Wednesday, June 5, 2013

Making connections with local history

Instructor Todd Kopecky is passionate about Iowa history and this last quarter, he had three sections of "Revisit Iowa" to share that interest with high school students. For the last several years, Todd has incorporated an investigation of Solon history into the curriculum, but this year the study took on new dimensions.

The seed was planted last year when local history expert, Sandy Hanson spent time with researchers identifying local landmarks and commenting on the contents of the Solon Historical Society's publication, "Solon Snapshots".

Class members gathered facts from the historical collection at the Solon Public Library and from local residents and paired that research up with images of city landmarks. They then added those two elements to a Google Map. I facilitated Sandy's visit and instructed students on how to collaborate on the map.

This year, over 70 students participated in an enhanced project which included primary source research at the public library, interviews with residents, video, still images and audio elements. For each class, the final product was a Google Map with individual sites loaded with at least one still image, text and either a podcast or video. 

I created a "container" using Google Sites that held general instructions, tutorials, an image gallery and an embedded map for each section of "Revisit Iowa". I also created and shared the maps with the students so that they could upload content themselves. The result is a dynamic history project that can be shared with the community to generate new facts and research options for future "Revisit Iowa" enrollees.

For the Google Earth experience, download the KML file and open it in Google Earth.

I'm looking forward to working with next school year's "Revisit Iowa" students and their enthusiastic instructor.

Sunday, June 2, 2013

Take another look around you: learning to learn in a new world

As we enter our summer vacation time, how are you feeling about your own learning? Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano will make you think.