The final rule from Lee Formwalt’s 2002 list titled “Seven Rules for Effective History Teaching or Bringing Life to the History Class.”
Rule Seven: Become more computer literate
The world is very different today than it was when I first starting teaching way back in 1987. And because the world is different, kids are different, parents are different, expectations are different, brain research is different – shouldn’t we be different?
A few suggestions of how we can be better teachers because we are more computer literate:
Start using RSS feeds
RSS is basically a system that allows you to arrange for web sites to automatically send you updated information. This could be news, blogs, primary sources, photos, just about anything. Seven Things You Should Know About RSS is a good place to start. I started using an RSS reader (the software that displays all of the automatically generated information is a reader) called My Yahoo in 1995 and have gotten very used to it. Update web browsers have built-in RSS readers and other software is out there now:
Read history and history related blogs
I hope that you continue reading History Tech but there are tons of other stuff out there that you should be reading and commenting on. Here’s a few of my favorites:
- The Henricus
- National History Educational Clearinghouse
- Finding Resources for History Teachers
- US History Teachers Blog
- World History Teachers Blog
- American Historical Association
- Google Maps Mania
- History is Elementary
- Speaking of History
- Library of Congress
- Free Technology for Teachers
Create, tag and share Delicious links
Use social media
The research seems pretty clear – when teachers talk with other teachers about professional issues, they become better teachers. One way to do that is by connecting with other social studies teachers through social media networks such as Plurk, Twitter and Classroom 2.0. These are wonderful places to ask questions, share expertise and exchange resources.
My hope for you? Pick at least one of these tools and become so comfortable with it that, by December, you recruit a fellow teacher to use it!
Quick recap of the Seven Rules:
- Rely less on textbooks
- Read well written secondary sources
- Look at things that matter today
- Use local history
- Take advantage of film and music
- Become more computer literate
What would you add?