Monday, September 22, 2014

The World is Our Classroom

During the school year of 2013-2014 I had a goal of helping my students understand the power of their mobile devices when it comes to learning.  I achieved this, in part, by going paperless in my classroom and asking students to demonstrate learning through multimedia products instead of tests.  Inspired by Sylvia Tolisano's session at BLC14 in Boston, one of my personal and professional goals during the 2014-2015 school year is to show students that the best learning happens when we leverage all of the resources available to us.  While I might be their history teacher, I'm usually not the person with the most expertise available. In fact, the world is available to my students.  They just have to tap into it.

This week my students will be meeting and talking with Jamie, an Explainer at the Museum of Science and Industry in Manchester, England.
Jamie from MOSI Manchester.
My sophomores have worked hard to learn the proper terminology and the social and economic impact of industrialization in preparation for the chat.  I'll be sure to post soon about how it went and about the kids' reactions.

Our next unit covers the revolutions for independence in Central and South America in the early 1800s.  The beginning of the unit focuses on the system to racism and the intentional divisions that were created and perpetuated in Central and South American colonial socio-economic systems.

Casta system from Museo Nacional del Virreinato
A pyramid many history teachers use in an effort to simplify the system when teaching it.

After using a few revolutions as case studies (usually Haiti, Mexico, and Brazil) the students get the chance to analyze some of the compelling art that has been inspired by that tumultuous and sometimes bloody era.
The History of Mexico (a portion) by Diego Rivera 1931

Hidalgo and National Independence by Jose Clemente Orozco 1937-38
If you know of an expert, historian, or museum educator who could talk with my students about their research and experience I would be grateful.  I'm working hard to connect my students directly with the experts, and to cut out the middle man (me).