Monday, July 27, 2020

Historical Scene Investigations - A Great Way to Get Students to Use Primary Sources

Historical Scene Investigation is one of my favorite resources for U.S. History teachers and students. I've used it and referred people to it for years. HSI presents students with historical cases to "crack" through the use of evidence found in the form of primary source documents.

Historical Scene Investigation contains thirteen cases in which students analyze "clues" found in primary sources in order to form a conclusion to each investigation. For example, in the case of The Boston Massacre students have to decide if justice was served. HSI provides students with "case files" on which they record the evidence they find in the primary source documents and images they are provided. HSI provides templates for students to use to record observations from the evidence.

HSI is produced by College of William & Mary School of Education, University of Kentucky School of Education, and the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources Program. My video overview of HSI is embedded below.


As I mentioned in the video above, once you have done a couple of these with your students it becomes easy to craft your own HSI activities or have them craft HSI activities for each other to solve.

On a related note, Common Craft has a good video that explains the differences between primary and secondary sources. That video is embedded below.


Disclosure: I have an in-kind relationship with Common Craft. 

Two Ed Tech Guys Return to Answer Questions - Free Webinar Next Week

This past spring Rushton Hurley and I hosted a weekly webinar series called Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions and Share Cool Stuff. We went on hiatus in June and July, but we're going to be back and better than ever in August! And we want you to join us!

We'll be recording live at 4pm ET next Thursday. You can join us to ask questions or to just listen to the soothing sounds of our voices. Whichever you choose to do, register here to join us next week for Two Ed Tech Guys Take Questions and Share Cool Stuff. And if you can't join us for the live session, we'll still take your questions via email.

You can see the recordings of our spring episodes on this page hosted by Next Vista for Learning.

Saturday, July 25, 2020

The Week in Review - So Many Webinars

Good morning from Maine where I'm sitting on my back porch drinking coffee and watching the fog clear out of the valley below me. The scene reminds me of the old saying, "fog in the hollow, good weather to follow."

This week I wrapped up the third session of the Practical Ed Tech Virtual Summer Camp. In all nearly 200 people participated in June and July. Thank you! And combined with webinars that I hosted for other groups, I've conducted 35 webinars in the last three weeks. Next week, I'm not hosting any as I'll be spending most of the week doing fun things with my daughters. The first of those fun things is today as we head to the lake to play. I hope that you also have something fun planned for the weekend.

These were the week's most popular posts:
1. Use Whiteboards in Google Meet Without Screensharing
2. Convert Handwritten Notes Into Google Documents
3. Quickly Create Online Whiteboards for Your Students
4. Create Talking Pictures of Famous People
5. How to Create Labeling Activities With Google Drawings and Classroom
6. 5 Alternatives to Traditional Book Report Projects
7. 5 Ways to Make Whiteboard Instructional Videos in Your Web Browser

Back to School PD Opportunities
This week I received a bunch of requests to host PD webinars for the start of the school year. If you'd like to have me host a PD session for your school, please send me a note at richardbyrne (at) freetech4teachers.com to learn more about how we can work together.

Thank You for Your Support!
Other Places to Follow My Work
Besides FreeTech4Teachers.com and the daily email digest, there are other ways to keep up with what I'm publishing. 
  • Practical Ed Tech Newsletter - This comes out once per week (Sunday night/ Monday morning) and it includes my tip of the week and a summary of the week's most popular posts from FreeTech4Teachers.com.
  • My YouTube Channel - more than 26,000 people subscribe to my YouTube channel for my regular series of tutorial videos including more than 400 Google tools tutorials.  
  • Facebook - The FreeTech4Teachers.com Facebook page has more than 450,000 followers. 
  • Twitter - I've been Tweeting away for the last thirteen years at twitter.com/rmbyrne
  • Instagram - this is mostly pictures of my kids, my dogs, my bikes, my skis, and fly fishing.

Friday, July 24, 2020

A Challenging Battles and Heritage Map Game

Geoquiz History Edition is a fun and challenging history game for history buffs. The game works like similar geography games in which you're given the name of a place and have to place a marker on a blank outline map as close as possible to the actual location.

In Geoquiz History Edition you're given the name of a battle or the name of historically significant landmark. The War Battle edition of the game lists battles from wars all over the world throughout history. The Heritage edition of the game lists historically significant places in the heritage of a country or culture.

Geoquiz History Edition is played without the need to register or sign into any kind of account. Each round of the game contains ten prompts. You're given immediate feedback as to how accurate your guess was. That feedback comes in the form of a line drawn from your placemarker to the correct placemarker.

Applications for Education
Geoquiz History Edition doesn't have categories so all prompts are completely random from locations all over the globe. For that reason the game is probably best used as a way to spark interest in learning more about the places that appear in the game.

H/T to Maps Mania

Searching the National Register of Historic Places

This morning I went down an Internet rabbit hole of looking for lesser-known historic places in Maine. That process started because I was looking for some geocaching activities to do in a coastal community about 60 miles from where I live. Before I knew it I was on the National Register of Historic Places hosted by the National Park Service.

The National Register of Historic Places is a great place to discover lesser-known historic places within each state in the United States. Within the listings you'll find pictures and the documents submitted for inclusion in the register. To help others discover this interesting resource I recorded the following short video.


Applications for Education
The National Register of Historic Places could be a good resource to use as the inspiration for local history projects for middle school and high school students. I'd have students go into the register, browse for places within their state and or county, and then conduct a short research activity to learn more about a chosen place.