Using Technology to Teach History

Using Technology to Teach History

This week, my Grade 6’s are learning about Migration and my Grade 7’s are learning about Ancient History.

Yup… two very different topics in the one class! It’s a challenge but Im becoming a better teacher because of it and my classes are learning from one another.

So…. Migration is the topic this term and this is the unit plan so far…

  1. Define migration and brainstorm what countries the students in my class come from
  2. Briefly touch on convicts coming to Australia
  3. Look at the Gold Rush and how that impacted upon Migration
  4. Compare our lives to those children living on the Gold Fields.
  5. Talk about modern day migration – reasons for migration, experiences, feelings and how people come to Australia.

This is where Selena Woodward from Teacher Technologies and Skype comes into it!! 🙂

I’ve known Selena for a few years through our work at Flinders University. She migrated to Australia a few years ago, so I organised a Skype session with her. Selena spoke with my students about her experiences, where she came from and what she misses about her homeland. The students were so engaged listening to a real life story. Not only did it meet our needs in terms of History but it also covered some geography too! Selena used Google Earth to show my class where she is (Adelaide), where we are (Whyalla) and how far away England is. It was an awesome lesson! Selena also explained to the class that migrating to Australia was a lengthy process involving a 24 hours plane ride and many months of planning and even the process of having her 2 cute cats in customs and quarantine for a few weeks to make sure they didn’t have any diseases! It was fascinating!!

Next we also Skyped my dad who was a migrant from England many decades ago! It was interesting comparing his experiences with Selena’s. My dad travelled on a boat for 6 whole weeks and it was scary for him as a young child!

Two different experiences of the same phenomenon. It was very educational. I would highly recommend using Skype to bring various experiences into your classroom.

The Grade 7’s in my class also had a wonderful lesson learning about BC, AD and how we learn from the Ancient Past. I feel very blessed to be working in this school (for many reasons…) but also because of the expertise the parents have! I have an archeologist in the school and he came with lots of artefacts, methods of dating things, how the layers of earth are developed and what that means for history …..  and lots of real life experiences of investigating our Ancient past, not only of many countries overseas but also the ancient past of our local area – Whyalla. The students were enthralled and…. now they all want to be archeologists when they finish school! hehe

To conclude our lesson, we jumped onto twitter to reflect on what what have learnt! Here is our class twitter account, check out our learning in real time! I LOVE how we can share our learning with other classes and educators all around the world!!

What a fun way to engage students in the learning process – by using Skype and by utilising experts within the school and local community!! Technology really can enhance learning, but make sure you are using it well… I personally use the TPACK model to plan my lessons with technology, check it out if you have time!

Here are some pics of our fun learning this week!

This is Selena! 🙂