Google
 

Friday, October 23, 2015

What Are You Doing Tomorrow? - Check Out the Discovery Virt Con


If you're looking for something to do tomorrow morning, consider taking advantage of a free PD opportunity from Discovery Education.

Every fall Discovery Education hosts a virtual conference that is open to the world. The DEN Fall VirtCon is a blended online and physical conference. This year's event is happening on October 24th. You can participate virtually as I did last year or attend one of the physical events organized in locations all over North America.

A couple of years ago I had the privilege of giving one of the keynotes for Discovery's DEN Fall VirtCon. That year the theme was open resources. This year the theme of the DEN Fall VirtCon is Literacies for the Digital Age.  The event will feature presentations packed with tips, tricks, and treats for teaching digital literacy.

Click here to register and learn more about the DEN Fall VirtCon.

If you can't make the live sessions tomorrow, don't worry because they are being recorded.

10 Resources for Teaching With Primary Sources

I'm looking forward to next week's LOC virtual conference on teaching with primary sources. Thinking about the conference prompted me to put together the following collection of resources related to teaching history with primary sources.

Before students can work with primary sources they need to understand the differences between primary and secondary sources. Common Craft offers a video in which the differences and relationships between primary and secondary sources are explained in a two minute story. The video is embedded below. You can also click here to view it on the Common Craft website.



Zoom In provides units of lesson plans built around primary source documents. The collection of lesson units is organized into six eras of US History. Zoom In is more than just a collection of lesson plans and documents. Zoom In provides an online classroom environment. As a teacher you can manage multiple classrooms within your Zoom In account. Students join your class by using a class code (email addresses not required). Once students have joined your class, you can begin distributing assignments to them from the lesson plan database. You can track which students have started the assignments, read their responses to questions within the assignments, and give students feedback on the assignments all within your Zoom In classroom.

Historical Scene Investigation offers a fun way for students to investigate history through primary documents and images. Historical Scene Investigation presents students with historical cases to "crack." Each of these thirteen cases present students with clues to analyze in order to form a conclusion to each investigation. The clues for each investigation come in the forms of primary documents and images as well as secondary sources. HSI provides students with "case files" on which they record the evidence they find in the documents and images. At the conclusion of their investigation students need to answer questions and decide if the case should be closed or if more investigation is necessary.

The World Digital Library hosts more than 10,000 primary documents and images from collections around the world. Sponsored by the United Nations Educational, Scientific and Cultural Organization, the mission of the World Digital Library is to promote the study and understanding of cultures. The WDL can be searched by date, era, country, continent, topic, and type of resource. In my search of the WDL I noticed that roughly half of the resources are historical maps and images. The WDL aims to be accessible to as many people as possible by providing search tools and content descriptions in seven languages. The WDL can also be searched by clicking through the map on the homepage.

Who Am I? A History Mystery is a fun and challenging activity from the Smithsonian's The Price of Freedom online exhibit. Who Am I? presents players with six historical characters that they have to identify using the text and image clues provided. To solve the mystery players have to match the visual artifacts to each character. The Price of Freedom offers a series of detailed lesson plans and videos for six major events and eras in US History. Those events and eras are War of Independence, Wars of Expansion, The Civil War, World War II, Cold War/ Vietnam, and September 11.

Student Discovery Sets from the Library of Congress offer primary collections of primary sources in free iBooks. There are twelve Student Discovery Sets available as iBooks. Each set is arranged thematically. The sets contain a mix of images, documents, audio recordings, and video clips. Each artifact in each set is accompanied by guiding questions designed to help students analyze what they are seeing, reading, or hearing. Images and texts in the Student Discovery Sets can be annotated with drawing tools built into each iBook.

A central part of the Teacher's Page on the Library of Congress website is the primary source center. The primary source center walks teachers through the process of locating documents on the Library of Congress' site. The primary source center also provides guides for using various types of primary sources including political cartoons, photographs, and oral histories.

The National Archives Experience Digital Vaults is one of the resources that I almost always share in my workshop on teaching history with technology primary sources. The Digital Vaults offers good tools that students and teachers can use to create content using images and documents from the National Archives. In the video embedded below I demonstrate how students can create digital posters and movies in the National Archives Experience Digital Vaults.



The National Archives Experience's Docs Teach interactive tools center offers seven free tools that teachers can use to create interactive learning activities based on primary source documents and images. The seven tools are Finding a Sequence, Focusing on Details, Making Connections, Mapping History, Seeing the Big Picture, Weighing the Evidence, and Interpreting Data. To get a sense of how each of these activities works you can view existing activities made and shared here by other teachers. In fact, you may want to browse through the Find & Use section before creating an activity from scratch as you may find that someone else has shared an activity that meets your instructional goals too. The Find & Use activities are arranged by historical era and are labeled with a thinking skill and a level of Bloom's revised taxonomy.

TeachingHistory.org's historical thinking posters are interactive displays that guide students through the process of examining and thinking about history. There are two interactive posters available. The poster for elementary school is called Doing History is Like Solving a Mystery. The poster for high school students is called History is an Argument About the Past. Both posters include images of primary sources. Clicking on the images in the posters opens a series of guiding questions.

Another Place to Find Google Slides Templates

In my recent post about creating certificates in Google Slides I featured the Google Slides template gallery. The Slides and Drive template galleries are my go-to places for templates. Yesterday, Craig Badura tipped me off on another place to find Google Slides templates.

Slides Carnival is a website that offers dozens of Google Slides templates. Provided that you are signed into your Google Account, each template can be saved to your Google Drive account by simply clicking the "use this presentation template" button that appears below each template. Once you have saved the template you can modify the content to suit your needs. I've embedded an example one of the Slides Carnival templates below.


Applications for Education
Slides Carnival isn't going to change the way students present, but it does offer a nice alternative to seeing the same old templates over and over again.

Delivering Instruction in a Star Wars Setting

Russel Tarr has just added another fun tool to his catalog of resources on ClassTools.net. The latest addition is a template called Movie Text. Movie Text lets you create Star Wars-like scrolling introductions.

To use Movie Text simply go to the template found here then click the edit button in the lower, left corner of the screen. Change the text in the template editor to read whatever you want it to display then save it. Once you have saved a template it will be assigned its own URL and you will have an opportunity to grab an embed code to post in your blog.

Applications for Education
If you play the Movie Text sample all the way through you will find some ideas for using it in a classroom setting. I think it could be fun to use it occasionally to give instructions to students.