One Best Thing: This week I explored the apple iBook series One Best Thing which is a collection of books created by Apple Distinguished Educators that demonstrate the use of Apple technologies to transform teaching and learning. Each One Best Thing book shares a unit, a lesson, or a best practice and is designed to help educators incorporate its successful practice in their classrooms. The book I read was "Photographing History: Archiving with Apps” by Cheryl Davis.
About the Author: Cheryl Davis is a technology specialist in the Acalanes Union High School District in Contra Costa County, California. Here she collaborates with teachers to create learning environments that provide students with innovative technology for learning. Davis frequently combines her skills in history, photography, and mobile learning to build and share lesson ideas with teachers both virtually and face to face in learning spaces. Davis states, “I have a passion for using primary sources as a baseline for historic analysis, and a mission to involve students as contributors to historic primary source records.” This passion is shown in the book “Photographing History.”
Photographing History: Photographing history focuses on a learning activity that combines the power and captivation of photography with historic and archival primary source images. This is important because by peeling back the layers of a place, person, or event, students will be able to provide context and perspective to a learning topic by combining research and their own photography. Understanding context and perspective can be achieved with a variety of apps including the camera app to combine their inquiry and research with “on location” photography. The learning outcomes of photographing history include: understanding research, participating in inquiry, and learning history content.
The Lesson: The lesson that this book provides is “The New Deal in Your Neighborhood.” This lesson could be taught in a U.S. History and the activity could be adjusted to be used with grades 4-14. Below is the overview provided in the text: Overview: “The Works Progress Administration (WPA), created by the New Deal in 1935, left a legacy of public buildings and works in neighborhoods across the nation. To understand that legacy and the role of government during the Great Depression, students explore the New Deal’s WPA sites in their communities. Students contribute to the story of that history by researching and learning about a site, interviewing local historians or people involved at the site, and combining historic photographs with their own photographs. The iPad is a mobile research station and curation tool that students take with them as they delve into the project. The iPad also gives students opportunities for virtual visits using apps and online websites. Once documentation is collected, students use the iPad to analyze and present information. I’ve included an example from a visit to Fire Station No. 4, a WPA project in San Diego, California. Use this example as a starting point to grow your own ideas, and then expand your repertoire of photographing history activities with your students.” Students as Historians: You can bring the New Deal to life by having students find and photograph a New Deal project. Students can find this by going to The Living New Deal website where they can search for information and historic photos. They than can record interviews and capture additional images. By doing this they can reflect and analyze the changes and do further research. There data can be shared in an eBook or on a blog to be included as a part of the historic records.
New Deal Lesson
Additional Resources: ThingLink: Teachers can post a primary source or student-made image in ThingLink and students can then comment on images or documents with this app.
Aurasma: Using this app, teachers can create a “learning wall” where they can post images (historic newspapers or primary source photographs) on the classroom wall and have students bring them to life with different technology projects. For example with iMovie media analysis, they can then put them on the wall using their iPad.
Bookry Widgets: Students can create before-and-after images and image sliders using this app. They can also include them in a book for dramatic emphasis and analysis.
My Future Classroom: This is definitely something that I want to try and apply to my future Social Studies classroom. I feel like when I was in history classes, if I would have had more access to images, photographs, and primary documents I would have had a better grasp on the facts that we were learning. That is what I hope to bring to my social studies classroom- an understanding for history. I think that it is less important to be able to regurgitate facts, but instead students should be able to think like a historian. By doing this they can understand how the choices, events, and places all influenced different events in History. I hope that using these digital tools will help my students have a better understanding of History or at least find one thing they find interesting because that is what will help my students remember instead of just memorizing dates and facts for a test.
My Take Away: If you made it through all of that information, I am now going to share why I think that this iBook is so important to read with my “take away” of the week. Using these digital resources can help students’ use critical thinking and problem solving while learning about Social Studies. Using these tools, students will have access to numerous resources that will allow them to investigate and define political or social issues in the past, and then illustrate through media, how this issue relates to their community. THIS IS SO IMPORTANT! With an emphasis of Social Studies, I feel like students have really let this subject slip through the cracks because they believe it is not as important as math or English; or they simply think it is super important. Social Studies is important and by using these tools students will see that while also engaging in activities that makes the content less boring. These digital tools also promote creativity and innovation because it allows students to create an original piece of work that can be published or presented online. If you have time, read my review on Shelly Fryer’s “Technology 101 Skills for Teachers” and you will see why sharing these projects online is so important for student learning. Last it promotes information literacy by having students access and analyze visual digital primary information sources and digital maps.
Check it Out! Below I have the links to the resources mentioned above, as well as some additional ones that can be used for this lesson, the classroom, etc. I also provided links to social media that Cheryl Davis can be found on....so go check out all of these amazing resources NOW and start thinking about how to spice up your classroom, lesson plans, and more!