With dignitaries and patriots converging in Johannesburg to honor Nelson Mandela, the hero's funeral has presented an intriguing educational opportunity for school children around the world. The media coverage devoted to Mandela's life as a civil rights champion and a global statesman has refocused attention on the horrors of Apartheid. This system of institutionalized racism, which gave Mandela such a bitter struggle and an enduring triumph, had previously been relegated to somewhat of an afterthought in many pages of contemporary history.
As educators of middle school students, we continue to be inspired by their passion to have a voice in making a difference. This week one of our sixth-grade students did just that. Jack was touched by the motion graphic Sold and the video Youth For Human Rights – No Slavery that he watched on the class blog. He went home and on his own made a Tellagami to help raise awareness about modern slavery and the plight of children. We are pleased to present it here.
Heading home for the holidays seems a natural part of the winter break from school, and it should be. Yet for many, this is not the case. Today, there are more slaves than in any other period in history, and many of them are children. Modern slavery is the most important human rights issue of our time.
As educators, we continually look for resources to help our learners realize that slavery is not a thing of the past. Many of the websites featured in this post provide ample material for teachers to use in their classrooms.
Student digital privacy is a critical currency, to be safeguarded by schools and pillaged by predators. Interactive, social Web 3.0 resources demand proactive ways to access tech tools and still preserve learners’ anonymity.
In the changing edtech landscape, student safety is taking on new dimensions and new gravity. When every online resource now is interactive and linked to social media, Web 3.0 often requires clever ways to give students access to the learning tools they need and still preserve their innocence.
This year we started a 1:1 program, so we looked to incorporate apps that would aid our students in designing infographics on the iPad. Two that worked for their projects were Viz and Pic Collage. The kids used the free version of Viz. It helped to tame their tendency to over do it by limiting their selections to ten objects. For others, they liked using Pic Collage to create visualizations for their acronyms.
We try to instill the patriotic spirit in our students for every national holiday. Many in our school community have family who served in World War II, the Korean War, and in Vietnam, and a few have family and friends who served in Iraq and Afghanistan. We’ve written about Veterans Day and service to the community; however, the following resources bring the reality of the wars in the Middle East closer to home.
With the advent of the iPad generation, the skills of graphicacy are taking on more importance than ever in today's classrooms. Graphicacy is the learned ability to decipher and design images, particularly around symbols, charts, and coded meanings.
Amid the national emphasis on STEM programs, charts are becoming key tools to represent visual statistics. As more and more schools migrate to 1:1 tablets, therefore, students need a foundation in reading and rendering their own optic inputs.
As we continue to explore data visualizations with our students, we are particularly aware of the importance of graphicacy to the modern learner. Tommy McCall hit the nail on the head when he called “graphicacy the neglected step child in the classroom” in his TEDx East talk on Literacy, Numeracy, And Graphicacy. In the new e-cology to design and create digital content that is transmitted, interactive, and shared, it is even more vital to incorporate graphicacy skills in our lessons.
We recently finished our back-to-school night with our parents, and thanks to ideas from our PLN, it was quite different from what we’ve done in the past. Instead of the usual distribution of paper outlining our course description, class expectations, and grading policy, we opted for a graphical display of ideas. We’ve participated in workshops, followed discussions on Twitter, and kept up with blogs about graphic facilitation, sketchnotes, and visualizing information to know of their utility. More importantly, though, it has been the connections with other educators in our PLN that have made a difference.
When it comes to an understanding of the term “literacy” most people understand it as the ability to read and write in an effort to communicate, understand and learn. That has been the accepted und...
A literate educator in the 20th Century is not the same as a literate educator in the 21st Century. Our education system is loaded with many 20th Century holdovers. Most are great people, and good teachers, but they are illiterate in 21st Century terms. We need not cast them aside.
They are valuable and revered sources and educators. We need to support them with methods to upgrade their literacies. It must be a priority.
Talking to our learners about digital citizenship requires us continually to revise and update our messages. We tell our students constantly that we are not cops here at school to block their access online, but rather we are here to educate them about using it.
We want them to know just how easy it is to collect everything about them on the Web with very little effort. For most learners, the concept of metadata is abstract. They don’t realize that social networks, online shopping companies, websites, and countless other places are routinely collecting it.
It’s time to nominate outstanding educators for the 2013 Edublog Awards. This 10th-annual honor roll recognizes leaders who offer insights and resources to the teaching community. We’ve learned an enormous amount from previous Edublog winners. In highlighting this year’s nominees, we don’t mean to leave out all of the generous mentors and coaches who are part of our daily inspiration. We feel privileged to count all of them among our PLN.
On November 6, 2013, Ethan Young, a Farragut High School senior, delivered a scathing review of the Common Core point by point at the Knox Country School Board meeting in Tenessee. His rebuke of it was powerful and passionate.
We recently stumbled upon this motion graphic on The Universal Declaration Of Human Rights, produced by the Human Rights Action Center (HRAC). We showed it to our students who are currently working on an interdisciplinary project-based learning immigration study. Our approach to the topic of immigration is more than the nostalgic view of Europeans coming through Ellis Island. It is much broader than that. We talk about the painful legacy of Angel Island and the harsh discrimination against the Chinese coming to this country.
The students study immigrant groups from all parts of the world, including the Caribbean and Middle East. We also want our learners to understand the prejudices that different nationalities encountered and that not everyone came by choice.
This video is a powerful reminder of the importance of human rights for all people, and that we all share a role in protecting these rights.
We know Halloween will distract most of our students. So it makes sense to continue our annual quest to find some new infographics to use in our lessons to keep them engaged. Here are some of our favorites for this year.
One of our guiding questions in our history curriculum this year is, “How do economies affect the rise and fall of empires?” So in a room full of middle schoolers learning about the fall of the Roman Empire and its trouble funding its expenses, questions about the United States government defaulting on its debt were bound to come up in the class discussion.
The shutdown of the United States government began today. With no plan of action from either political party, there is consequently no easy lesson for teachers to share with their students.
Any discussion of the current Congressional stalemate naturally begins with a civics lesson about political parties and the separation of powers. The questions today from our students, however, quickly centered on issues of blame and health care.