Thursday, April 29, 2010

Technology (revisited)

     In my last entry I was struggling with my lies and the students’ ability to fact check me online. Last time I decided I was going let my students use technology to fact check me. To give a quick summary, I formulated great lies in which my student debunked using Google in .15 seconds a million times over, leaving me in a position to rethink my approach. (Fast forward to the present) Over the last week and a half since my last entry I’ve been working on how to challenge this generation while they fact me online. I turned to a resource that has been reliable to me and most of you, I imagine, throughout our academic careers…BOOKS! Yes, the media responsible for replacing the scroll many years ago. I turned to some book resources and started to read more about the topics I would be teaching in the coming days and found a great deal of great information I had not known myself before taking this adventure. Whether or not it would hold up to Google and its amazing search capabilities, remained to be seen.

     My class is doing the Middle Ages and my challenge as a teacher was to find something not only relevant to the time period but it needed to be interesting. Monday, we started class by talking about the Power of the Monarch and traditions of Parliament in England. Now while doing me own research on Parliament I read an interesting story about a Parliamentary tradition in which members of Parliament turn and face walls during prayer, that is true I just had to add my twist. We first discussed Parliament and its similarities and differences between it and Congress. With Parliament fresh on their minds, it was time to set up the lie, so I stated, “Okay, story time”. When I announce “story time” the class will tend to lock on to what I tell them because they realize it isn’t in their textbook (or is it). I proceed with the story about traditions and practices in Parliament and the lie was now out to be scruntized. All the while the students are typing away on their laptops, anticipating a student finding my lie before I could start my next sentence I paused and asked any questions? Nothing! I proceed with the rest of the lesson and as the end of the period neared, students ask “Mr. H did you lie to us today?” to which I answered, “Yes!” From there the guessing started because they realized their homework list just got longer and this time it was graded. Stumped someone asked, “Did you lie to us about Parliament?”, to which I answered “Yes, good luck finding it!”

     The next day came and one of my students came up to me and said, “Mr H I couldn’t find your lie, I searched on line for 3 hours last night and I couldn’t find anything that didn’t check out.” (class is going to be interesting) My class came in 4th block and as expected no one was able to find the answer, anticipating this would be the case. We talked about Parliament traditions and I told them the lie at which point one student remarked, “I looked on line and couldn’t find anything about that on line.” To myself I thought, “Awesome!” I continued this practice the rest of the week and this week, in fact, I even started to record my discussions and post them on line so the students could hear what I said giving them a better chance in finding my lie…


Books are still king. The information about Parliament I found in my book (teachers edition) and it did appear online but wasn’t easy to find even for me. I saw this as the opportunity to tell my class that though the Internet is a good resource for quick information books are still the best resources they have for doing research. Internet should supplement not replace books as the major resource for research.

Next entry: Turning the tables

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