Malia Warner has taught at Beverly Hills High School for 11 years, and is a member of the Los Angeles Teacher Leadership Team for Facing History and Ourselves. In 2015, she participated in our "powering up" project with her United States History class. She describes her experience.
As part of our "powering up" series, we wanted to share a collective inquiry into bringing a humanized approach to online engagement. Adopting technology isn't just about finding fun new tools, but how we create new models for interaction and how we use those tools for our larger goals. In Facing History's case, this means how we can use tech tools to create a more engaged, compassionate citizenry. It starts with how we engage with each other, face-to-face and online.
I always start my 7th grade Jewish History class by talking about identity. Students create identity charts, identify aspects of their identity which they consider “public” and aspects they consider “private” and then we move on to a discussion during which students explore deeper questions such as “What might be the benefits and drawbacks of having public and private selves?” and “How do the labels we give others affect how we see someone as part of an ‘us’ or part of a ‘them’?”
Google's now well-known policy of allowing its engineers to spend twenty percent of their time exploring something that interests them has the goal of boosting innovation, creativity, and productivity. This idea of a "Genius Hour" has taken off in other workplaces and even some schools where kids are given more flexible time for exploration.
After attending the CUE conference about technology and powerful learning, Mary Hendra, Associate Program Director for Facing History in Los Angeles and Organizational Innovation, was inspired by this idea and her passion to incorporate technology into classrooms.
As an educator, when you use video in the classroom are you asking your students to be passive or active?
I can certainly appreciate the leisurely watching of movies and television shows, even documentaries. But, as a teacher, when I chose to use valuable class time to watch something on video, I definitely wanted my students to be as engaged as possible! Here are some of my strategies.
Zaption has received accolades from SXSW (winning the LAUNCHedu competition), Fast Company (in their innovation issue), and educators far and wide. We've been happy to have an initial set of Facing History videos available as Zaption tours since their launch last August, and are now thrilled to share two more collections for educators.
The Holocaust and Human Behavior pulls together five films used by Facing History educators to explore the pressures on individual and group decision-making, the ways Nazism affected cultural and religious institutions, and the insight gained from the recently-opened Soviet archives. In this film from the Zaption tour set, Professor James Waller explores how ordinary individuals can become perpetrators in genocide.
As October is Connected Educator Month, we are pleased to announce our partnership with Educator Innovator! Educator Innovator, powered by the National Writing Project, provides an online "meet-up" for educators who are re-imagining learning. Educator Innovator is both a blog and a growing community of educators, partners and supporters. We know we're with the right partner, because in this month focused on "Connected Education," the theme chosen by Educator Innovator as its key focus is:
Student Agency, Student Voice, and the Maker Movement
"Powerful learning occurs when youth, driven by their own interests, are supported in being creators and not just consumers of knowledge." We agree. And, it makes me think of the story behind a young group of "makers" we worked with several years ago.
I love the project, too, but the story behind it is so special to me!
It is easy to think of "democracy" only in terms of the big things: a political system, all of our government officials, an enormous bureaucracy which often seems removed and slow-moving. But, it is also the small steps. Democracy is a reflection of the choices we each make daily about how we will interact with each other.
For years, Facing History teachers have used a reading which shows this - an essay originally written by Jesus Colon as he reflected on a small moment in his own life, when stereotypes and societal expectations played a large role in the choice he made about interacting with others. His reflection provides an opportunity for all of us to think about the small opportunities for interaction presented by living in a democracy.
We now have a high tech version of this lesson, thanks to a collaboration with Zaption.