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Monday, May 13, 2013

5 Excellent Educational Activities Developed by @RusselTarr

Over the weekend Russel Tarr who has developed many excellent, engaging tools for teaching history was the subject of an unprovoked and unfair attack by England's Education Secretary, Michael Gove. You can read all about it here. I appreciate Russel's work and I know that many other history teachers do too. To support Russel I'd like to highlight five of his Active History activities.

The Worst Jobs in History is a series of three interactive learning experiences. In The Worst Jobs in History students learn about the dirtiest, most dangerous, and tiring jobs in three time periods. The time periods are Medieval, Early Modern, and Modern. In each activity in The Worst Jobs in History students read short descriptions of jobs and rank them according to how dirty, dangerous, or tiring they think that they are. After ranking the jobs students can take a short online quiz about what they read about the jobs. There is also the option to download a worksheet to use with the activities.


Mission Map Quest is a map-based tool for creating virtual treasure hunts. The concept is simple, you create a series of clues that your students need to follow to identify places around the world. You can add as few or as many clues to your Map Quest as you like. When you're ready to have students try your Quest just give them the web address of the challenge or have them scan the QR code assigned to your Quest.  The QR code in this post will take you to Russel's demonstration of Mission Map Quest. You can also click this link to try it from the student perspective. The demonstration has a WWI theme.


Fakebook Animated is a free tool that students can use to create and share fake facebook pages. The ninety second video here provides a good overview of how it works. Fakebook Animated allows you to watch the timeline of your fake Facebook profiles unfold over time. For an example, click here to watch Harry Truman's Fakebook profile unfold over time. The gallery of Fakebook profiles features some of the many Fakebook profiles that students have created over the years.

The Classtools SMS Generator is free to use and does not require students to log-in. To use the SMS Generator just click the left speech bubble icon and enter a message. Then to create a reply just click the right speech bubble icon and enter a new message. You can make the exchange as long as you like. To share the conversation click the sprocket icon and grab the embed code, direct link, or QR code for the exchange.


The QR Treasure Hunt Generator provides you with all of the things you need to get started creating your own QR codes and using them in your classroom. To use the QR Treasure Hunt Generator type out a series of questions and answers, generate the QR codes using the tool Russel Tarr provides, then print and display the codes around your classroom or school. Click here to view a sample QR Treasure Hunt. The QR Treasure Hunt Generator recommends having students visit Kaywa to get QR readers for their phones. My recommendation is if your students have Android phones have them try the free QR Droid app. If your students have iPhones they can try the free NeoReader App