NCSS San Diego, Friday Sessions

I’m in San Diego for the annual conference of the National Council for the Social Studies this weekend. Following are a few posts about sessions I attended.

Digital Age presentation:

It started out on Friday morning with the presentation of lesson plans in the book Digital Age that I blogged about here. Aside from my video, there were presentations on

  • the use of laptops, handhelds, and digital and still cameras to teach and learn about the Cowboy heritage in San Angelo, TX, with the help of guest speakers and re-enactors;
  • the Youth Vote Initiative in a Florida district that uses Rock the Vote videos and spreadsheet-based surveys to teach kids the importance of voting;
  • a Geography presentation that demonstrated the use of graphic organizers such as Inspiration and maps by which students create a proposal for a new trade route from East to West through their state (what was nice about this one was that it’s customizable for both time and space, and the possibility to link the project to current issues such as economic and political impacts of new roads, railroad lines, etc.);
  • and a presentation on the use of Internet tools such as Moodle to stimulate student discusion on Social Studies topics.

It was a nice cross-section of topics and technologies used, providing examples of things that teachers can actually do and use. Unfortunately, only one of the presenters was a teacher himself…

Web 2.0: I was going to go to this presentation by Eric Langhorst but had a conflict with another session, so I had to choose. Luckily, Eric has his powerpoint presentation on his blog, and somebody else live-streamed his presentation as well. I’ll write more about this one when I watch the presentation.

Instead I went to a presentation on Wiki Adventures by Dan McDowell. He discussed how he uses wikis to do things like help his students review for the AP World History exam by having them collaboratively answer practice/review questions. All in all this was an interesting presentation, as it gave me some ideas of different things you can do with a wiki. I really liked the use of the wiki for a Holocaust project, where students use branching to create a type of “create your own story”, to help them learn about decision-making (this is somewhat similar to the tour in the Holocaust Museum in Washington DC.  Finally, though, the most interesting thing that Dan said did not have to do with technology, but with teaching. He said he was a constructivist, but one who lets students learn, create, and share within a box, a box that he creates….

Image Credit: National Council for the Social Studies: http://www.socialstudies.org/conference/

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