Where can technology take us?

As every day passes it seems as though there is a new piece of technology being released, a new app, or the newest, and coolest social media site that continues to knock Facebook down. Family dinners have now become places where conversations are being had on technology devices rather than face-to-face. Parents communicate to their children, while they are in the house, through text messages. Long distance relationships are more bearable because you can “see” the other person more. Kids have mastered the art of texting while multi-tasking, the swipe right for a match, or the double tap. Teachers can no longer compete against technology and the world that lives inside of everyone’s pocket, it is time for us to team up with it.

In the video on TeachingHistory.org, it discusses the ways that technology can be a TOOL for teachers in the classroom. As kids become more connected to media and technology, it starts to give teachers an “easy way out” mentality to teaching. It is so easy to throw on a movie that teaches about the time period students are learning because we think it is engaging and educational. In reality though, movies get boring and are not always the most reliable in getting accurate information across. This video does a good job explaining that technology is not there to become a ‘substitute’ in the class but a tool to make class more engaging and fun for students. The more engaged we can get our students the better they will respond to what we are teaching. Rather than letting technology continue to take over, team up with it and allow it to become a ‘partner in crime’ to teaching history.

Another video on TeachingHistory.org showed ways to use technology as a way to help students deepen their understanding of material. The internet is an awesome resource for students and it is a great tool for them to use to find information on things they may not have physical access to. Answers to students’ questions are literally at their fingertips so let them use technology to discover. But along with this amount of information it is also important to make sure that students use it responsibly and are able to understand what is reliable and what is not. It is fine to us Wikipedia for everyday understanding but it is not acceptable to cite it as a source on a research paper. As long as technology is being used as a tool and students do not abuse it, and are aware of methods of using internet resources, there is an endless number of possibilities for students.

Another resource that TeachingHistory.org had was about how to incorporate social media such as Pinterest into the classroom setting. I think it is beneficial to students when teachers can take an interest of the students and relate it to school. This article about how to use Pinterest as a way for students to organize their thoughts, research, and materials was very interesting to me. I think it is a great tool for students to use, that is different than mapping out thoughts on a graphic organizer. I could also see Pinterest being used as a way for students to demonstrate their understanding of a topic. Students could ‘pin’ inventions from the Industrial revolution and show how it has evolved over time. Constantly searching for ways to use what is consuming our students time in the classroom is going to be the best way to relate to students and engage them.

As great as technology is, there are some negative results that can stem from it. It is easy for students to get wrong information from sources on social media which could impact their learning if they are relying on that to carry their education. Just as the video said, technology is meant to be used as a tool. There is still something special about having someone standing in front of you teaching rather than looking at a computer screen for your questions and answers. It is just as easy for teachers to get caught up using technology in their classrooms, but if we team up with it, we can all become a dynamic duo.

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Where do we go from here?

Textbooks. I’ve got a love hate relationship with them. They can be useful in certain situations yet they cannot be reliable in most. To me, textbooks are in some regards the Wikipedia to print sources. You can go to them to get information on a subject but you cannot always trust the material within them.

In two articles that James Loewen writes, he brings up the way that textbooks have been presenting the Confederacy and the grounds on which the Civil War was fought. In his article Why do people believe myths about the Confederacy? he gives evidence as to why many people have false ideas about the Confederacy and it stems from what they are learning from textbooks. A second article, Time to De-Confederatize the Textbook, “The American Journey”: An Open Letter to James McPherson he writes to textbook author James McPherson about the conflicting stances that he has on the Civil War based on one of his books Battle Cry of Freedom. In his book that he writes, Loewen argues that he presents the main issue of the Civil War was slavery not states’ rights yet he contradicts that in the textbook that he authors.

With the coverage of important historical events being questioned in our textbooks, there is no way to avoid the questions that have to be answered. What role should textbooks play in history classrooms? During an NPR interview, Samantha Manchac a high school history teacher explains the way that she uses textbooks in her classroom. She says, “We’re going to have these textbooks. We’re going to utilize these textbooks to some extent, but I also want you to be critical of the textbooks and not take this as the be-all and end-all of American history.” I think she brings up a great solution for the use of textbooks. Use them as a way for students to gain a higher level of thinking by allowing the to critically analyze the material in them with other sources on the topic being discussed. They should not be the first and last source that students are viewing in the classroom but we cannot ignore that they are there, so lets use them as a research tool rather than the means in which we teach.

All of that being said, what else can teachers use to help assist students’ learning process? In an article by the American Historical Association Staff, they discuss a new website created to be a more reliable way for students to get information. It is a website called The American Yawp. This tool gives students a fun and unique way to use textbook-like resources during and outside of class. If teachers are going to resort from using the state given textbook, then it is up to us to find new ways to help support our teaching and this website is a great starting point.

Hello world!

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First I would like to introduce myself. My name is Sarah McDavid and I am a senior at Appalachian State University. I was born and raise in North Carolina which seems like it is becoming more rare. I am studying to become a high school history teacher but I am still leaving the next chapter of my life open to see where I am called to go. Growing up I always dreamed of being a teacher but as I grew up the state of education in North Carolina turned me away from my dream job. As my time at App went on I realized that I rather spend the rest of my life doing what I loved than do something I hated but make a lot of money so here I am.

Going into my senior year of college I have been overwhelmed by where God has brought me. Yes, I love the Lord and am not ashamed to say it. From the people that I have surrounded myself with and my future being  right around the corner I have learned that the world is so much bigger than myself. Every time I think about leaving my friends and this place, or when I get overwhelmed with the fact that I don’t feel prepared to teach, I just think about the students that will be in my classroom. I can’t wait for the day that I can stand in front of my students, look them in the eyes and know that we are about to go on a journey together that is filled with learning, growth, and understanding. By this I don’t only mean with content material, I want it to go deeper than that. I want my students to learn from me but me from them. I want them to look back on their time in my class and be able to say that they grew as people. And lastly, I want them to gain an understanding that they may feel small in this world, but it is sometimes the smallest things that can leave the greatest impression.

Random Facts About Myself:

  1. I LOVE football.
  2. Country music will always be my go to.
  3. I am obsessed with everything Christmas.
  4. I would much rather travel America than the world. (But going abroad wouldn’t be bad either)
  5. Some of my best childhood memories are from coming up to Boone.
  6. Reality TV is my guilty pleasure, although I don’t really feel guilty about it.
  7. I sponsor a child through Compassion International.
  8. Fall is my favorite season.
  9. My favorite movies are Sweet Home Alabama, The Parent Trap, My Best Friends Wedding, and Home Alone 2.
  10. One of my favorite times of the year is when the Pumpkin Spice Latte comes back to Starbucks.
  11. I have a pretty sassy side but people learn to love it.
  12. The farthest I’ve traveled is Costa Rica.
  13. I have an older sister. I also have a nephew who is the GREATEST child on the planet.
  14. If I could have any talent I would be a ballroom dancer so I could be on Dancing With the Stars.
  15. My dream vacation/trip would be to go on a road trip with all of my friends.
  16. The 4Fs are a perfect way to sum up what is important in my life. Faith. Family. Friends. Football.