Sunday, July 1, 2012

In the beginning

After the first day of class here at the University of Michigan, I found myself noting more than ever the tactics my new instructors were using to effectively convey information and engage my peers and myself. I must say that I have never been in an environment that is quite so reliant on elements of technology within the classroom. For example, every course I am enrolled in has it's own CTools site, wherein I am to submit my work and pull important resources such as syllabi and class readings. If for any reason, this CTools website were to entirely crash, the vast majority of my instructors would be frustrated, and at a complete disadvantage in having to find another method to disseminate necessary classroom materials. 

The emphasis on technology in the classroom only increases as the internet becomes that much more expansive and useful. I, an aspiring history teacher (an aspiring *AWESOME* history teacher), am committed to using technology in the classroom in a way that will bolster the retaining of immense knowledge. History is a tough subject to teach, no doubt. There is too much information for any one person to completely grasp -- the sheer nature of the study of history is, by itself, overwhelming. There is no "perfect" way to teach it. I have seen my instructors attempt to teach history in so many ways, and no two instructors have ever had the same methodology. It is my intention to find a way to integrate useful technological resources in the understanding of history. If I think about it, it seems ironic or something to try to use modern technology to teach about things that occurred years and years ago. That said, I feel somewhat lucky to have technological tools at my disposal because I believe they are crucial and beneficial. 

So, my ideas are pretty much simple. I don't claim to be some tech genius. I'm competent, but by no means am a person who can quickly make sense of new tech tools.  HOWEVER, I'd like to try new things that can be translated into historical learning. For example, I want to have an archive on a website such as picasa that I would store examples of visual learning. I will have the visual examples grouped into eras of time that represent the cultural movement. These pages will be things like "Renaissance Art", "Rococo", "Romanticism Art", "Surrealism", etc. I want to be able to have these resources like this available to my future students so that they have an idea of the way art reflects the social and political happenings of a given time period. I will also search for ways to do this same sort of thing with music. I want my students to have an understanding of the ways music changed over the years, and the way it reflects what was going on in that time. 

I am fully aware that I have way too much to learn about learning. Learning to teach, learning to be effective as an instructor, learning to create a teaching persona, learning to find relatable anecdotes for "dead" history, learning how to motivate the haters, learning to shape conceptual understanding vs. rote memorization, and also learning how to make technological resources a useful tool in aiding my future students. Technology will continue to be important in education, and increasingly so. I want to have a blog for my classes, where I can post pertinent or supplemental resources for students. I want my students to have an active role in this blog also, where they can ask questions, have discussions, and draw from when it is time to take a test or write a paper. 

In short, I'm anxious to see what Education 504 can show me. I have little doubt I will learn several ways I can incorporate technology in my instruction, and I genuinely look forward to this. Children now are raised in a society where technology is assumed. It is a standard. And honestly, it's just plain useful. 



  1. Your ideas about having a Picasa page for each era you cover is really intriguing. How would you do that so it wasn't just photos? And how would you organize what you posted within each division?

  2. Tine, I love the fact that you're interested in doing things with visuals in what will surely be an awesome history classroom.
    One tech tool that you might want to look at is Voice Thread, in which kids can put together images into presentations that form the basis for multi-party discussions or annotations. It is VERY cool. Here's a great resource on the use of the tool with lots of illustrations by teacher Colette Cassinelli (from Portland, Oregon).
    Another excellent resource is the marvelous collection of images at the American Memory project of the Library of Congress. Here's a link to their page on working with primary source images and documents.

  3. I like your idea of having an online tool that your students can access; taking learning history beyond your classroom and presenting it in a format that is familiar to them. As a future Spanish teacher I am excited to see what other forms of technology 504 will show me that goes beyond music, pictures, and videos.

  4. I wonder if Pinterest would help you create those visual art collections with even more ease?