Wednesday, October 3, 2012

Technology In Secondary History

Technology is probably one of the last things that come to mind when people think about history or social science. This field of study has been sort of traditional in the sense that teachers give the notes, students take the notes, and then they are tested on it. Sounnds kind of repetitive? Boring even? That's because it is. History is in dire need of innovative teachnologies to bring a sense of excitement to each lecture. Technology is out there, but I do not feel as though history teachers at all leavels use it enough. The only technology I have seen in the field is a powerpoint lecture. Is that really the extent of technology in the field? I hope not, and I say that now as a student who continues to seek knowledge in the field but I also say this as a future educator. I love history, and I have done well with the somewhat "old school" way of learning the material, but that is perhaps due to my visual learning tendencies. Today however, we live in a society that is so strongly driven by teachnology that if we do not find new, creative ways to incorporate it into our material we risk losing our stduents interest. One staple of the field has ben research, and subsequent research projects or papers, and that is yet another use of technology. This may not be the best thing to do in terms of keeping the students excited though. I know from personal experience thus far in my adademic career I strongly dislike research papers. I cannot deny that they force you to learn quite a bit about whatever your topic is, but I think the length of the papers along with the citation process scares students today. If my field contihnues to be technologically limited to a powerpoint and research for a paper, then it will continue to be looked down upon by the students we teach. However, the internet is a wonderful tool for finding things that will help bring the normal every day lecture to life. Things like virtual tours of places teachers mention will help supplement the lecture material by putting an image to the text. Using something like this will also aid us teachers as we strive for differentiation of instruction. Another possibility that I thought about irocically enough due to this project is a blog! If I were to give my students a historical scenario or figure and tell them to give me their thoughts it could be effective in a few different ways. It will obviously incorporate thechnology, but it will also give my students the freedom to think critically about about a situation from different points of view. I could then follow up that class blog by splitting them up into groups for a debate based on thier responses. Technology can increase my students' excitement, and then also help me build from there to do another activity with them. History is a subject and field in which you have to respect the past, but that does not mean we have to keep technology in the past along with the material we teach. Technology can serve as a breath of fresh air to a subject that is so focused on where we were. It could not hurt the subject or its teachers to introduce them to where we've come at least from a learning standpoint. There have been innovative people and technologies throughout history that have changed its landscape forever. Something like Johann Gutenberg's printing press gave people access to bibles and religious doctrine, and it was given to them in their native language. Today our increases in technology are obviously different and much more advanced but the idea is the same. The technology is there to truly make history a special subject to learn, but it is our responsibility to do some research, find it, and then of course implement it. History is in need of change for the better, and hopefully technological advances along with the insertion of young teachers who have also grown up in this tech crazy world will help bring it to the surface. I love the subject I am about to teach, and I would love to see some of my students share that love if they learn using thechnology. It may make a teacher's job more difficult at times but in order to be great, even in education you have to take risks; you have to go outside your comfort zone to bring material to life for your students.

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