Monday, February 9, 2015

Tech Teach-In

Hello again everyone! It has been a while since I have posted, before winter in fact. Regardless, I am back now. For this blog post I want to release my thoughts to you all about my Tech Teach-In lesson. First a little bit of context. I am currently teaching in a 9th grade World History and Geography class and I have recently been thinking more and more about how Twitter could possibly be used in an educational setting. Twitter seems to be calling to me in someway to be used in the classroom, perhaps it is because of my newly found occasional hobby of tweeting about professional wrestling? Nevertheless, my interest in the website has grown.

But how can I use it in the classroom? My first thoughts on this conundrum began when my history class was learning about the Crusades. There are many different historical "characters" that were prevalent in this time: Christian Crusaders, the Pope, Muslims, various kings, and even child Crusaders. This got me thinking about how important perspective tacking is in the discipline of history. Commonly called historical empathy, historical perspective taking can be helpful for students to understand that the past was inherently different than the present. For example, students might just call someone living when slavery was prevalent stupid because they should have known better, but in this historical person's time slavery was not seen as a bad thing.

With this in mind, my thoughts are that students can create a Twitter account and then assume the perspective of someone in history. This would not be just a random person though. A lesson like this would tackle a specific time in history. For example, with the Crusades a set number of students could be Crusaders, Muslims, and one maybe two students could take the perspective of the Pope. The students would then over the course of a week tweet out things that the role are assuming would say two to three times a day. To make it easier to track as a teacher I could also create a specific hashtag for the students to attach so that they and I could easily see the "big picture" of what was going on at the time.

Essentially, students would creating pseudo-primary documents. Doing this would show me how well students understand the different roles of people in a certain period of time as well as be a succinct writing exercise for students. Furthermore, this could easily be expanded to other classes at my placement school or even other schools in the area. There are some possible drawbacks though: Students' parents would have to be okay with social media, students would need to learn Twitter if they don't already know about it, or students might not have internet access at home to tweet out everyday. These would prove to be speed bumps in the lesson plan, but I feel this could certainly be worked around in some way. Let me know what you think!