My Social Studies Methods class at the University of Portland recently published a free multi-touch iBook - Exploring History: Vol II. It features ten engaging questions and historic documents that empower students to be the historian in the classroom. For more info on our project and free download of the fully functional version click here.
To better publicize student work, I’m featuring each chapter in it’s own blog post.
Generative Question: Did the American Colonists have legitimate motivations for initiating war and separating from Britain?
The American Revolution by Scott Deal - Download as pdf (8.5MB) The American Revolutionary War lasted from 1775 to 1783. The conflict was between the thirteen North American colonies and British. Both the American Colonists and British had different perspectives on the war. The follow documents are primary sources from both the American Colonists and British. As you analyze and examine the documents, take into account the source of each document and any point of view that may be presented in the document. I want the students to use evidence to support their answers to the questions pertaining to each document and form an argument based on what they have learned and think.
Image credit: The Bostonians paying the excise-man, or tarring and feathering
Philip Dawe(?), mezzotint, 1774, 14 x 9 1/2 inches
Prints and Photographs Division, Library of Congress
Scalable Vector Graphics (SVG) files are very small files can be scaled up to yield large images without the distorting “jaggies.” Here’s a quick how-to that will allow you import SVG images into iBooks Author. Use the same process to import SVG files into Apple Keynote, Numbers and Pages. Download a free demo sample iBook.
iBooks can be enriched by videos, but they quickly expand the file size of your iBook. Here’s an easy-to-follow video tutorial that shows you how to use iAd Producer to create visually appealing widgets that allow you to link to external videos outside your iBook project. Keep the file size of your iBook manageable. No coding required.
Here’s how to engage students in historic research and critical thinking in an innovative lesson that combines biography, historic photographs, the 1900 federal census, the 1897 Sears Catalogue, and Google Voice.
Two years ago, three junior high teachers were thinking about how to better motivate their social studies students. They decided one way to get kids more excited about learning was to get rid of their traditional textbooks. Here’s a guest post on how these teachers teamed with their school and district leadership to create their own textbook.
Publishing is an effective tool for getting students engaged and writing. The new book, Publishing with PowerPoint, walks the reader through a process of self-publishing that can be used in any classroom. PowerPoint is an effective book design software – it’s already on your computer and everyone know how to use it. Students find it easy to use PowerPoint templates and position a wide range of text and images on a PPT slide. Powerpoint slides can be quickly grouped and rearranged into book pages. Finally, converting PowerPoint slides into pdfs for publishing can be done with the “Save As” function. The teacher with a limited budget can print just one copy for the classroom. Parents can order their own copies online.
This guest post from Greg Wimmer – Social Studies Department Chair at Central York (PA) High School – describes an innovative student project. Students, working in collaboration with the York County Heritage Trust, wrote and produced movies for historic walking tours that can be accessed via Aurasma – a location-based, augmented reality, smartphone app. Greg shares how to integrate technology and community involvement into the history classroom. Includes videos and lessons learned.
Jon Smith’s 5th grade special education students from Gibbs Elementary School in Canton, Ohio publish their own iBook. The post includes book highlights and an additional video student reflection on the experience.
Jon notes, “we need to globalize our teaching. Kids need to understand that there are other people in this world who care about their work than just their teachers. …. Special Ed kids are much more capable than people give them credit for and I wanted to show that to people including the kids. We wanted to squash stereotypes about special education students and showcase their successful work. …. Our kids are really touched by the fact that nearly 400 of their iBooks have been downloaded by people from all over the world .. and they’ve received great comments on their work via Twitter.”
We devised an experiential project, “Complex City” in order to help students think critically about their communities. To help students to become more aware of their surroundings, in order to foster an educated, ethical, and empathetic community. To facilitate opportunities that help students translate experiences, investigations, and ideas into artistic renderings that effectively communicate new knowledge.
In asking them to map an area of San Diego that had significance to them, we wanted them to step back from the familiar aspects of their community and city, and translate those aspects into a visual map. As part of this project, students researched, interviewed, and investigated their city and community in myriad ways. By compiling their work and making collective and idiosyncratic maps of San Diego, they have been challenged to rethink what they understood to be the reality of the built environment around them, as well as to accept the new knowledges that their classmates contribute. They have become more invested in their own community because their new knowledge implicates them as involved citizens. These maps collect particular versions of this place (versions not always visible to others, or in traditional maps) as we see it in the fall/winter of 2011.
Is our goal to have students performing better on standardized tests or to be prepared for what they are going to encounter in college and life? The ideal would be that they would be prepared for both. So the questions become, what do we want to leave the students with? How are we going to prepare them for the real world? What do we want them to learn about themselves? And how do we do it? To clear the air, I don’t believe that students are taking my calculus class because they need help doubling a recipe or balancing their checkbook. I believe it is because we want to expose students to the poetry of numbers, to have a new outlook on how to solve problems, to be able to think outside of the box, and to see how the unbreakable human spirit has conquered problems that once mystified the greatest of thinkers. Like any great symphony, mathematics represents a pinnacle of human creativity. We teach math to enrich the lives of our students in a way akin to reading poetry or composing music. This is the story of a student-created exhibit showcasing the beauty, humanity and intrigue behind math in history, philosophy and the applied arts.