Teaching History: Successful and not so successful

history

History. (2013) [Image]. Retrieved from here

Student samples from lesson one:

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In my pre practical meeting experience with my mentor, I thought I may have had greater flexibility with planning the lessons, however student bookwork was to be part of their assessment so the history lessons had to follow a particular format and I changed stance from planning ICT rich experiences from the onset to trying to integrate ICT tools that could enhance learning of a pre existing format. As such, I was starting from the learning then integrating ICT around the content  to create quality-learning experiences as per the metaphorical Edu-Doggy.  These were my first lessons in the year six class, just as I was building rapport with the students and establishing behaviour management protocols. Backwards design by Wiggins and Mc Tighe (2003) was employed and the lessons started with the learning intention explicit as per the schools policy. Through out the professional experience, I embedded the use of my personal blog site for many of my teaching and learning experiences as I have a sense of ownership with my blog and it allows me access lesson plans in a variety of settings in the school, so long as there is internet access. I would display my lesson plan on the smart board and embed the texts that contained the inquiry questions and zoom in on areas that related to the learning at the time. My mentor applied this pedagogic strategy often and would have unit plans on the smart board to show students what learning they had covered and where their learning was headed.

Reflecting upon the history lessons, the success lies in the fact that there was a distinct effort to ensure that ICT was integrated as tool to enhance learning and not just as a substitute for traditional tools. In the first lesson, I used a voki to synthesise the learning intention, engage and motivate learners and connect with the students on a personal level through the content of early democracy in Athens. The second lesson included videos, images and quotes from the internet which allowed for ICT to enhance curricular goals and be used for affective means to keep learners motivated. By the third lesson, I had integrated ICT in almost every aspect of the lesson; using text from the Internet, My place videos from Scootle, images, photo of the Apology to the stolen generation from the front office and narrative videos from the stolen generation. For all three lessons there was a high level of essential content retention and ICT appeared to have enhanced the learning experience. As per the ICT general capability, ICT had been used to gather information (ACARA, 2013) and with regards to the CPF framework, ICT had been integrated as a learning tool for curricula and affective purposes.

 

The not so successful aspect of the history lessons revolved around the fact that the year six students still found history boring. Although they stayed focused and completed their work and displayed a high level of content retention, they continued to write the word ‘boring’ next to the history slot on the displayed timetable, every single day that history was placed on the timetable. The lack of meaning making was a need for this particular context which could have been innovatively solved through ICT, however the alignment of content and pedagogic knowledge to technological knowledge in this regard failed to fulfill this need. By employing dialectical thinking (Danielson, 1992), deliberate contemplation to understand the situation and generate solutions, led me to think that the lack of meaning making and consequential boredom experienced by the students could have been resolved had I approached the lessons from the perspective of school being a tool shop (Socol, 2013) where by the appropriate tool is picked for the task, for the moment and for the need. Though I aligned my TPACK to the content task, the moment and the mentors format of the lesson, I did not contemplate enough upon the students need to feel engaged in the content of the lessons and make meaning and feel connected. Had I involved some reflective input from the students after the first lesson, I would have had a better understanding of their needs and have looked for ICT tools that were more appropriate to their needs. By the last history lesson, I had started to embed narrative style tools, like the testimonies website to create a personal connection with the students, however, it may have been too little too late.

2 thoughts on “Teaching History: Successful and not so successful

  1. Geat Job embedding ICTs into your history learning experiences. I also taught a year 7 history unit on early human remains. Whilst we likened our learning to solving a murder investigation the students remained on task and engaged in the unit. The moment they were required to synthesise research and expert opinion they tended to shut down. My mentor said that the critical thinking part of learning was extremely difficult for them and they didn’t like to think and reason deeply. This was my let down….

    • Thanks for your comments. The content itself was new to me so I needed to make sure I had it down pat before I walked in. It was a great learning experience for me. I love the ideas you used to integrate ICT into history- well done.

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