Back in November, Rob and I started the Schoolhouse Lab Podcast as a outlet for social studies-based discussion about current events. Our goal was to take the opportunity to have long-form discussions about what's going on in the world, and hopefully get our students listening and thinking about those issues. While we've only produced four episodes, and don't have any data about how many of our students (or others) actually listen, we are really excited about where the project is headed in the future. We figure that, regardless of how many listeners we have, we take the opportunity with every episode to get better at the art of teaching through conversation in the podcast medium.
Which brings us to yet another purpose of the project - producing content we can actually assign students to listen to as a part of classroom instruction. Just as teachers produce YouTube videos to supplement instruction, podcast discussions can also be used in a flipped classroom model. So this week we will record the first in our instructional series about the Cold War.
Why the Cold War? Why not? No other event has a more lasting effect on our world today than the prolonged conflict between the United States and the Soviet Union from roughly 1945-1991, the echoes of which are still seen today. Whether it's the icy relationship between President Obama and Russian President Vladimir Putin, or the unfolding political crisis in the Ukraine, the Cold War still sends aftershocks around the globe.
Here are some objectives for the series:
1. Break up a historical event, which is massive in scope, into understandable themes.
2. Establish a chain of causation for events from 1947-1991 and the post-Cold War era.
3. Create a framework for understanding how the modern era is fundamentally shaped by the Cold War.
Sunday, February 23, 2014
Saturday, February 1, 2014
We're back after a long holiday break! Here in Episode #4 of the Schoolhouse Lab Podcast we take a look at President Obama's 5th State of the Union Speech, and discuss the cultural importance of the Super Bowl as a quasi holiday in American society. Thanks for listening!
Play:SHL Podcast Ep.4
Play:SHL Podcast Ep.4
Saturday, January 25, 2014
Tuesday, December 17, 2013
Play:SHL Podcast Ep.3
Saturday, November 23, 2013
-HealthCare.gov & President Obama's 2nd Term
-A History of US & Iran Relations
-Remembering President Kennedy - 50 Years Later
Play:SHL Podcast Episode 2
Sunday, November 17, 2013
by Jerred Erickson
So my colleague Rob Smith and I asked ourselves, "why not teachers?" And with that mindset, we boldly recorded the first episode in what we hope is a long-running series of discussions about current events, politics, and social studies content in general. Rob and I often discuss these issues with our classes and with each other. We saw this as an opportunity to "team-teach" current events, history, and politics in an on-demand medium to whomever is interested.
The Schoolhouse Lab podcast is for everyone - students, teachers, lifelong learners...anyone who is interested in a background, social studies-based discussion of important issues in our world today. We hope you enjoy it and check back regularly for new episodes.
Play: SHL Podcast Episode #1
Monday, November 4, 2013
by Jerred Erickson
In this venture, one resource that's helped more than any other is Twitter. The amount of information for teachers on this platform is staggering. Spend enough time and look in the right places and you will meet the most amazing teachers from around the globe, learn new and innovative strategies for all content areas, and keep your practice fresh and challenging. Twitter is much maligned by those who don't understand it and others who think it's only a vehicle for celebrity gossip. I've found teachers who don't use Twitter fall into two categories: 1. "There's nothing I can use on there." 2. "I always mean to use it, but never have the time." Make time! You will find an amazing network of your colleagues from whom you can steal ideas, collaborate, and improve what we do.
By far the biggest challenge I've faced in this pilot is one that I did not see coming. I worried the technology wouldn't work - it did, almost flawlessly. I didn't know if kids would buy in - they did. So the real challenge blindsided me:
Students are hopelessly terrible at adapting to the needs of tech-based learning.
I have never done so much hand-holding in my life with an age group that I assumed would know this stuff implicitly. The second their computer gets kicked off the wireless network, they freak out. I ask them to "share a GoogleDoc," they look at me like I'm from outer space.
This is the biggest warning I would broadcast to teachers thinking about adopting a blended/flipped learning model in their classroom - kids are not as tech-savvy as you think they are. They're very good at the recreational activities they use technology for - social media, videos, music, etc. But they are a disaster when it comes to producing academic content. Plan on teaching the following skills to your students:
1. Patience - they have zero tolerance for equipment malfunction (especially when their neighbor's computer works just fine).
2. Problem-Solving - when something doesn't work, what are the first 3-4 steps they should take to solve it themselves? You're a teacher, not their personal IT technician; teach them to troubleshoot on their own and 90% of the freak-outs will solve themselves.
3. Adaptation to new pathways of learning - model for kids how you will be using multiple pathways to reach your learning goals, and they need to adapt to each of those challenges, instead of throwing their hands up in frustration. Learning this skill is more valuable than any content you will teach them, as the jobs of tomorrow will demand their flexibility in collaboration and production.