The end of May marks the beginning of the Siege of Vicksburg, a campaign against the pivotal port city of Mississippi that would ultimately decide the fate of the war. The Library of Congress houses numerous documents pertinent to teaching the Civil War. Today, they highlight the Vicksburg Daily Citizen’s Final Edition. Printed on the back of wallpaper, the piece highlights the defiant and innovative spirit of Confederates. Vicksburg would fall on July 4, 1863 after the citizens of the town suffered wide spread starvation, disease, and regular shelling from the Union Army.
Coursehero has just published a great infographic that highlights some tips on how to effectively take notes in the digital age. Not taking is a key skill in educational environments that can take years to master. Be sure to visit their website and check out the comments for some other great suggestions!
I love to use polls and polling software in my classroom to ensure that my students are understanding the content and material. There are a number of free (or tiered price) services out there to use!
Poll Everywhere - Poll Everywhere is one fo my favorite tools. I’ve written a few posts on it in the past (Poll Everywhere – a Free Alternative to Polling Hardware). What I love about Poll Everywhere is its flexibility. Students can text in an answer, go to a dedicated website, tweet, etc. It doesn’t require a smart phone or expensive hardware. I’m also a big fan of its moderated back channeling ability (a paid feature). The basic features of Poll Everywhere are free, with tiered pricing for K-12 and Higher Education.
Socrative - Socrative is another excellent quizzing and polling program created specifically for an educational environment. Socrative allows you to engage your students with polls, quizzes, games, etc. They even have a repository of questions. Socrative relies on the use of its iOS or web based apps to use. It is wholly and entirely free!
Polldaddy - Primarily integrated into WordPress, PollDaddy has begun to expand into mobile and live polling response methods. When you get your results, you can embed them, email them, and create enhanced display options. Poll Daddy will also allow you to export in a variety of methods.
ClassPager - Allows you to create polls, exit tickets, and provide personalized feedback in your classroom using SMS messaging. It will even allow you to export data and information to parents! There are multiple pricing plans and options.
Do we need another blog about social studies? I mean, there's got to be hundreds, maybe thousands of blogs that talk about social studies. And almost all of them are very good.
I'm a little biased, of course. I like this one. It's been around since January 2008 and so I'm kind of invested. But I do think there is room for another social studies blog - the more conversations we have about what we do and how we do it the better.
Today marks the anniversary of the landmark case, Brown vs. Board of Education. On this day in 1954, the Supreme Court ruled that the segregation of races for education under the “separate but equal” clause was unconstitutional. The case would begin the unwinding of separate but equal institutions throughout the country (a process that would take decades). In honor of the 59th anniversary, here are a great list of resources for teaching this topic:
Library of Congress - The Library of Congress highlights Brown v. Board of Education along with a series of other landmark cases, arguments, studies, etc on the issue of Civil Rights in American history. You can explore the LOC online as well as in person.
Ourdocuments.org - Explore high resolution images of the Brown decision as well as other documents related to Civil Rights and the landmark Supreme Court decision.
Separate is Not Equal: Smithsonian Institution - the Smithsonian commemorates the landmark case with an in depth online exhibit that explore segregation in the United States.
National Archives - The National Archives hosts high resolution images of landmark papers, including the Supreme Court deciding and dissenting opinion on the Brown v. Board of Education case.
This post, written by Jen Carey, originally appeared on Edudemic.
Plagiarism, defined as the “wrongful appropriation” of another’s words or ideas, is a pervasive problem in schools. Many teachers and administrators believe that the internet has caused an explosion of academic dishonesty (a recent PEW survey of College Presidents would agree). While, most teachers and administrators are familiar with tools like turnitin that can catch plagiarism after the fact, there are some ways that educators can combat plagiarism before it starts!
In the new digital frontier, we need to hold digital literacy at the forefront when teaching students how to use and incorporate material into their work. Today’s students are used to rapid answers to questions via quick searches (again, verified by PEW in “How Teens Do Research”). While this is not necessarily bad, it does mean that as educators we need to change the way we approach research projects in the classroom so that we can teach students to not only do traditional research, but also to effectively use online media and content. By incorporating these strategies, we can start to combat plagiarism before it begins.
3 Strategies for Combating Plagiarism
1. Provide students with meaningful lessons and examples of “real world” plagiarism.
Students need to understand why proper citation and documentation is necessary not only in academic research but in “real life.” When you can show them examples from the real world, they understand this concept better as they make a personal connection to it. Here are some great modern, pop culture cases (there are many others) to help frame the discussion:
- Famed Black Eyed Peas frontman Wil.i.am was recently sued for plagiarism and copyright infringmenet on a single he released this spring.
- Dan Brown, author of the Da Vinci Code, was sued for stealing the ideas of another author in writing his popular book turned blockbuster film.
- Popular CNN correspondent Fareed Zakaria was was suspended from Time and CNN following plagiarism accusations.
Not only do these examples highlight plagiarism, but they also spark interesting conversations about why people want credit for their products and ideas.
2. Make Research Assignments about the process rather than the end product.
As teachers, when we assign a research project, we often focus on the end product: the research essay, presentation, etc. However, students (especially young students) do not automatically know how to conduct meaningful research. Our modern students are used to Googling answers. They have grown accustomed to information being readily available. However, as academics, we know that research isn’t a fast process. It’s slow and deliberate. As a teacher, I need to intentionally slow my students down during this exercise. I do this by breaking down a larger project into more manageable chunks and focusing on the process. Here are some techniques that have worked for me:
- Give students small practice assignments where they must read, summarize, and properly cite material.
- Show students what proper citation should look like. Many rely on resources like EasyBib or Bibme to build a bibliography but do not understand what exactly is going into the finished product. Demonstrate to them what should be included in a citation and why. In other words, remove the “but EasyBib said this was right” excuse.
- Provide students several examples or case studies of material that they must distinguish as: properly summarized and cited, improperly cited, plagiarized, etc. Allow them to identify and explain the problems.
- During the research process, have students keep a research journal of the work they complete. Ask them to record their sources and write down any thoughts or questions that they brought up.
- Assign steps throughout the process: a detailed outline, a series of quotations with citations, a bibliography, a summary of their argument, etc.
By focusing on the process and breaking it down into smaller chunks, students will learn to slow down and be more deliberate in research, developing key critical analysis skills.
3. Require that they use online content!
Instead of banning Wikipedia, blogs, or other online content, encourage or even require that students incorporate these materials into their work. For better or worse, students will use material that they find online. Once students gain the analytical skills to assess the credibility of online sources, there is a treasure trove of information to be incorporated. Embrace the potential to teach students how to harness the internet to conduct powerful research.
- Teach students to search effectively. In his piece “Why kids can’t search,” Clive Thompson recognized that while, “High School and College Students may be ‘digital natives,’… they’re wretched at searching.” Students need to be taught how to use search engines to find legitimate sources and information.
- Teach students to evaluate online content of all media types (written, encyclopedic, podcasts, video, etc). There are many tools out there for teaching critical analysis of online content, Cal State Chico’s CRAAP test and Turnitin.com’s SEER rubric are both great places to start. You can even use some popular internet hoaxes like the Pacific Northwest tree octopus (Google it and see what you find!!)
- Don’t shy away from Wikipedia as a source. The majority of high school and college age students will reference Wikipedia in a research project. Even in academia, the attitude towards Wikipedia is changing. Treat it the same way you would a standard Encyclopedia – it’s a good starting point, but not the end of research. EdTechTeacher has a great Webinar “Wikipedia: Bane or Blessing?” that can guide you here.
- Focus on transliteracy – how should a student evaluate a Wikipedia article vs. a blog vs. a tweet? Do not hold them to one type of source.
Teaching students to do real, meaningful research not only combats plagiarism, it also makes them better students and critical thinkers. These are the 21st century skills that will serve them throughout life. It will also help to limit those conversations we have all had with a child that turns in work that is not their own. By teaching students how to effectively navigate content of all types, we are promoting academic integrity as well as necessary, real world skills.
To learn more about teaching digital literacy, EdTechTeacher is hosting a series of Summer workshops many of which will specifically address online research and education.
Edudemic, one of my favorite resources for educational technology, has posted a series of guides to help teachers navigate 21st century learning. The Teacher’s Guide to Technology & Learning includes topics like:
The Teacher’s Guide to Twitter - a walkthrough of how to use twitter inside and out of the classroom.
The Teacher’s Guide to Flipped Classrooms - a curated guide to the ins and outs of the flipped classroom model.
The Teacher’s Guide to Copyright and Fair Use - I addressed this topic in a post, “Digital Literacy: Find Free and Legal Images to Use in your Classroom.”
as well many, many more (now and to be added in the future). This is a great, quick resource to get the basic concepts of new tools and concepts in your own classroom!
50% of teachers quit within the first five years. Why is that? What can we do to stop the high cost of teacher turnover? This great infographic by rossie online highlights the issue.