Classroom Tech: When Less is More

» 21 January 2015 » In Ed Tech, Publishing, Social Web, Students, Web 2.0 » No Comments

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!

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 …

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

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.

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Perspectives on the US Immigration Debate: 1920s DBQ

» 13 January 2015 » In Ed Tech, Guest post, History / DBQ's, Publishing » No Comments

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This DBQ assignment is meant for students to view the issue of immigration through various primary sources based on the perceptions of different individuals and groups from the 1920s. As you look over them, consider the various perceptions of immigration throughout the 1920s. What was the reasoning and motivations behind these differing beliefs? How did different groups or individuals view immigrants and immigration? What did these same individuals and groups believe should be done with immigrants? How are their arguments similar and different?

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Little Rock Nine: Evaluating Historical Sources

» 09 January 2015 » In Ed Tech, Guest post, History / DBQ's, Publishing » No Comments

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This chapter examines the historic setting of the Little Rock Nine though a variety of documents. They include news photographs of the events, governor’s proclamation, historic essays, Presidential speech, TV news reports and video reflections by participants. Your task is to examine the context of these documents and decide which are most helpful to your understanding of the conflict.

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WWI and Chemical Warfare: Shaping World Opinion

» 06 January 2015 » In Ed Tech, Guest post, History / DBQ's, Publishing » No Comments

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Students examine images, text and ephemera from WWI to develop an answer to the question: How did the experience of WWI shape international opinion of chemical weapons?

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Letters From Egypt: Anzacs Train for Gallipoli

» 23 December 2014 » In Ed Tech, Guest post, History / DBQ's, Publishing » 2 Comments

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Students explore the attitudes of the Anzacs towards the local population of Egypt where they trained prior to the landing at Gallipoli. Race hate is a reoccurring theme in wars and this DBQ gives students another avenue in which to explore it.

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The Pig War: Constructing Historic Narrative

» 22 December 2014 » In Ed Tech, Guest post, Publishing, Students » No Comments

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Here’s a chapter from my latest student-designed iBook “Exploring History: Vol II.” The Pig War by Andy Saxton – s tudents are given historic documents related to the US / British Border Dispute of 1859 (the Pig War) and asked to reconstruct a historic narrative.

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The American Revolution: Historic Thinking DBQ

» 17 December 2014 » In Ed Tech, Guest post, Publishing, Students » No Comments

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Here’s a chapter from my latest student-designed iBook “Exploring History: Vol II.” The American Revolution by Scott Deal explores the motivations that drove colonial action.

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Exploring History in 10 Interactive Lessons

» 04 December 2014 » In History / DBQ's, Publishing » No Comments

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Ten engaging questions and historic documents empower students to be the historian in the classroom. Free at iTunes and as downloadable PDF.

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Free iBook: History of Portland’s Japantown

» 10 June 2014 » In History / DBQ's, Publishing » 4 Comments

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I’m pleased to introduce my latest multitouch iBook “Portland’s Japantown Revealed.” Free at iTunes. It’s filled with over a hundred archival photographs and dozens of video interviews with former Japantown residents that detail life from the 1890s through the incarcerations of WWII. It features two dozen interactive “Portland Revealed” widgets that allow the reader to blend historic and contemporary photographs.

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iBooks Author Training Video and Free Guide

» 15 May 2014 » In Ed Tech, PD, Presentations, Publishing » No Comments

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Here’s a video of my one-hour intro to iBooks Author. Download my free Quick Start: iBooks Author and follow along. Plus links to iBA resource website and more

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