Using Technology in the History Classroom

Using Technology in the History Classroom
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  • 0:04 History Is More Than Textbooks
  • 0:30 Technology With the…
  • 1:57 Homogeneous &…
  • 3:05 Technology With Small Groups
  • 4:52 Lesson Summary
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Lesson Transcript
Instructor: Shannon Orr
This lesson discusses why the use of technology in history classrooms is important. It also discusses how teachers can use technology while teaching the class as a whole and how they can incorporate technology when students are in small groups.

History Is More Than Textbooks

Everyone has either experienced or seen a television show or movie that shows students sitting in a classroom about to fall on their face because they are so bored. The content is uninteresting, the teacher's voice is monotone, and nothing is exciting about the lesson. No teacher wants to be labeled as a boring teacher, but how can you make history exciting? You can make history exciting by incorporating technology into the lesson!

Technology With the Whole Class

Technology can help make history class interesting and engaging. For our purposes, technology is the use of computers and software in the classroom.

One way teachers can incorporate technology into their lesson is through the use of slideshows. As teachers discusses events and individuals, they can use a slideshow presentation to show pictures, maps, and even timelines so that students can make the connection between what is being said and what is being seen. Teachers should highlight key points from the lesson in the presentation and encourage students to take notes on these points instead of writing down everything that is said during the lesson. Teachers can also add effects, such as music, flashing lights, and highlighted words, to draw students into the lesson.

Teachers can also incorporate clips of videos during the lesson to show reenactments of historical events. The videos can be paused periodically to allow teachers the opportunity to discuss what is happening in the video as well as give students the opportunities to ask questions or make comments about what they've seen. After the video or slideshow is complete, teachers can provide a mini assessment using a classroom response system. A classroom response system is a type of technology teachers can use to ask students questions and allow them to respond individually in real time using clickers. Teachers can incorporate the use of clickers into the lesson so that students feel as though they are part of the discussion. Teachers can then collect the data provided to assess students' understanding.

Homogeneous & Heterogeneous Groups

After the teacher has completed introducing a lesson or when the teacher determines that students are ready to gain a deeper understanding of what has been taught, he or she can break the students up into small groups. The teacher may decide to group students using homogeneous or heterogeneous grouping. Homogeneous grouping is when the teacher places students of the same or similar learning levels in a group. Heterogeneous grouping is when the teacher places students of various learning levels in a group.

If the teacher determines through an assessment that some students aren't grasping the concept, he or she may decide to group students into three groups:

  1. Those who understand but need more practice
  2. Those who understand and are ready for an extension activity
  3. Those who need to have the lesson re-taught in a group

This would be an example of homogeneous grouping. However, if the teacher decided to place a gifted student and an inclusion student with both students who may understand and those who do not into one group, this would be an example of heterogeneous grouping. Determining to use homogeneous or heterogeneous grouping is completely up to the teacher based on what he or she feels would benefit the students most.

Technology With Small Groups

Once the teacher determines how he or she will group students, the types of technology to be used by each group can be determined.

Teachers may choose to have one group watch a video based on the lesson that was taught and complete a quiz at the end of the video. Students would be able to receive extra instruction on a subject and show how well they understand the material. Teachers could also allow students to fill out interactive maps on the computer depending on the context of the lesson. For example, if students are learning about the different lands Alexander the Great conquered, they may use an interactive map to identify each area and type onto the map one to two sentences about the conquest. These maps could be saved or printed and submitted for a grade.

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