Dr.Fifer1863, officially Dr. Jim Beeghley, shared a wonderful posting on technology and primary source photographs. Any teacher who wants to learn more about using technology and primary sources to teach the American Civil War or any other educational topic, should read and learn from his blog. I also would like to direct you to another colleague who teaches using primary sources, Nancy Bosch. Her work in CSI is one of my favorites among her many project ideas.
Many of us are interested in using primary sources in our work and the work of students. I am especially reminded of our friend Nancy Bosch and her excellent work with students as shared with us in A Very Old Place. Many of us would like to use primary sources in teaching our students. We may need a bit of guidance, so I would refer you to Nancy's blog and the efforts of Dr. Jim Beeghley.
Primary sources can be more interesting, and are usually without bias, but not all. Dr. Jim Beeghley explains in his Teaching the Civil War with Technology blog post,Using Photographs from the LOC, that sometimes even primary sources can be flawed when the author inflates or changes the story in some small way.
Some authors of Civil War photographs, including famous ones such as Alexander Gardner, manipulated the scenes to make the photographs more graphic or exceptional. Their view of the "scene" may have been different than we think of today.
Dr. Beeghley provides several excellent ways that you and your students can use modern, available technology to lead "...our students to some analysis of these photos..." He explains how to access the wonderful resources of the Library of Congress photographs and their activities.
These lessons and related activities are ready to roll. I don't think you need to know much about photography or technology to achieve good results in the classroom. Just follow the directions, practice before and then use the tools and guidelines with your students.
Photographed by: Barnard, George N. Compiled by:Hirst D. Milhollen and Donald H. Mugridge. Atlanta, Ga. View on Decatur Street, showing Trout House and Masonic Hall. 1864. Selected Civil War Photographs, 1861-1865. 1977. Library of Congress Prints and Photographs Division Washington, D.C. 20540 USA. No. 0698. March 29, 2009 Electronic address.
Sunday, March 29, 2009
Wednesday, March 25, 2009
rtw - 0334 by neil banas
Today, I am introducing Winsome Wednesdays.
I will discuss interesting, curious and joyous ideas.
These are topics of interest to me that I think are related to education.
I hope you will enjoy them.
For my first Winsome Wednesday whimsy, I am featuring, Muxicall, so other educators can learn more about this simple, yet powerful web application.
Muxicall is an interactive online web application that helps people, anywhere online, interface through music. Created by a young student, Diana Antunes, Muxicall is a superb online application that everyone should enjoy.
You don't need to know anything about music to use Muxicall. Just go to the website and play around with the interface. I was most impressed when a friend joined me there. After a few squeaks and squarks, we fell into a synchronicity of musical interactions. It was a type of communications.
I will leave it up to you to decide, but I think there are a multitude of uses for this web application, Muxicall.
Particularly, I thought it might help children with interaction issues. It has a clean, minimalist interface. Its ease of use and wonderfully vibrant results could help draw them into interactions online that might lead to more face to face interactions with music. Music Therapy and Play Therapy have always been a powerful force to help children reach out to the world.
Try Muxicall. If you need a partner, let me know. We can find a time to evaluate Muxicall for future use in the classroom and have fun.
One of the hallmarks of the American Experience is the mobility of the population. From our immigrant ancestor's original trip here to our ability to move to better our conditions, Americans value mobility across the country and through the class ranks. This mobility remains especially important in times of economic stress. As educators, we can move to new schools or educational settings.
Educators have a variety of reasons for moving, but two important ones include, finding a new school to earn more money and finding a better working environment.
As individual educators, you don't have to be young to change jobs, just be willing to adapt. Children all over Earth need our help, so we can always find places to skillfully practice our craft.
What about those of us whose spouses or families cannot adapt with us? Well, in my experience, you can always commute. My husband's work and investments are in the land, so he must stay where we live to keep everything working.
In 1998-99, I was following a professional dream to be an independent contractor helping various schools with their curriculum and professional development inservices. I discovered that I needed more economic stability. I chose to take a job in Wichita, Kansas where I found a high level of professionalism and pay in their school district. I taught there from 1999 through 2004. Even though I had never taught in a city, I found the experience exhilarating.
Since this was a weekly commute, I rented an apartment. My daughter joined me in 2000 and we lived in the city during the week. We drove home on Friday afternoon. My husband's help was critical to the success of this mission, and my daughter enjoyed her elementary school years in Wichita.
My family's experience is not unique, but I wanted to share it to let others know that when you need them, you can find professional opportunities out there. During this time of economic upheaval, I hope anyone who needs to improve their teaching or economic situation will consider such viable options as moving, short commutes or weekly commutes.
Tuesday, March 24, 2009
Life often becomes more powerful through the relationships we make. Whether the opportunities are face-to-face or online, we can meet people in the most serendipitous ways. If it hadn't been for a fire in a Texas server center that shut down Weather Pixie, I would have never met Tamsin, the young woman, the talented programmer, who created Weather Pixie. I want to honor my Ada Lovelace Day pledge by sharing a brief description of her contribution to technology.
Tamsin is the programmer who developed the awesome widget called WeatherPixie or What to Wear. In my professional opinion, as an educator, I believe WeatherPixie is one of the most valuable web applications that teachers can use.
Not just educators love Weather Pixie, so you might want to try it out, especially if you like knowing about the weather. You can set up Weather Pixie for your area or for any area on Earth.
Weather Pixie is a web application or widget that anyone can use. I believe parents and educators of children of the preschool through elementary ages can use Weather Pixie to help little ones learn about the weather and what types of clothing to be worn each day. If it is raining, the Weather person (select a boy or girl) will have an umbrella or raincoat. When it is sunny and warm, they may wear shorts.
A colleague first shared Weather Pixie with me in September of 2007. In turn, I share it, as a widget and blog postings, with my readers. I hope you will download and use a Weather Pixie for your blog, website or wiki to teach your children or students or just for your own enjoyment.
Tamsin Bowles is a young, very resourceful programmer who appreciates her privacy. She lives in a metropolitan area of the United Kingdom where she works as a programmer. She made Weather Pixie because she wanted to keep up with the weather throughout the day, and we are the beneficiaries of her idea. If you like her work, you can donate at her website. She has a wishlist and Weather Pixie swag. Her family and peers have every reason to be very proud of her. I'm glad she loves technology and programming, and I look forward to hearing more from Tamsin in the future.
Wednesday, March 18, 2009
As the American Education Historian David B. Tyack asserted in his book, The One Best System, on page 10:
It is more important to expose and correct the injustice of the social system [ie. the educational system] than to scold its agents. Indeed, one of the chief reasons for the failures of educational reforms of the past has been precisely that they called for a change of philosophy or tactics on the part of the individual school employee rather than systemic change---and concurrent transformations in the distribution of power....It seems to me that a single, yet powerful reform can change the way in which educators think and work, as well as, increasing the compensation they receive. Your comments, pro and con, would be greatly appreciated.
If the current reforms in education, as they relate to staffing the ranks of educators, are to be successful, educator status should be raised to the same level as lawyers, accountants and doctors by professionalizing those who meet education and testing standards set by a self-regulatory body, possibly called the American Education Association.
All currently licensed educators, of Masters level or higher, would receive professional status. This would allow them advantages that could be monetized, including income tax deductions similar to those available among other professionals, such as ALL TECHNOLOGY: HARDWARE & SOFTWARE and ALL MATERIALS FOR OUR WORK ($250.00 doesn't cut it). This would provide an automatic pay increase that local governments would not need to pay, because it would be generated through reduced income taxes and more money retained by educators.
This professionalization process would allow for interns and residents to be trained under professional educators and that should be more effective for education reform as well.
As educators, we should avoid the diatribe that has blemished our positive attitudes and educational backgrounds for decades.
No longer are our ranks being filled by young, naive, single girls whose only options, in earlier times, were marriage and family or life as a teacher. This was the case earlier in our American History, as Carl F. Kaestle carefully explains. In Pillars of the Republic his history of American Common Schools, Mr. Kaestle explains the history of the precursors of public schools.
Historically, the use of cheap labor, young local women, exasperating those who considered teaching a profession. This caused the ranks of doctors and lawyers and accountants to expand and professionalize to prevent the same from happening to their positions in these other fields.
Today, most educators have excellent training, yet now the reformers are going after education graduate schools. This has to end, it seems to me. Professionalize and we will no longer be unsure who is qualified. Professionalize and anyone who can pass the professional educators exam would be qualified to teach. Educators should stand up for themselves and claim their professional status.
Tuesday, March 17, 2009
wishes and regrets by McMorr
If we want to think of ourselves as Twenty-first Century educators, we must remove some of the old paradigms that affect this view of learning. One of the most prevalent preconceptions is the definition of TEACHER.
What is a 21st Century Teacher?
Who is a 21st Century Teacher?
Where does a 21st Century Teacher function?
Do all 21st Century Teachers have an official class?
Do all 21st Century Teachers have an official school?
When does a 21st Century Teacher teach?
Why does a 21st Century Teacher teach?
While there may be some new words for teacher, educator comes to mind, I am wondering how the lines between informal education and formal education through the advances of web applications and other technologies are blurring the definitions of teachers or educators?
It seems to me that this blurring of the learning place is an opportunity for all of us to change our 20th Century preconceptions of teacher/educator into the 21st Century paradigms. Are you doing that? Do you respect all educators no matter their place of being? OR Are you stuck in the 20th Century?
Wednesday, March 11, 2009
This could really help schools or businesses save money also.
Tuesday, March 10, 2009
Plants, recipes and other traditions can provide an enduring legacy to the giver upon all who were touched by their lives. My grandmother is no longer with us, but her legacy remains.
Using Amplify, a social bookmarking site with a group blog, for such a project to begin or end Grandparents' Day would be a great way to encourage students to share their histories and legacies.
Friday, March 6, 2009
You can use Glogster as a static poster or background. For instance, I have seen glogsters used as backgrounds for wikispace pages.
I believe its most important use is as a front page portal to an entire presentation.
Posted by samccoy at Friday, March 06, 2009
Sunset at T-Ball by Stuck in Customs
in the business world could emulate ballplayers
in their systematic pursuit of improvement. Here’s what I’ve come up with:
Thursday, March 5, 2009
Inside the Monument - London by nick.garrod
Have you ever had a teacher who took half the class time for their lesson introduction, aka anticipatory set? Well, it seems that can also happen online. Today, I read an author's post that rambled across the topic throughout half the blog, and the introduction still didn't INTRODUCE the main focus of the article.
I am wondering if I should have higher expectations for a university official with a doctorate than a high school student?
What could the author do to more effectively get to the point? I think the wandering blogger should eliminate the top part of the post, it wouldn't have been missed. Minimally, the author could let the post rest and look at it again later. Maximally, a university official could enlist an editor.
This experience taught me a good lesson today. Every story should have a beginning, a middle and an end, and the author should not make you wander in the desert before they get to the point. It takes time to read or even scan recommended articles, and TIME is a fixed parameter, even in the virtual world.