Music and the Vietnam Anti-War Movement

» 30 December 2013 » In Ed Tech, History / DBQ's, Projects » No Comments

photographs of nick dewolf photographs of nick dewolf

This concludes a series of guest posts from my preservice teachers at University of Portland. They had the task of using Learnist to design a document based question that would eventually become part of a class-produced DBQ iBook collection. DBQ assignment here. More samples of student-designed DBQs here.

I’ve asked them to reflect on the assignment and invited them to guest post on my blog. Here is The Vietnam War designed by Samuel TS Kelley. His DBQ explores the relationship between the civil rights movement and the Vietnam war as reflected in the music videos of the era.

You can find Samuel on Twitter and see his posts on our class blog.

See Samuel’s chapter in our class-designed iBook - free at iTunes.

Samuel TS Kelley reflects on what he learned from the experience:

Using a famous or popular document doesn’t really help the student to begin answering questions on their own. It is much more important to use a document that allows the student to be the historian and reach logical conclusions about the time period.

This DBQ does a good job of using the documents and songs to generate questions that the students can answer using only the given sources. Despite this, I had trouble coming up with overall questions about the unit. I kept refining the topic until I had a good theme to work with. I was already using some music as evidence, and I added a couple songs to make the music of the time central to the DBQ. This also changed the main idea of the DBQ, which shifted from a focus on the civil rights movement to the general anti-war movement (although civil rights were still very important to the DBQ).

Overall, I learned a lot from this assignment, especially about using documents that are most conducive to the student’s knowledge level. Using a famous or popular document doesn’t really help the student to begin answering questions on their own. It is much more important to use a document that allows the student to be the historian and reach logical conclusions about the time period. I am excited to continue to use DBQ’s to teach students to examine, analyze, and interpret the documents in ways that will engage their critical thinking skills, and let the students do the work of a historian when trying to establish facts and conclusions about the time period.

Image credit: Flickr / nick dewolf photo archive 
101970 07 04 ~ Boston Common,October 1970. 
Part of an archival project, featuring the photographs of Nick Dewolf

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Illuminating the Beauty, Humanity, Intrigue in Mathematics

» 29 November 2011 » In Ed Tech, Events, Guest post, How To, Students » No Comments

illuminated-logo-featured

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.

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Visualize the Twitter Feed at the Xerox Rochester International Jazz Fest

» 13 June 2011 » In Events, Social Web » No Comments

jazz fest featured

This is our 10th year at the Jazz Fest. Amazing lineup – with the “club pass” you can see it all. Here’s a visualizer of the Twitter feed following the hashtags #xrijf and #rocjazz.

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Solve This Problem, You’ll Learn the Skills Along the Way

» 12 June 2011 » In Strategies, Students » No Comments

wisc-stem-featured

Students explore their world with an expectation of choice and control that redefines traditional notions of learning and literacy. Educators are discovering that they can motivate students with a PBL approach that engages their students with the opportunity to behave like STEM professionals while solving real-world problems. I’m in the Wisconsin Dells to deliver a four-hour training session for CESA 6. It’s entitled “21st Century Skills in Action: Project Based Learning in the STEM Classroom.” We’ll be using a Turning Point ARS and lots of activities so that participants experience the why, what, and how of PBL in the STEM curriculum.

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Innovations in Teaching and Learning: Top Down or Bottom Up?

» 14 March 2011 » In Commentary, Web 2.0 » 3 Comments

Corporate music, publishing and film were transformed from below. Do we expect education to be spared the forces of the digital revolution? Unlike the vanishing local newspaper, schools won’t disappear entirely. After all, someone has to watch the kids. While it may be difficult to replace the custodial function of schools, I suspect that education’s “top-down” approach will eventually be breached. Or perhaps life will just become an “open book test” and we’ll no longer notice how our information moves through it.

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Blogging from ITSC 2011

» 30 January 2011 » In Events » No Comments

I'm pleased to be invited as a guest blogger to the Instructional Technology Strategies Conference 2/20-22 in Portland, Oregon. More on the conference. ITSC 2011 (twitter/ITSCPDX) is hands-on conference with a clear focus on the practical use of technology in the classroom – workshops are small sessions led by facilitators, not presenters. The facilitator roster includes […]

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9 Questions for Reflective School Reform Leaders

» 22 November 2010 » In Commentary, Ed Policy, Leadership, Reflection » 8 Comments

national blog featured

Schools will need to become places that create engaging and relevant learning experiences, provoke student reflection, and help students apply the learning to life. Here’s nine reflective questions for school leaders to consider. They’re organized around three themes and a concluding recommendation.

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Test Prep – The Steroids of Student Achievement

» 17 October 2010 » In Commentary, Ed Policy » 6 Comments

Unless we institute more genuine assessments, our measures of student achievement will be as inspiring as a steroid-tarnished home run record.

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Analyzing the History of the Bicycle: A Prezi DBQ

» 29 September 2010 » In History / DBQ's, Reflection, Strategies, Visualizations » 2 Comments

Prezi-bike

I’m pleased to have been invited by the educators at the Smithsonian Institution to do a guest blog post using museum resources. I was attracted to the Smithsonian Bicycle collection because the images could be analyzed by students without a great deal of background knowledge. Students can use historic photographs of bicycles to answer critical thinking questions focused on the theme of continuity and change.
Analysis – What patterns do I see in the bicycles – construction, design, features, uses? What elements do they share in common? How do they differ?
Evaluation – In my own judgment, what elements are changing? Which are staying the same? 
Creating – What have I learned about continuity and change in the history of the bicycle? How can I represent what I’ve learned to share with others?

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Teaching Continuity and Change: Crowdsourcing My Lesson Idea

» 25 August 2010 » In How To, Projects, Social Web, Strategies, Teachers » 4 Comments

I’ve been invited by the folks at the education department at the Smithsonian to do a guest blog post. I have an idea for a document based question (DBQ) that explores the historic perspective of continuity and change. I thought I’d “crowdsource” my idea to my readers for some feedback.

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