Flipped classroom, blended learning, personalized learning, active learning spaces, dynamic learning environment, 1:1, 3:1, and BYOD… it’s enough to make you flip out. Right? As a 4th year social studies teacher, I constantly found myself at crossroads of all of these words that, after a while, seemed to just blend together. At times it just seemed overwhelming to think about fitting 10,000 plus years of world history content into just 80 short days AND include technology. Additionally, which methodology is right for me and my students? There were so many questions I had about this topic. I’m sure you as a new or veteran educator have many questions too. So what do you do when you have questions? You find answers.
Why are these methods important? Let’s take a deeper look and see how each of these are defined and go from there. Below are the most commonly used definitions of the words mentioned above.
In my situation, I was “flipping out” because I felt behind the digital curve in education. With that thought in mind, I wanted to share my top three ways to avoid flipping out:
At the end of all this, the point is that the flexible teacher is the most impactful teacher. So don’t worry about making sure every educational buzzword is used in your lesson plan but rather focus on teaching from the heart, researching and reflecting on what works best for you and your students, and take risks. That’s what our students, and education in general, need the most.
Students will work together in groups to research, analyze, and critically think about the path that leads to and the effects of drug and alcohol abuse. They will choose one of eight different senarios and create a Video PSA that is 1 minute long.
The learner will:
NC Essential Standards:
HEALTHFUL LIVING (2010)
Technology Used in this Assignment:
ISTE Tech Standards Covered:
Directions for Students: (Handout from Shanghi American School)
The teacher would obviously make their own PSA video instuctions for students however this is a great example. Where does technology integration happen? In a number of ways. One place is a teacher created google search engine that confines student research to a specific set of resources that they use for research and content. Another place of integration is using flip cameras, iPads/iPods, or their own personal devices to record and upload video for editing. The students will obviously need to edit video so using iMovie and/or Windows Movie Maker and uploading their final product to youtube is a big piece.
Setting the Stage:
The premise for this Unit/Project is rooted in essential standard from the NC Essential Standards which state that students should be able to "Understand how conflict and innovation influenced political, religious, economic and social changes in medieval civilizations." -WH.H.3 Students will use this website to navigate through their discovery of the Global Middle Ages to answer this compelling question: "How can conflict and innovation cause or influence change within global societies?"
Ultimately students will be creating their own Weebly website that answers this compelling question through a set of 5 sub essential question that are tied to Five Social Sciences. Each day, Student Groups will analyze the Global Middle Ages through these lenses of the different social sciences: Geographer, Political Scientist, Economist, Cultural Anthropologist, & Historian. Students are required to have their product as a Weebly website but are also encouraged to create at least one other product with one of the suggested digital tools. Additionally, students will create a Kahoot to test the knowledge of other students at the end of their presentations.
ISTE & Essential Standards Covered:
NC Essential Standard for World History:
ISTE Standards for Students met in this unit:
The Process: Day by day plan.
Day 1: Pose Compelling Question:
Day 2-6: Gather, Analyze, and Creatively Synthesize Information:
Day 7: Critically Evaluate and Revise:
Day 8: Share Public Act/Final Project:
Romeo & Juliet Unit Plan and Links Sheet
Description of Unit:
This unit is designed around understanding concepts of love and emotion in Shakespeare’s Romeo and Juliet. Early in the unit, we discuss the types of love present in Romeo & Juliet while we read through the text together as a class. The teacher is careful to explain that each form of love manifests itself in different ways and has different effects on the plot of the play. As an end product and performance task, students will work together in groups to choose at least one form of love and investigate it throughout the play. They will then, connect the experiences in Romeo and Juliet to modern day and personal experiences by summarizing these connections in the form of a podcast or video. This is being delivered to students through Google Classroom LMS.
Sample Romeo & Juliet Unit and Lesson Plan/Calendar
Common Core Essential Standards to be addressed:
The Essential Question for this unit:
In this unit, Students Will:
ISTE Standards for Students met in this unit:
Technology used in this unit:
Handouts and Student Resources:
For this lesson/project on technology integration in math classes, I collaborated with Ms. Leanna Winstead and her Math 2 classes at Heritage High School. They are using a web based tool called "desmos" located at www.desmos.com. A description of the tool is listed on the student's Project Information Sheet listed below. In addition there are detailed instructions on how students are to complete the project.
Mathspiration Art Project
Objective: To create a piece of art using functions. Your job is to create a piece of art for an "Mathspiration Art Exhibit" at a local art gallery. This exhibit is all about showing that Math isn't just numbers on a page, it's about bringing things to life. So we don’t just want regular works of art. Your art must be made by graphing functions on a coordinate plane. The idea is that we don’t just want basic shapes, We want pictures! That means that there are some guidelines you should follow.
You will use www.desmos.com which is an online graphing program to help you figure out how to do your picture.
This mini-project usually covers a day and a half but could be integrated with other areas of content. The finished student work will be added to a Padlet and students will complete a "Digital Art Gallery" walk and comment on each other's work. Another idea we had, and plan to do in the future, is to collaborate with the Art Teachers and actually host an "Mathspiration Art Exhibit" at the Spring "Meet the Teacher Night". That adds an authentic audience to the project and helps students see themselves in a real world situation.
These are the Content Essential Standards that could be associated with the project.
And so it begins...
So... I have been challenged by the awesome Penny Christensen to participate in the #ETCoaches Blog Challenge and I am beyond excited to participate! :) I've been promising myself that I would become more engaged in the blogger-sphere but have never really buckled down and made myself do it on a consistent basis. Hopefully participating in this blog will help me with that goal. With that in mind, let's get to it:
Week 1 Challenge:
"What is the purpose of your blog? Tell us about your- self/audience/content/passion/expertise - just share!"
My name is David Balmer and I am currently serving in the role of Instructional Technology Facilitator at Heritage and Wake Forest High Schools in Wake Forest, NC. This is a new gig for me as I have been teaching in the classroom as a High School Social Studies Teacher and this year I'm making the transition. So far, I LOVE it. Don't get me wrong, I loved being in the classroom and impacting students lives everyday with knowledge and kindness... but I can already see that this new position is a sweet spot for me.
A little about me? Well, in 22 days I'm turning 35 years old and I am "okay" with that. It's kind of like the you've gone to far to turn back age if that makes sense. I love to travel the world. The UK is by far my favorite place in the world and I hope to live and work there someday. I'm also a big fan of the Mountains of North Carolina and I lived in Boone for 8 years when I attended Appalachian State University. Currently I'm earning my M. Ed. Digital Learning & Teaching Degree from North Carolina State University and should graduate Spring 2017.
My grad school work is actually why this blog got started. Originally the purpose of my blog was to be a collection of thoughts, projects, and information about things that were happening in my grad school classes. However, in my new position as an ITF it's taking on a different role in that it is a way for me to communicate with teachers and colleagues about new technology tools to use in the classroom and in professional learning. It's also a medium to express my thoughts about things that are happening in education in general and where I am with them.
I guess that is why I titled this blog what I did. More than anything, I want this to be a space where I learn and grow while modeling how to do that for others.
That's where I'll wrap up for now... Till next week... and Challenge #2!
Integrating Science, History, & ELA in one package...
Now wait... that says "HISTORY". You are correct. However, the Big History Project is a course designed to be used cross-curricularly in Science, World History, and ELA classrooms. I personally experimented with using this curriculum in my 9th grade world history classes last year and my students LOVED it. They also didn't know some days if they where in a science, world history, or English class because the versatility of the content in the course.
It's designed that you can stick to the curriculum by the letter or you can choose bits and pieces that matter to you the most where you are in the content/unit. So one minute you're talking about cave men and the history behind the first people groups and the next you are talking about Neuroscience and how food intake changed our abilities to think and grow... SCIENCE!
The web based curriculum tool has units set up that teachers and students can easily navigate with scholarly articles, videos, and graphic visuals that again are cross curricular and tie multiple layers of content together in one place. The units also have quizzes and performance based task as far as assessments go. I would highly recommend this web based resource for both World History AND Science classrooms. Maybe you could even use them as collaboration links between the two? Endless possibilities. And no, I'm not getting paid to say this. :) It's just good stuff. More can be found by going to the website:
This week, our final week in ECI 512, we were to look over three areas of educational study, pedagogy, and theory exemplified in the TPACK, SMAR, & the iNACOL Blended Learning Teacher Competency Framework. These three items all serve three different purposes but in the end, I believe, want to get teachers and students to the same end goal; growth.
To begin, the iNACOL Blended Learning Teacher Competency Framework, is an amazing tool that will help shape the next 15-20 years, if not more, of education. The core of this framework is that it is a "living" and evolving document that is and will be flexible as we move forward in understanding what “Blended Learning” is and what it looks like in the classroom. I also strongly value their definition of “Blended Learning” as “A formal education program in which a student learns: at least in part through online learning, with some element of student control over time, place, path, and/or pace; at least in part in a supervised brick-and-mortar location away from home; and the modalities along each student’s learning path within a course or subject are connected to provide an integrated learning experience.” (Horn and Staker, 2013) It is important that we recognize the role of student ownership in the 21st century classroom and this framework does that by acknowledging the twelve different competencies embedded in four larger domains; Mindsets, Qualities, Adaptive Skills, and Technical skills. The thing I like most about this framework is that it seems to include a human element and scaffolds to help both students and teachers growth process. It says “Teacher Competency” but I feel as if it addresses so much more than teacher ownership.
TPACK and SMAR are more so geared towards what is the teacher’s explicit role in connecting the blended learning environment. I feel almost as if these two though more so place an importance on the teacher ownership of the learning environment and doesn’t really address the student ownership aspect as much as the BLTCF does. TPACK I think helps the teacher in finding the ever elusive “sweet spot” in their teaching and how that relates to helping students grow. It’s essentially saying that when the teacher gets into this prime position blended learning can take place. SAMR is somewhat in the same vain in that it more so addresses the growth and the ability of the teacher. However, SMAR does do a good job in making sure that it’s moving teachers and students up the grow ladder in the blended classroom. At the end of the day they are all about grow but from seemingly different angles. I personally think they are all valid just depending the environment they are teaching and where they are in the journey themselves. They all provide systematic ways to growth. iNACOL is more specific and comparable to the NC Teacher Evaluation tool and could probably be integrated nicely with it as far as professional development goes and PDP and SIP SMART goals. I look forward to seeing what happens with these frameworks as we progress further in to the 21st Century classroom.
An understanding of Cosmopolitanism is at the core of Global Learning and being a Global Citizen. By having at least the knowledge of this theory, one can begin on the journey of finding out what it really means to be a truly Global Citizen because it challenges our traditional, local, Westernized way of thinking. In other words, being a Cosmopolitan makes you think and ask questions about others and their cultures which hopefully will lead to a greater tolerance among us all. Essentially what Cosmopolitanism all comes down to is that we have an obligation to humanity because we are human. Kwame Appiah states in his book Cosmopolitanism that “One truth we [Cosmopolitans] hold to… is that every human being has obligations to every other [human being]. Everybody matters: that is our central idea. ” So thinking this way or even being exposed this this form of thinking will help us reach out to learn and know more, even if it’s on the most basic level.
As with anything in life that deals with humanity, there are advantages and drawbacks of the cosmopolitanism philosophy. One drawback I could see is going to deep into Cosmopolitan thinking and making it harder than it actually it. In other words making it harder by examining every situation and interaction you have with others locally and globally could be a real drawback. However, if one were to realize that simple core of the philosophy is that it is a process that it only requires an open mind to see the value in the variety of humanity as Appiah states in his book. He states, “Cosmopolitans think human variety matter because people are entitled to the options they need to shape their lives in partnership with others. ” Thinking too much about it and over analyzing every single action and or perceived motive of others is unfortunately a real drawback.
The advantages of Cosmopolitanism are unlimited. Having the ability to walk a mile in another’s shoes and realize that your journey is the same you just have different shoes on is an experience that could change the world. Possessing a this kind of perspective can lead to conversations people you would have never imagined and take you to places you never could have dreamed of, simply because your mind is open to it. As Appiah states ”the points of entry to cross-cultural conversations are things that are shared by those who are in the conversation. They don’t need to be universal; all they need to be is what these particular people have in common. Once we have found what we share, there is further possibility that we will be able to enjoy discovering things we do not share. That is the one of the payoffs of cosmopolitan curiosity. We can learn from one another; or we can simply be intrigued by alternative ways of thinking, feeling, and acting. ”
Because of the openness and curiosity that Cosmopolitanism stirs as a philosophy, it makes sense that it should be taught in classrooms that are preparing students for living in a Global Community as Global Citizens. By teaching students that there are infact other ways of thinking about life, other types of human interactions in the world, and that though they are different than yours they aren’t necessarily wrong, educators can help create a future of tolerance where curiosity and inquiry are rewarded with cooperation rather than adversity and indifference. As a Social Studies/History Teacher it is of utmost importance to me to foster this openness and Cosmopolitan curiosity/inquiry in my students as I want to see them do better than those that came before them in making decisions that are for the good of all in the world and not just some and that even though they are different that others ethnically, racially, culturally, etc… at the end of the day there is really only one story, the human story.
One thing that education has major issues with in general is taking things from a philosophical/theoretical place and transposing it into a practical, I can use it in my classroom tomorrow reality. The philosophy of cosmopolitanism because of it’s seemingly huge depth is no different in this respect. However, through shaping it into the curriculum through the lens of Global Citizenship, teachers can use methods like Project Based Inquiry or Learning can communicate the philosophy to students by letting them dig into it with their own questions and research. For example as a World History Teacher I created a PBI on the Global Middle ages where students had the big idea question “How can conflict and innovation cause or influence change in global middle age societies?” The students also had five essential or guiding questions based on five different areas or lenses of Social Science; Historian, Geographer, Cultural Anthropologist, Economist, and Political Scientist. The idea was that they would research, examine, and analyze different regions of the world during the Middle Ages through these different lenses.
In their findings hopefully they would see a few things; One, that there were several parts of the world experiencing the same thing in various ways at very similar times. Thus, on a basic level, historically, global societies and people weren’t that different from each other. Secondly, I would hope that students would be able to see the beauty, adversities, and curiosities of other cultures and their roots that are still showing today. This may not be the best example but it’s one that makes sense to me as a practical way to use PBI in conjunction with Cosmopolitanism in the classroom. Another practical idea would be various Flat Classroom projects that center around current global issues where students researched issues that mattered to them, contacted people in location where these issues were happening and get to know them and the circumstances they face with these issues. The students would then partner with individuals and organizations to create awareness and solutions for the issues or at least dialogue. These are just a couple of ideas but in the end as long as you are exposing students to different cultures and ideas from societies other than their own, the curiosity and inquiry will go well beyond your classroom project.
I welcome your thoughts and communication. I have so much to learn and I would love to open a forum here for educators to grow in this conversation about Cosmopolitanism and Global Learning.
What is Cosmopolitanism?
Me nombre es David Balmer. I'm a thirties something Instructional Technology Faciltator in Wake County Public Schools. I love learning and helping others to achieve success... locally & globally. Digital Literacy and Global Citizenship are near and dear to my heart so you will find much about them here.