I'm excited about JuxtaposeJS - a new free web-based "storytelling" tool from the Knight Lab at Northwestern University. As they describe it: "JuxtaposeJS helps storytellers compare two pieces of similar media, including photos, and GIFs. It’s ideal for highlighting then/now stories that explain slow changes over time (growth of a city skyline, regrowth of a forest, etc.) or before/after stories that show the impact of single dramatic events (natural disasters, protests, wars, etc.)."
I think it's a great tool for students and teachers who want to explore themes of continuity and change. While it could be used to compare and contrast in subjects across the curriculum, I've created a few examples using historical content.
I selected pairs of historical and contemporary images with elements that are consistent and aspects that change. But the challenge is to size and crop the images so that the consistencies align. To accomplish that, I used another free tool - Google Slides - to position and crop each pair of images and export as JPGs before importing into JuxtaposeJS. (Scroll to the bottom of this post for my workflow video that illustrates each step of the process.)
Created with two archival photographs Tom Torlino - a student at Carlisle Indian School, 1882 and 1885.
More about Tom at my post on Medium.
Pro tip: get the eyes aligned
Created with archival photograph paired with a screenshot I took from Google Street View.
Portland Ore Engine No 2 - 510 NW 3rd Ave. Pro tip: choose a historic image that is shot from an angle similar to Street View. Street View is made up of a series of still images. You may need to navigate slightly on the street to get a shot that matches. Street View has been shooting for years. Use the drop down timeline (highlighted here) in upper left of Street View that has the angle and lighting that works best for your Juxtapose
Archival photograph of paired with photograph I took in the same location. Taylor Hotel entrance Circa 1920
Pro tip: bring along a print out of historic photo to line up you new shot. Maybe you'll get lucky (like I did) and find a SUV parked in the right spot.
Here's a video that details my workflow for this project You'll see how I used the transparency feature in Google Slides to create two well-aligned images that I imported into JuxtaposeJS via Dropbox. JuxtaposeJS supports both vertical and horizontal sliders. Pick the orientation that does a better job of concealing or revealing the continuity and change. Once the images are "published" at JuxtaposeJS they can be imported into your web via an iFrame embed as I have done in this post.
I’m joined by other educators who comment on “Teaching History By Encouraging Curiosity.” Ideas on how to create a more engaging history classroom that teaches students the foundations of historical thinking. With links to more resources and a podcast.
The key to fostering reflection is scaffolding more choices for students to make about key elements of the lesson. Then students have more to think about and compare with their peers.
Content – what knowledge and skills will be studied?
Process – what materials, procedures, etc will be used?
Product – what will students produce to demonstrate their learning?
Evaluation – how will the learning be assessed?
xkcd’s brilliant mockery of the explosion of “info-junk” should remind us that the best infographics should efficiently combine quantitative data, prompt pattern recognition and cogent visual storytelling. Perhaps aspiring infographic designers would do well to revisit the work of the Edward Tufte, the guru of the art form. His five rules of “Graphical Excellence” are detailed and illustrated with an example he considers “best narrative graphic of space and time.”
The NY Times Learning Network has just launched a new series of lesson plans called “Text to Text.” It’s a simple approach that pairs two written texts that “speak to each other.” I think it’s a Common Core close reading strategy that could be easily replicated by teachers across the curriculum – great way to blend nonfiction with fiction and incorporate a variety of media with written text.
Each lesson includes a key question, extension activities and additional resources to expand the basic lesson. Here’s two graphic organizers to help student organize their “Text to Text” thinking.
Deliberating in a Democracy in the Americas (DDA), a valuable online resource for teachers interested in helping their students develop skills in discussing controversial topics. The DDA site has all the material teachers will need to support discussion in 15 interesting deliberation questions. It uses the Structured Academic Controversy (SAC) model to provide structure and focus to classroom discussions. Not all issues can be easily distilled to pro / con positions. SAC provides students with a framework for addressing complex issues in a productive manner that builds skills in reading, analyzing, listening, and discussion. And it’s ideal for supporting Common Core close reading skills.
The Common Core encourages students to more closely read a text (in all it’s multimedia formats) by answering three critical questions: What did it say? How did it say it? What’s it mean to me? Here I model a Common Core close reading of my visit to a museum exhibit. I’ll dig a little deeper into the three questions with a few more prompts and provide answers as if I were a high school student reflecting on their experience.
Close reading requires students to consider text (in it’s different forms) through three lenses: what does it say, how does it say it, and what does it mean to me? Here’s a three step process for mastering this Common Core skill using the guided reading of a TV pharmaceutical ad. You’ll have a chance to compare visual elements, narration and musical soundtrack.
My latest multi-touch iBook “Progress and Poverty in Industrial America,” is now available for your iPad – FREE at iTunes. Critical thinking questions based on Common Core skills help students “think and write like a historian.” It’s a great resource for use in the classroom, and serves as a model for teacher or student curation of historic content into interactive digital DBQ’s.
This 18-page iPad DBQ guides students through the historian’s process. “Stop and think” prompts encourage a deep reading of many notables of the Gilded Age – including Russell Conwell, Henry George, Andrew Carnegie and Stephen Crane. Visual source material includes posters, 1908 Sears Catalogue, a gallery of photographs by Lewis Hine and video of one of Edison’s early Vitascope films.
I am proud of my life-long career in public education - especially the 25 years I spent as a teacher. For nearly 30 years, I have worked with school districts, state DOEs, leading educational organizations and companies to improve the quality of teaching and learning. I provide training and consulting services across the United States and internationally. I'm exploring the instructional power of interactive texts and helping to foster the next generation of teachers as adjunct faculty at both the University of Portland and the University of Alaska Southeast.
Alaska History and Culture Series
PBL meets culturally-responsive teaching in a new 6 book series. Free at iTunes
Awarded "Best Textbook and Best Widget, 2015" Archival photographs and dozens of video interviews with former Japantown residents detail life from the 1890s through the incarcerations of WWII. Reader can use interactive widgets to blend of then and now photos. More
Based on an innovative teacher’s workshop sponsored by the Library of Congress TPS program. Includes both the training materials and fourteen teacher-designed document-based questions for grades 4 through high school. More
My DBQ iBooks
My iBooks are filled with videos, audios, posters, art, pamphlets, letters and long lost ephemera. "Stop-and-think" prompts based on CCSS skills guide students through analysis of the primary sources. Essential questions foster critical thinking. All documents include links back to the original source material so that students can remix the content into their own curated collections.
Download a free iBook and experience the future of the textbook.
Explore Portland Oregon’s historic Japantown with this user-friendly walking tour. The city’s vibrant pre WWII Japanese American community is archived in over 125 photographs and audio clips. This GPS-enabled app guides you through Portland’s eight block Japantown, a bustling community in the early decades of the twentieth century - better known today as the colorful Old Town / Chinatown neighborhood.
My free Guide to iBooks Author
Quick Start: iBooks Author
Free at iTunes. Just the essentials in a 20-page guide that will give you a quick start to creating a multi-touch interactive iBook using iBooks Author