Archive for the 'curriculum materials' Category

antiracist projects using wikis

The collaborative projects I assigned using wikis seemed to be successful this year in my Education 205 course: Whiteness, racism and inequality in schools and society.  In previous years I used the wiki included on the college’s course management system; this time I had students collaborate in groups of 4-5 using wikis hosted by Pbwiki.com.  The hosted wiki gave students more flexibility in design, uploading capability, and communication with one another.  They added links, photos, video clips, and references to make their individual projects comprehensive and engaging.  Some of the topics focused on antiracist children’s literature, racism in video games, antiracist children’s music, a discussion and critique of American Girl Dolls, a review of television programming for young children, and racism in animated Disney movies, just to name a few.   Among the goals of the project was to provide students with a vehicle for applying and sharing the information they learned in the course about racism and antiracism. Therefore, I invite you to check out the sites and pass them on to other educators (and/or) parents interested in helping young people learn about racism and antiracism.

In future posts I will compose a more detailed analysis of the wiki assignment and what I learned I need to do to improve the collaborative process for the students involved.

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Antiracist, social justice education and web-two-point 09

It has been almost a month (not to mention a new year) since my last post, and I am feeling quite deprived.  Although I have never left my 2.0 journey, I have had to refocus my energy on teaching and learning (of others), and move away from the complete focus on self-learning that I have been absorbed by the past few months.  So, even though I have been reading blogs and wikis, and posts on social networking sites, watched videos, and listened to podcasts and slideshares, I refrained from commenting on them.  Instead, I have been creating and revising course syllabi so that I will be ready to teach again at the end of this month.

As I was preparing my education-related course focusing on antiracism in schools and society, however, I realized an important omission I made during my ethnoblogging venture.  As I scrolled through my lists of sites bookmarked in Diigo, I noticed that I had not saved any examples of k-12 lessons for teaching with an antiracist or social justice perspective that also  utilize web 2.0 tools or digital media.  I know that I saw some as I reviewed numerous web sites, but I did not think  to highlight them.  Perhaps I was in denial about re-entering the classroom. Or maybe I thought that I would easily be able to find them, but such was not the case.  While reviewing my own posts, I realize that I did highlight a few lesson plans related to the election in November (some of which had a social justice orientation – see post of 11/19/08), but very few of my posts relate to my work in antiracist education.

One of the assignments for my students in the coming semester is to have them identify a lesson plan that purports to be antiracist or multicultural and then to analyze it according to several criteria as outlined by antiracist, multicultural theorists.  I have done this for several years with very good results.  But this year I added a new dimension: I wanted them to find a lesson in which the teacher employed digital media or web 2.0 technology to accomplish his/her lesson objectives.  For such assignments, I usually provide students with some examples or links they might access.  But for this assignment, I did not have any sample lessons or links that combined social justice (or multicultural or antiracist teaching) with technology.  So, I decided to provide them with some web sites that have lesson plans for social justice teaching and some different sites that have lesson plans incorporating technology. By reviewing each of those sites, they will find lesson plans that incorporate both social justice education and web 2.0 technology, but they will need to do the synthesizing to complete the assignment.  The text of my assignment reads as follows:

Assignment: Search for and identify a multicultural/social justice/antiracist lesson for any grade level (K-12) and in any content area that uses Web 2.0 technology (ex. blogs, podcasts, wikis, Youtube or other videos, digital storytelling or other digital media etc.) as part of the lesson.  Bring a copy of the lesson (and the web link) to class.

The following sites may provide you some ideas. The first 3  sites refer to  multicultural, antiracist teaching which may or may not have lesson plans that utilize web 2.0 tools.  The remaining sites contain lesson plans with digital media that may or may not be multicultural or antiracist in focus.  Use your searching skills to find a lesson plan that combines multicultural teaching with digital media (or web 2.0 technology).

o       Use the Teaching Tolerance site at www.teachingtolerance.org.

o       Use the Multicultural Pavilion site at http://www.edchange.org/multicultural/.

o       Use the Rethinking Schools site at http://www.rethinkingschools.org/archive/index.shtml

o       Use www.educatorsworld.com.

o       Use the PBS site at www.teachersdomain.org.

o       Use the Teachers Link and Learning Page at the Library of Congress site at www.loc.org.

o       Use the Teaching History site at http://teachinghistory.org/teaching-materials/lesson-plan-reviews.

o       Use the Newseum site at www.newseum.org.

o       Use a site for digital storytelling such as http://www.wtvi.com/teks/ds/#1.

o       A site for digital media in the classroom such as http://its.leesummit.k12.mo.us/digitalmedia.htm.

As I read through this assignment, I see that I was not as negligent as I thought for by asking them to do the synthesizing, they get to utilize their skills and creativity instead of my giving them all the resources.  So maybe it will turn out fine after all (note the apprehension of a teacher returning from sabbatical – can I  stilll teach effectively?).  Perhaps, though, I should not have them bring a copy of the lesson to class, but ask them to post it on the class wiki – now there’s a web-two-point 09 approach!
More, though less, on web-two-point 09 to come…

Podcasting, techtorials, and Education World

I have been thinking about making a podcast for a few months now.  I knew that I needed to download Audacity and give it a try, but for some reason I kept putting it off.  Fear of the unknown?  Unsure? Feeling rushed?  Who knows?  But a few days ago I got the courage.  And I attribute my new-found courage to an easy-to-use guide on the Education World website under the title of “techtorials.”

The Education World site, which calls itself “the educator’s best friend” is a huge warehouse of information on a variety of topics.  I got to the techtorials by clicking the “professional development” tab on the top.  Then click on the “technology integration” tab on the left side of the site.  This click will take you to another page on the left will be a number of headings – techtorials is one of them.   I scrolled down just to see what was there, and I decided to click on the “creating a podcast.” The instructions by Lorrie Jackson complete with links and screen images were so easy, I jumped right in.  And, voila! – I made a brief podcast which I then played for family and friends. Many thanks to Joann Eldridge, a technology integration specialist whom I met at the MassCue conference last month, for directing me to Education World.  I think I will be spending a lot of time there.

Historical Facts of the Day

At the MassCue conference a few weeks ago I learned from one of the attendees about a web site that focuses on an historical fact of the day about Massachusetts.  The site is called Mass Moments and it is sponsored by the Mass Humanities (formerly called the Mass Foundation for the Humanities).  The site provides the fact of the day in text and also in voice format, so a teacher could play it for her/his students or read it aloud.  There is also a tool bar with the names of the day to get the facts of the other days of the week.  And there are also links for searching all facts for all the days and ways to subscribe to the fact. The text of the fact can also be sent individually to an email address or to a text-message address.  This is a very handy source of information about Massachusetts that has lots of pedagogical applications as well a means to enhance your own learning.  Check it out!

Wikis, webcams and other Web 2.0 tools for teaching about the 2008 Election

On September 17, 2008 I attended an excellent event at Lesley University entitled “See How They Run: Teaching the 2008 election to growing voters.”  One of the goals of the presenters was to engender in young people a sense of civic responsibility by engaging them in the political process rather then having them just be bystanders. The first speaker children’s book author, Susan E. Johnson, read excerpts and provided details about her book See How they run: Campaign dreams, election schemes, and the race to the White House (2008).  The text is engaging by being both informative and humorous, and the illustrations are sure to capture young students.  The author takes complex concepts like the electoral college and presents them in simple yet truthful ways.  The honesty in the text is refreshing, and it is presented from the beginning to the end.  For example, the first line of the introduction states, “We put our Founding Fathers on pedestals and think they were perfect.  But they weren’t.”

The second presenter was Associate Professor Jo-Anne Hart who discussed and showed excerpts from her curriculum enttitled “Growing Voters 2008: Classroom Teaching Materials Grades 1-12.” She highlighted a number of open-ended lessons that can help to increase students’ knowledge and keep students engaged the political process.  She noted that far too many high school students do not have a basic knowledge of politics.  She referred to research that people who are non-voters at a young age tend to remain non-voters.  Political apathy once established persists.  The Growing Voters curricular  materials are free on the website as are all the web-based applications that will help to motivate students. Prof. Hart previously vetted a number of websites that are easy to learn and use.  Some of these include creating a wiki, online surveys, online photo slide shows, blogs, video editing and storage.

The entire event sponsored by the Alumni Association was also an excellent venue for connecting with other educators and exchanging ideas.  I found the event a welcome change from just learning on the web.  There are some things that cannot substitute for face-to-face encounters.  Hurray for them.


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