We had some geography units for our students based around how areas have changed over time. Many of our students enjoyed comparing historical photos I found for the local areas they knew and current photos that I took of the same places.
There are a few opportunities to make this a real life project and add to a global history project.
The tools below could be useful for either history of geography if they were focusing on local studies. I also see potential for the information to be used in our language classes where they also look into the culture of the country.
1. History Pin
Back in 2010 I wrote about a tool called History Pin. It was created by “We Are What We Do”, a social action movement based in the UK (London) which is now known as Shift. History Pin was created in partnership with Google and is a tool looking at history with a timeline of photographs.
Still supported, it allows users to upload photographs, date them and then slide the timeline through history to see the changes over time. Whether you are interested in buildings, transport or “life” from a particular time, History Pin offers you a glimpse into the past.
It offered our students a great opportunity to do their own research and spend time with older members of their family, talking about the old photos in their family and making sure the stories they hear are kept for posterity. Some used it as a basis for family histories as they did the technical work and the older generations telling their stories/history.
To begin you will need to:
- collect your own photos and it is recommended that they be outdoor shots.
- know the location for each photo (the street rather than town or suburb)
- scan your photos onto a computer
You can register by going to the homepage and clicking on the join button. You will need a Gmail address (you can get one from here) and once you have joined you use will use Google’s Picassa site for sharing photos.
What Was There is a free online tool that makes use of Google Maps and the ability for people to upload old pictures of any location, add the date, and then pinpoint the location on a map and match it to the same view today. It provides a brief history of buildings that have long gone or still exist today. You can even look at a building or street via ‘street view’ and then it will overlay the old photograph on top, allowing you to fade the photo to reveal what it looks like today.
It is simple to adjust the view to match the view in the old photograph as it uses eye-level street view tools. When uploaded you can fade from one view to another so you can see the changes appear before your eyes.
This would be useful for pupils to see how streets around their home or school may have changed over time. They could contribute photographs or link from those elsewhere. It is being updated constantly with new photos. There is also an iPhone app available as well.
Our Minister for Education has been praising the review of the “National Curriculum” This report has caused quite a lot of angst across the board but technology in particular may well be phased back, especially before year 9. Whilst most agree that there is a crowded curriculum many do not believe that studying ICT contributes to a this unnecessarily. Many will argue that ICT skills are fundamental and it is critical that they should form part of the core curriculum, along with numeracy and literacy, in this increasingly digitized world.
Today I came across this well designed together infographic that explains how teaching coding to students, even young students, has several benefits and why teachers must teach coding to their students. It is offers a very good argument for teaching the skills.
It was created by Kodable and is an iOS app that teaches children various coding and programming concepts through a variety of maze activities.The free version allows users to play the first 30 levels (Smeeborg World) for free. The Pro version (has a small fee) offers full access, giving you a total of 4 Worlds. I have only seen the work of others as I use microsoft and android options.
Please include attribution to Kodable with this graphic.
A few links to other posts/tools that might be useful:
7 Apps for Teaching Children Coding Skills Digital learning specialist Anna Adam provides a quick overview of seven apps that are appropriate for teaching younger children one of the most critical 21st century skills: coding.
Ten Resources for Helping Students Learn to Code and Program by Richard Byrne on his blog Free technology for teachers. Very well explained uses for 10 tools.
Scratch Tutorials provides guidance on getting starting with Scratch with kids. Scratch is a website from MIT specifically for kids. Kids can program stories, games, and animation. It’s so empowering for kids to be able to learn how to build their own programs.
A useful pinterest board is Coding or Programming for students that collects all sorts of resources.
I have tried a new tool this week. It is called Jigidi and it creates free online jigsaw puzzles.
It is simple to use. You can go to the site to access the expanding library of jigsaw puzzles created by others. You can search for puzzles based on a theme, by puzzle difficulty (easy is 60 pieces or less and challenging puzzles have 240 plus pieces).
In the puzzle work space, you can zoom in or out to give yourself more room to work. The ‘full screen’ mode removes other distractions and helps to focus on the challenge at hand. The site requires the Flash plug-in to make the puzzles interactive.
If you create an account (it’s free) you can upload your own images to make your own jigsaw puzzles to share. This will also remove ads from the puzzle pages. The tool does not require an email address to register.
Once created you can add extra data such as title, description, attribution and if you are happy to make it public, category and copyright details.
Click on Solve and the puzzle comes up. You can have a timer added if you want and can enlarge to fit the whole screen.
It is fun to see how many solves you get. my Radcliffe Camera puzzle had 74 in just over an hour and the Ford Anglia from the Harry Potter films had an interesting comment about the car.
You could use it with classes as a way of introducing a topic via images or as a review activity at the end.
You could have mystery images of places and see how quickly students realise where they are eg. geography or language studies. The timer could be used to see how fast someone can finish the puzzle.
Students could take some relevant (topic) photos, upload their images and shared the puzzles with their classmates or even parents.
I work in a boy’s school so educating boys is something I have been passionate about for many years. Many of those in education are concerned about the lack of engagement that boys have in their education.
When I first started teaching I worked in a girl’s school and followed up with a co-educational school in the country. Here we had concerns about girl’s education. Many girls left school without finishing year 12 and less went into further education. We were especially concerned with the way girls dropped out of maths and science in years 9-10. We had several programs running to try to change some of these trends. Boys did better in education until the 1980’s when thing began to change and the statistical data showed the turn around. Since the end of the 1980’s boys have been out-performed in the K-12 classroom by girls. The data shows that boys still score a little higher in science and maths, whilst girls do better in language and humanities areas but overall boys are being outstripped by girls.
This is the case in Australia and the following infographic about educating boys (based on US data) was interesting in that there were some marked similarities.
The infographic started out with population data – visual representations of birth rates and kindergarten enrollment. The first interesting thing was that data showed that almost twice as many male students as female students repeat kindergarten, and approaching triple the number of male students diagnosed with a learning disability compared to female students.
The number of girls graduating from secondary school seems to correlate with Australian statistics.
The proportion of male and female students remained fairly constant throughout primary and in the initial years of secondary schooling, with the number of male students exceeding female students by about two percentage points, up until Year 11. In Year 11 there were slightly more females than males, and in Year 12 females exceeded males by 3.2 percentage points. (Australian Bureau of Statistics 2012)
More women than men also participate in higher education in the US which is also the case in Australia.
The other part of the infographic I particularly liked was at the end, with the advice about what schools can do to educate boys.
The 6 strategies for engaging boys in the classroom that are recommended are not ground-breaking and I have certainly seen them used in school. The library staff have also worked with teachers in the classroom to use the strategies. No doubt many could add to the strategies with example of their own but they are worth reiterating:
- Design lessons that end in the creation of a product. I would add make it authentic and shared with more than the student and the teacher. One simple example: In the library we love to run the book trailers that our students create for their English teachers about the books they have been reading. It works to publicize the books in the library and the boys like seeing their work on our big screen.
- Structure lessons as competitive games.
- Require motor activity. (We have all seen the research that talks about the physicality of boys so we need to find ways to harness this and use it in learning situations. It does not have to be a major exertion but just some movement.) One example I have been impressed with at our school: One of the maths teachers regularly starts her year 7 lessons with a small foam ball that the boys throw to each other. As the boy catches the ball she asks a question that he has to answer. She uses it as a way to revise work from the previous lesson as well as reinforce some of the maths rules. They have a chance to answer a question as it goes around the classroom for 10 minutes.
- Allow boys to address unsolved problems and use opened questions. especially problems that have a real-life application or that they have some affinity with.
- Combine team work and competition. Some simple examples: The literature circles in year 7 have given us some opportunity to try this out. This year we offered a pizza lunch for the class that read the the most books in the Premiers’ Reading Challenge. The boys encouraged the less-able readers and congratulated them as they finished a book. They also offered suggestions about what others might like to read. The Book Spine Poetry competition in book week also worked as groups of year 7’s combined to create poems.
- Focus on self-direction and independent discovery. Assist boys to become more self-reliant and questioning. We have a year 8 science project (WASP) that most of the boys love. The library staff get involved in the research component at the beginning of the project.
This program was designed to allow the student the freedom to investigate a scientific topic of their choice. Students had the option of conducting a scientific investigation on a topic of their own choosing or build a working model of an invention. The aim of WASP is to stimulate ongoing interest and participation in science. The program encourages independent enquiry-based project work as well as giving students the opportunity to present their achieve-ments to a panel of judges from the Science faculty.