This week I explored two technology tools I thought would be extremely useful in the area of social studies (my content area).
First I explored creating a timeline.
I centered my timeline around Henry VIII and the break with the Catholic Church. Henry VIII was the first monarch to break with the Catholic Church and create his own church. His actions, with the help of ANne Boleyn started a chain reaction of limiting the power of the Catholic Church.
I tried using Capzles, but I found it a little too advanced for my technological capacity. I had much more success with Timetoast and I liked it because it fit the typical idea of a timeline. I found its formatting very easy to use and I didn’t need a tutorial to get me started. The only aspect I don’t like is that the points sometimes look a little too close together and it makes it hard to see what event happened before another.
For future social studies lessons there are endless possibilities for this activity. I think it is simplistic enough to have students use the tool on their own for a class project and I see its value as a review tool for broader historical events. Also, it would be easy for a teacher to use a timeline as an introduction into a unit or as a detailed chain of events that are difficult to keep chronological. History classes would benefit most from it. I could see the timeline tool used in geography classes, but to a lesser extent. I think it could have ample use in a government classroom.
Second I explored creating a Google Trek.
I am still not entirely sure how it is supposed to be a “trek”. I have created similar maps for my other history classes. The “trek” implies some sort of link between place markers, but I didn’t see that in the tutorial. I am assuming it is basically creating a custom map.
I decided to change it up a bit and use a geography SOL standard to base my activity on. In geography, I would want my students to know some cultural history of the areas they study so I created a map that demonstrates geography and culture. My map looks at historic sites in Russia as well as some geographical sites. For instance, one place marker is on Mt. Elbrus and another on the State Hermitage Museum. I always say variety is key :-).
Google maps is a very easy tool to use. If Google ever becomes extinct, I will cry. The possibilities for using this tool for instruction are endless. The teacher can use it to present lessons in geography, provide visuals in history, or demonstrate politics in government. For geography, a teacher could literally teach off of Google Maps. For history, a teacher could show where battles were, the location of important cities, or demonstrate trade patterns. Gone are the days of the paper map and thank goodness because we can do so much more with Google. I think this would be an easy tool for students to use as well. A few simple tutorials and a student would know how to create a place marker, type up a snippet about it, post a picture, and link to significant websites. My technologically challenged-self learned from a tutorial so what have they got to lose?
Overall, I liked the mini projects from this week much better than last because I felt that I could apply them more easily in the classroom, they are saved online so I can never lose them, and they are more adpated to the everyday user.
Now for a funny story:
Tutor – Me: If you have eight slices of pizza and your friend takes two, how many do you have left.
Tutoree – Eight slices of pizza and one less friend
You have to love sixth graders