For this assignment, I looked at a blog that sparked the interest of the historian in me, History Tech. The blog is written by Glenn W., and primarily focuses on how teachers can use technology in their classrooms. As the blog’s author was a secondary social studies teacher, Glenn often posts about sites like Google Maps that offer innovative alternatives to teaching map reading and spacial skills. In addition to offering ideas on using technology in the classroom, Glenn also discusses ideas to improve general teaching skills, like posts about giving students teacher evaluation forms to complete as a way to help teachers reflect on how they can improve from their students’ perspectives.
The home page of the blog has selected posts scrolling along the top. “Most recent” posts are listed in the body of the blog with a teaser paragraphs and links to “read more.” Each post has an associated image, and that image appears with the title and date of the posting on the home page. Other pages on the blog include information on how to work with the author, a resources page, a page about a social studies site he built, and a page with podcasts. I found this layout easy to search and read.
Overall, I enjoyed this blog and will certainly read it again, as I would like to use some of his recommendations in my own future classroom. In fact, I have already made notes to utilize Google Earth, which I would like to use alongside paper maps to discuss changes in the application of technology that have occurred in just the last decade. Since I will be teaching elementary school, most of my students will have had these changes occur within their lifetime. I hope to have them compare the two formats as a way to begin building historical perspective and map skills. Additionally, though the blog might tend to focus on secondary social studies for application, many of the resources and posts transcend the subject and are about technology in education in general. In one post, for example, he discusses the usefulness of The Digital Public Library of America. In another, the usefulness of the Library of Congress blog.
Finally, I really enjoyed that Glenn does not simply advocate for using technology for the sake of using technology, and instead regularly discusses how technology, like all teaching practices, should aid learning. This is something we discussed in our first class, and it is something I agree is very important to maintain as a rule, as technology in the classroom becomes increasingly ubiquitous.
Image from: http://historytech.wordpress.com/.