Month: June 2014

20% Project: Second Post

This week I will look at ways to engage students in a Social Studies classroom with technology even when they leave school. In my experiences once the school day stops a large portion of the learning stops. Keeping in mind how much time is spent away from school I think it is important to find ways to engage students away from school so that they might keep learning.

It has been really fun to build our tool-kits for this class the last two weeks. While meeting the requirements for those particular tasks I have found plenty of ideas that I hope to one day implement as a teacher in a Social Studies classroom. However, just like last week I am going to try to stay away from those ideas because they are already done and I am hoping to find addition information that could help me one day.

Once again I turned to Google for ideas on how to engage students away from school. My searches included: Ways to Engage Students at Home; Ways to Communicate with Students After Class; Ways to Keep Learning Going at Home; Tools for Learning at Home; and several others.

To be honest I was a little disappointed with a lot of my results this week. There were only a couple of searches that yielded anything useful for what I was looking for. With that said I did find a few good sites and got some good ideas from things I saw and read.

These are two of the sources that I found most beneficial for what I was looking for:

10 Great Tools for Student-Teacher Communication and
12 Online Tools For Effective Teacher to Student and Parent Communication

Between these two pages I found several tools that I think could be really helpful. Some of the more obvious tools such as Twitter, Facebook, Google Drive, Edmodo and Dropbox were mentioned, but it was good to see them again. There were also numerous new tools that I had not heard of or thought of before. Here are the top four that I feel like have the most potential for what I was looking for.

1) Remind 101: This tool is imperative to reaching students once they go home. Students may leave school but they never leave their phone. Remind 101 is a great way to send out reminders about projects, tests, or even send facts and information from class. This is a simple but incredibly effective way to engage students once they leave school!

2) Quizlet: This tool is great to let the learning continue after the school day ends. This site allows teachers to create flashcards and practices quizzes for their students that they can access from any device with internet. If any tool stands to increase test scores and continue learning at home this one might just be it!

3) QuizSnack: With this tool student feedback is always available. This site allows you to create polls and surveys that students can fill out while they are at home. This is a great way to tailor the learning process to the needs of every student and to make sure that everyone in class is staying on track and on the same page!

4) Astrid: This site is really neat and super useful for multiple reasons. Astrid allows for the creation of reminders, task lists, and provides notifications along the way. Perfect for teachers to monitor their student’s progress. Perfect for students to make sure they are doing the right things at the right time. Perfect for group projects where classmates need to divide up tasks and achieve their goals. This is a well rounded and very useful tool!

Looking back at all the things I read and found this week I think what it’s really going to take to continue the learning process at home is to engage parents as well and get them on board with being a major part of their kids learning as much as possible!

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20% Project: First Post

For my 20% Project I plan to examine ideas and ways to incorporate technology into specifically a Social Studies classroom. There are plenty of options out there for incorporating technology into classrooms, but I will look at how to make it work effectively in a Social Studies setting given that is what I plan to teach. I believe that in order to effectively use technology in education it cannot stop when the bell rings at the end of class. For that reason I hope to find effective ways to incorporate technology effectively and appropriately within the classroom and outside of class once students leave.

While working on our Communication and Collaboration Tool Kit, I found that many of the things I was finding would work well in a Social Studies class. However, since that is an on going project for class I will largely leave those behind for now and start digging even deeper to see what I can find.

I started in the only reasonable way I know, with a Google search. I was always told to ‘keep it simple’ so I did just that. I typed “technology for social studies” in and let Google work its magic.

Here are the first four links Google provided and what I found from each:

1) Free Technology for Teachers: When I clicked on this site and saw that it was from 2010 I was a little concerned that the information it contained might be too dated to be helpful. Though some of the information is old news the page as a whole was very informative. Being compiled by a Social Studies teacher these 12 resources seem to be excellent for use in a Social Studies class. As always Google provides useful tools and using Google Earth, Maps,  Books, and Scholar are good ideas. I won’t go into all of the resources, but there were useful links to help find documents, news, and games for students learning multiple Social Studies topics. Perhaps my favorite link though was the link the National Archives Daily Document. This seems like a very fun and fresh way to provide students with a large variety of material that is engaging and meaningful to what they are learning.

2) Integrating Technology in the Social Studies Class: This site is a source from Glencoe and McGraw-Hill. Even though this site wasn’t quite as helpful it provided great ideas for five different Social Studies lessons that incorporate technology. Each of the lessons was laid out with a method for completion and links to web resources to be used during the lesson. This is a link that I will hold on to because there are great lessons for US and World History classes on this site!

3) Technology Position Statement and Guidelines: This site is the for the National Council for the Social Studies. This was probably the least helpful site I found this week as the title says it is merely a position statement for this organization. However, the article was an interesting read. The point was clearly made that technology was becoming a major part of Social Studies Education and that as educators there is a responsibility to help teach students about and with such technology. The 5 points of rationale that are included in the article are very insightful and I feel that any teacher in the Social Studies field should read these and approach technology in the learning process with this mindset.

4) Teaching History with Technology: This site is HUGE and to be honest I am not sure why it wasn’t the top result on Google. This site is developed by “The Center for Teaching History with Technology” and to say it is a wealth of information would be an unfair understatement! The resources are great and numerous, there are lessons, activities, presentations, discussions, collaboration tools, assessments and rubrics and even tools for iPads and mobile devices. I wasn’t able to even scratch the surface of this site, but based on what I found I am more than certain that this site will be helpful as a Social Studies Educator and possibly even throughout the remainder of this class!