish no one was watching. But you're still a version of yourself, and you have to think that you, is so important that people want to watch it or connect to it or respond to it to even put it out there. I disagree with what the speaker said about people being less self conscious when they're sharing themselves online, but that people may be more so because they're actively constructing this idea of themselves.

I like the idea of using some social networking arenas in education. YouTube, for example, has a lot of resources available for teachers. I don't know if I would ask my students to publish themselves in the way that this professor asks his to, even if I did teach adults at university instead of secondary school students. Perhaps it would be best to confine the "sharing" to something only the students and teacher can see, or others with authorization.

I don't think I look at social network differently because of the video, but the video (and my being asked to respond to it in this medium) has made me realize that I'm rather pessimistic about the whole thing, and that it's ironic that I'm responding to this YouTube video about YouTube through a blog entry.

Monday, October 5, 2009

Voting Rights

Recently, Megan from Learning to Teach and I created a "Voting Rights" podcast collection using a few podcasts found on iTunes U. We were able to find podcasts on women's suffrage and African-American voting rights.

Unfortunately, Megan already mentioned that she would like to have students take a literacy test (as mentioned in one of the podcasts), like many people used to have to in order to vote, to give them a better idea of what they were like. I think that's a great activity and she linked to one that's on the Civil Rights Movement Veterans website.

Since she stole my thunder, I'd have to say that I think that students would get a lot out of these podcasts. In particular, I think it would be fun for students to, during a unit on voting rights, use these podcasts as inspiration (particularly the one made by a New Jersey middle schooler on Women's Suffrage) for either their own podcast or a digital storytelling project. Using information they learn during the unit, they could possibly put together a synthesis of what they learn into a video or audio podcast for other students. There is a lot of information out there on minority voting rights that the students could pull from to do this project.

PBS Teachers also has a great activity that I think would work well as part of this collection, to have students think critically about voting and their own civic participation. I would play around with the actual lesson plan because I think it has a lot of room for improvement, but the point is to have students write in to their congressperson their support (or non-support) of a fake federal amendment to lower the voting age from 18 to 16. This way, students have to think as those who they're learning about did: there's a right they're being denied that they want and are willing to work really hard for. There are actually some groups out there working for this, like Youth Rights and several countries that have changed their voting age to 16, including Austria, Brazil, and Nicaragua. At the very least, bringing this up in class might raise a few eyebrows and get a few students thinking...