Annenberg Newseum Summer Institute 2014 - Application Response



Since the time I graduated in 2006 from the education program at the University of Akron, much has changed in the educational landscape and our world.  Today’s world requires a skill-set that requires a proficiency in technological communications and what the application of the first amendment means in an online world.   For the first time, everyone can have a voice in the ultra-democratic world of the internet.  No longer does a publisher have to be sought out to send out the written word or each individual person contacted with great news on the phone.  Instead we live in a world that celebrates speed and efficiency that only systems like Facebook and Instagram can provide.  As a teacher I would like to be able to teach my students how to be an active and responsible participant in the booming field of social media and why I have chosen to apply to the 2014 Annenberg Newseum Summer Institute.   

The Annenberg Newseum Summer Institute represents a unique perspective that can help me become a better educator in different ways.  I have always been interested in technology and began my college education as a computer science major, but soon realized that I loved history and had a desire to teach.  So I left computers behind to become an educator, but the bug to work online and integrate computers into my teaching has never dissipated.  I have begun to dabble in using technology to learn when I can and have begun to use the SOLE style of learning, using a blog to post things for my students, and social media to connect with my students.  It seems that if I was to join the Annenberg Newseum Summer institute that I would be able to collaborate with other educators and professionals that share my passion.  It would be amazing to be a part of the larger online world of educational professional collaboration and could bring these ideas back to the classroom and my school to teach those in my building about these new techniques.  I would love to be the one that is the pioneer in my school and would bring new technologically based lessons with me to expand the use of these technologies in my school.

I have been using Civilization IV to teach social studies concepts, have created a blog for my students, a blog for my thought son education, a twitter account to connect with my students, an Instagram account to connect with my students in today’s modern world, and have used chatrooms for my students to share their knowledge with each other.  I am convinced that educators need to engage students not only in the classroom, but in the students’ space as well.  In the past adults were not able to engage the youth of America in their space, but now through social media we can send messages into their closed off world.  I use Instagram to send pictures of historical objects I see in everyday life to show students that history is everywhere and alive all around.  I have slowly been expanding my use of these tools and my students respect me for trying to reach them on their own level.  I also have the unique experience of working in a public charter school that was designed to use technology seven years ago and have worked in a public school for the last six years, which I could share with other participants.   The use of social media techniques I have been working on would benefit everyone who attends the conference that I come in contact with.  

My students have been receptive to my efforts to engage them in their corner of cyberspace and I would like this to continue.  I feel that the only way that I can continue to reach my students is to find out all available ways to reach them.  The times are truly exciting in terms of technology and the newness of what is available.  By attending the conference I believe that I will learn new ways to engage my students and help them be successful in the brave new world we have created in the 21st century.  I also am excited to see what else has been developed for common core that can help me better reach my students to prepare them for the next generation of tests.  A trip to the Newseum would also be an excellent experience and would love to talk with the staff at the Newseum more.  The museum is a great experience and would inspire my students to carve out a space for their own story in the use of our new media.  Overall, I would love to learn new ways to reach students and hopefully transfer the love of my subject to them as they become young adults.

 In my building most teachers are still using the 1.0 model of teaching and use of technology.  There are so many technologies that my students know how to use, but the teachers are afraid to touch or do not know exist.  I would like to change that and bring some of this technology back for our staff development.  I also think that the use of the primary sources that are available at Annenberg Learner would be of great benefit to my school, which has devoted using primary source activities two to three times a quarter.  I also think that I could bring back the issue of 21st century literacy, which includes being able to decipher, which is a good site to use on the internet to pulling information out of a video and being able to read a webpage effectively.  

It is my belief that this conference would be a great way to expand my own horizons and learn some new techniques.  When I saw about the conference I finally felt like I had found some likeminded people that could share the discoveries I have made.  I would like to learn from others who are doing the same thing and might be going in a different direction.  I always ask my students to work together and discuss their findings.  I wouldn’t want it any other way in my own learning and would love to contribute to the discourse on the use of technology in the classroom at the Annenberg Newseum Summer Institute 2014.       
                 

Hispanics in the Civil War

I recently posted two pages that discuss people of Spanish or Latin descent and the role they played in the Civil War.  We need to try to engage the Latino community and show that they played a role in our history as well.  I often have students ask me where their people are in the story.  I once has a student ask me, "Mr Schwarten, where are all the Latinos in US history?"  I knew there had to be some kind of narrative somewhere, but it was hard to find.  I suspect that over the next few years there will be even more information coming out as historians tackle this topic.  At least for this unit on the civil war I have some sort of an answer to that question.

Below are two links that at least start the conversation:

http://www.nps.gov/resources/story.htm?id=300
http://thehistorybox.com/ny_city/nycity_hispanics_civil_war_pt_I_article00432.htm

Teach Like Andrew Jackson

Lately, teaching has been real challenging with the end of the school year and the 8th graders struggling to stay focused.  While I was sitting here trying to get things accomplished I had a thought.  What if we all taught like Andrew Jackson lived his life?  I know that Andrew Jackson has his critics and his supporters and that most people either love or hate his guts, but there is one place that all historians agree.  Andrew Jackson had an indomitable will. 

What Andrew Jackson wanted he always got.  It didn’t matter if it was a duel, a show down with some bankers, or a game of chicken with congress.  Jackson always won.  He didn’t know how to lose.  Even bullets didn’t stop this guy from getting what he desired. 

What if we all taught like this?  The image of Andrew Jackson demanding satisfaction from a ten year old in a classroom is comical and kind of scary, but what if we were all indomitable?  You will learn this content.  You will become more creative because there is no other option.  Your grades will go up.  Yeah, you just threw a temper tantrum here, but I am still here.  I am still your teacher.  And, you WILL learn because it is my will.  The whining means nothing to me.  I know what you must learn and you WILL learn it.  Now get to work. 

I bet that people outside of the classroom would have a whole lot less to complain about and we would probably turn out tons of functional adults.  I don’t mean challenging students to crazy duels or losing the basic sense of human decency that allows teachers to connect with kids, but the kind of no frills attitude that makes people perform.  When you go back to school think to yourself:  What would Andrew Jackson Do?

The answer:  Lead to get what you want.  Student learning and understanding. 



Disclaimer:  Andrew Jackson did some reprehensible things and I am not excusing the bad things he did/treatment of other people.  Just that he knew how to lead and get results out of people.  Even if some people didn’t agree with what his results were.