Posts tagged #Sschat
I am very proud to announce that The Stanford History Group will be hosting the first #sschat of 2013 on Monday, January 7th at 7 PM EST. They will be discussing reading and writing in history courses. Please join us on #sschat!
The Sanford History Educaton Group has created two wonderful programs: Reading Like a Historian and Beyond the Bubble. The Reading like a historian curriculum engages students in historical inquiry. Each of their 65 lessons revolve around a central historical question and features primary documents modified for students of all ability levels. Instead of memorizing historical facts, students evaluate the trustworthiness of multiple perspectives on issues from King Philip’s War to the Montgomery Bus Boycott, and make historical claims backed by documentary evidence. Beyond the Bubble utilizes the digital archives of the library of Congress to create a new form of history assessments. Their goal is to “go beyond the bubble” by offering teachers an easy-to-use assessment that captures student’s knowledge and interpretation of critical thinking instead of memorization of facts.
This year has been a wonderful year of professional development, growth, and reflection. I had the unique opportunity to attend and present at the National Council for the Social Studies Conference in Seattle, Washington, a summer institute through Gilder Lehrman on 9/11 and American Memory held at the 9/11 Memorial and Museum (not yet open to the public), and an interesting opportunity to learn more about the Hudson Valley through the HELP program at my district. While all of those experiences were exciting and educational, I can’t but help to reflect on how the EdCamp movement has changed my expectations of professional development.
What is the Edcamp model?
According to Simple K-12, “It is a new grassroots movement happening all around the United States, is something you don’t want to miss. This movement is spreading like wildfire, quickly transforming the way teachers learn. EdCamps should not be confused with traditional education conferences; these are events organized by local groups of educators who strive to create an UNconference environment that encourages participant-driven discussions in an informal area. There are several benefits of attending EdCamps, including: free attendance, flexible agendas, group brainstorming sessions, local networking opportunities, and much more!”
My Edcamp Transformation
Edcamp Social Studies: I was first introduced to the Edcamp model by my wonderful #sschat professional learning community when they organized Edcamp Social Studies #1. The conference was held in Philadelphia, PA on March 24th, 2012. I learned innovative and creative ways to improve my practice. The Edcamp Social Studies unconference was such an amazing experience that it “set the bar” for other Edcamp’s.
This summer I attended EdCampNYC #2, Edcamp Leadership # 3, and Edcamp Hudson Valley # 4. All of these Edcamp experiences were amazing in that they helped to expand and reinvigorate my teaching methodology and repertoire. It is important to remember we are all learners – teachers and administrators as well as students and we must constantly adapt and reflect on our own teaching and learning.
EdCamp NJ: This weekend I had a wonderful opportunity to attend Edcamp NJ #5. What made this Edcamp different was that it was much larger than previous Edcamp’s. Edcamp NJ was one of the best Edcamp’s I attended this year. Besides being very well organized, sessions were streamed so people across the United States could participate remotely. This encouraged a new form of collaboration and participation.
Now that I am officially an “edcamp junkie” I was able to recognize and reconnect with some amazing educators from previous Edcamp’s, blogs, or twitter chats. It was a also an inspirational experience to meet educational leaders such as Brad Currie, Salone Thomas-El, Jeffery Bradbury, Danielle Hartman, Kevin Jarrett, Scott Rocco, and so many others! I got to connect with educators such as Hannah Walden, Katie Baker that I am now following on Twitter. I was able to meet people for the first time in-person even though we have been communicating on twitter for a few years. Here is a Evernote file of what I learned at Edcamp NJ. Blog posts will be forthcoming!
How has the Edcamp model changed my expectations?
1. Invite Me to the Table: I love Benjamin Franklin’s quote, “Tell me and I forget, Teach me and I remember, Involve me and I learn.” Just like this quote, I want to collaborate, I want to participate, and I want to be apart of the “fight” to improve education. I am no longer satisfied with traditional methods of professional development and I often WANT to use the “rule of two feet” at other conferences. The Edcamp model has taught me that I should no longer be passive learner at professional development, but to be apart of the discussion and collaboration to improve education.
2. The Power to Change: Edcamp conferences have made me more reflective of my practice. I have the ability to transform my classroom, school, and the field of education (even in a small way). I can bring about change through collaboration with others. My mother, a 13 year veteran teacher was also inspired by Edcamp NJ. Even through she was an Edcamp and Tech Newbie, she left with the same feeling of excitement and desire to share/implement like I did.
3. I am not alone. The field of education can be a very isolating experience. Twitter as well as Edcamp has turned my professional experiences from isolation to inspiration. I have a unique and wonderful opportunity to connect with dynamic educators from around the world everyday! My PLC has expanded and reinvigorated my expectations for myself and my students. My professional Learning community, twitter, and the Edcamp model has helped to make me into the teacher I am today and it will continue to shape me into the teacher I want to be tomorrow.
Here is a Evernote file of what I learned at Edcamp NJ. Blog posts will be forthcoming!
For more information about Edcamp Movement please visit the Edcamp wiki
We all have to make choices. As teachers we must constantly make them. How will we spend our time in and out of class? What resources should we use with our students, and where should we go to get them? How will we foster effective learning? Social Studies educators, like me, often wonder, how will my lessons foster responsible citizenship among my students?
Implementing Social Media into the Classroom
I recently chose to investigate the possibilities and challenges of utilizing social media to improve my social studies teaching. I define social media as any service where content is user generated and shared with fellow users of that medium. I was already using several social media services (e.g., Facebook, Twitter, Foursquare, Instagram) in my personal life, but I did not utilize them professionally. While I didn’t understand it at the time, I’ve found this choice, albeit a quite a bit less dramatic and violent, like the one Neo faced in The Matrix (1999):
Like Neo, I had no idea of the ramifications my choice to select the red pill of social media. When I began to use it I discovered a world that I did not know existed, but, fortunately, it was not the painful reality of Neo’s “real world.” Over the last couple weeks I have uncovered a wealth of resources, ideas, and colleagues. Yet it has not been without challenges. I will provide a brief summary of my some of my experiences using social media for school. I hope these experiences might provide some insights for others embarking upon a similar journey (or maybe even remind social media veterans what it is like for neophytes).
Exploring New Forms of Social Media
While I made the choice to investigate social media, I have not been alone. For the past week I asked my senior social studies methods students to accompany me. I began a week before our first class by immersing myself in a variety of social media services by using them 5-10 hours a day. I created a Facebook page, a new Twitter account (@WSUSocStudies), an Edmodo account, and sought out people and organizations on these forums. I checked out books from the library and searched databases for academic articles on the topic. The academic materials provided some interesting perspectives, but they didn’t show me what to do. Just like Morpheus explained to Neo, “no one can be told what [it] is. You have to see it for yourself.” Only by using social media can one really understand the possibilities it might afford teachers and students.
I initially used my linked Twitter and Facebook pages to collect and share resources with others. I searched organizations with which I was already familiar (e.g., the History Channel, the Gilder Lehrman Institute). I retweeted interesting links, or posted YouTube videos or websites that I had previously used in my own classes. I made use of Scoop.it to find new and interesting articles.
I found many good resources, but I also felt overwhelmed. I was inundated with a mass of information, and keeping up with everything on just scoop.it and Twitter seemed like too much. I enjoyed much of what I was finding, but I found myself without enough time in the day to keep up with all my professional responsibilities along with this new cyber world. Not only was I overwhelmed, but I also wondered, what is really different about social media then just searching the internet? I was also nervous about how my students would feel accompanying me on this journey (see next blog post). The social studies methods course is designed to help students think about theoretical and practical aspects of teaching social studies, and I was dedicating the first few weeks of our course to exploring these tools so we could practice using them all semester. I certainly did not want to waste their time, and there’s always anxiety when you try something new and different with your students, especially something that is banned in many schools. Like Neo, I was initially unsure of my role in this new world.
The Turning Point: Connecting with Other Educators
The turning point came when I discovered that the real power of social media was not in simply collecting resources and ideas, but in connecting with others whom are on the same journey. I have met a community of social studies educators passionate about teaching, and using social media tools to improve their craft. All of a sudden, I not only found resources, but support, insightful recommendations, answers to questions, and invitations to opportunities to continue the conversation. I didn’t just search for resources, I began receiving and providing them to people as we had conversations about wise practices. My online use went from a largely one way gathering of resources to the development of transactional relationships and the discovery of an online community.
After 10 days of social media use I found myself participating in a Twitter social studies chat (#sschat) where educators from across the country were sharing resources and ideas. Four days later social media leaders in the social studies – Shawn McCusker (@ShawnMcCusker) of Illinois and Melissa Seideman (@mseideman) of New York – were imparting ideas and answering questions with my class via Google Hangout videoconferencing. They showed my class and I specific ways we could successfully use social media and technology to become better teachers. As they answered my students’ questions I was amazed how social media made this all possible.
I still have an incredible amount to learn, but after only two weeks I can’t help but feel like Neo at the end of the Matrix – after he finally believed and understood how the Matrix works. He realized that the rules of the old system didn’t apply to anymore. He saw that a new world of possibilities existed. I am excited and unquestionably satisfied with my choice to journey into the rabbit hole of social media. I recommend that you make the same choice.
- Participate in social studies chats on Twitter using “#sschat” every Monday for one hour beginning at 7 Eastern/6 Central; Follow moderators: @ShawnMcCusker, @Ron_Peck, @Becky_Ellis_
- Although I’ve had some problems, I’ve found Edmodo to be an interesting way to set up a class. It has a Facebook interface, but provides a closed, and presumable safer, environment for classes.
- I have found Google Drive (formerly Google Documents) and Google Hangout invaluable resources to connect with students and colleagues.
Dan Krutka, Ph.D. is middle level/secondary social studies chair at Wichita State University in Wichita, Kansas. He taught high school social studies for six years previous to beginning in his current position in 2011. He can be followed/contacted at www.facebook.com/WSUSocialStudies, on Twitter @WSUSocStudies, or by e-mail at email@example.com.
Unfortunately, teaching has the potential to be an isolated career in terms of collaboration and support. Before I discovered Twitter I felt alone with my teaching and was most certainly not as reflective. I feel extremely privileged to have discovered #sschat on Twitter. I love observing people’s reactions when I say I use Twitter for professional development. When I was interviewing for my job my husband and I sat down and carefully constructed how I was going to approach the way I introduce twitter as a PLC. I wish more preservice teachers knew about this wonderful asset. Twitter has provided me with a wonderful opportunity to connect with dynamic educators from around the world and learn interesting ways to engage my students.
Twitter (#sschat) has truly become one of the most inspirational ways I have created my own profesional learning community. Every Monday night at 7 PM EST teachers from around the country log into their twitter accounts and follow the hashtag #sschat. Every week there is a new discussion prompt or topic. It’s pretty AMAZING to say that I connect with hundreds of AWESOME social studies teachers from around the country EVERY week… actually everyday. Some people joke that #sschat is one massive department meeting, one in which I truly enjoy “going to.” Monday become my favorite day of the week, which is pretty rare for most educators.
In addition to the wonderful #sschat discussions and the #sschat Ning Website has become an amazing resource! If I am teaching a lesson and need help I can post a question or a problem and I instantly get a response and resources from teachers who teach the same subject. My lonely job is no longer isolating but inspiring! I hope to “see you” Monday Night!
Video Introduction to Twitter #sschat - http://www.screencast.
I learned about infographics from Twitter’s #sschat. Before Monday I had no clue how to make an infographic. Information graphics or infographics are graphic visual representations of information, data or knowledge. Here is more information: What is an info-graphic?
Easel.ly is one of the simplest websites to design an infographic for your classroom, a lesson, for a school poster, and the ideas can go on and on. Easel.ly is ”easy to use,” free, and within a matter of minutes you can make an infographic, unless you are a perfectionist like me, in that case it will take you a few hours.
Once you create an account you select a theme, select objectives and shapes, design the layout, add text, and you can create an infographic is a short amount of time. Easel.ly is not the only website that allows users to create infographics, another is visual.ly, which seems to have a fewer resources. I seemed to prefer Easel.ly.
According to Jamie Forshey author of Edutech for Teachers blog, Infographics can be used as a “visual to show students and educators the way that technology is projected to continue shaping our lives, world—and education! What a great way to motivate, encourage, persuade and guide students in post-secondary career planning! It’s also an excellent visual for stressing the importance of exposing students to relevant, real-world tech tools in the classroom setting.”
Here is a sample infographic I made for my classroom. I brought it to staples to enlarge it or you can use the Block Posters web tool to create your poster. I also embedded it on my blog.
Unfortunately, teaching has the potential to be an isolated career in terms of collaboration and support. I feel extremely privileged to have discovered #sschat on Twitter and the EdCamp conference model. I love observing people’s reactions when I say I use Twitter for professional development.Twitter has provided me with a wonderful opportunity to connect with dynamic educators from around the world and learn interesting ways to engage my students. Twitter (#sschat) has truly become one of the most inspirational ways I have created my own profesional learning community.
On Saturday, May 5th, 2012 I attended EdCampNYC at Francis Lewis High School. EdCampNYC was one of many unconferences occurring in the United States. For me, EdCampNYC and EdCampSS was an amazing experience and one in which expanded/reinvigorated my teaching methodology and repertoire. It is important to remember we are all learners – teachers and administrators as well as students and we must constantly adapt and reflect on our own teaching and learning. Here is the reflection page from EdCampNYC, where there are free resources, websites, presentation links, etc.
I plan on attending two EdCamps this year:
- EdCamp Lower Hudson Valley (New Paltz, NY) August 14, 2012 website
- EdCampNJ (North Brunswick, NJ) December 1, 2012 website
I led the session about mobile devices in the classroom at EdCampNYC. Here is my Powerpoint from the session.
I am attending and participating at EdCamp Social Studies in Philadelphia PA on March 24th. I am excited to learn from innovative social studies teachers and improve my teaching. I agree with Ron Peck in that an “amazing group of educators from around the country are working together to put on a one of a kind EdCamp for Social Studies Teachers. It doesn’t get any better than that!” I hope to see you there!
What is EdCamp Social Studies?
EdCamp Social Studies is an unconference, inspired by similar events being organized around the country. Our goal is to bring together educators to discuss social studies instruction that works. It’s a day for educators, by educators. In fact, all of our sessions will be facilitated by our attendees. So come with an idea for a session that you would like to lead…or a suggestion for one you would like to see.
Citation: EdCamp Social Studies