23rd

Civil War Alternate Reality Game in May!

0

For teachers and students throughout the world: There will be an educational Civil War “alternate reality” game beginning May 15th, 2011, hosted by the National Civil War Museum in Harrisburg, PA.

The game, titled “The Jewel of the Valleys,” is being run in support of the fundraiser “In Their Footsteps: On the March in Pennsylvania,” which benefits the education department of the Museum. Jewel_of_the_Valleys copy

The game will run the length of the fundraiser, in which the brave museum curator, Brett Kelley, will again choose to live the life of a Civil War soldier for two weeks. Last year, Brett chose to live outdoors as a Union soldier (and it coincided with two of the nastiest northeastern blizzards) last February. This year, Brett will be traveling as a Confederate soldier by foot from Fredericksburg, VA to Harrisburg.

The game will kick off with a “QR code” and web address being sent to educators and students around the country. The website will detail a dark and mysterious puzzle to be solved through the use of Civil War era communication technologies and authentic Civil War documents in the Museum’s archives.

Students may work collaboratively are on their own to follow the mystery. TheIMG_0658 ultimate objective of the game is to solve the mystery of “The Jewel of the Valleys.” The winner(s) of the game will be announced as Brett reaches the end of his journey- the Civil War Museum in Harrisburg.

How can teachers get their students involved? Make contact by following the National Civil War Museum on Facebook or on Twitter (@NCWM), follow Brett Kelley on Twitter (@cwsoldier24_7), or subscribe to the student-created and run blog featuring news of Brett’s journey at On The March.

This blog will also hail the beginning of the game, and it has been rumored that the mysterious force behind the “Jewel of the Valleys” game may even have social media accounts for students to follow!

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print this article!
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Diigo
  • E-mail this story to a friend!
  • LinkedIn
  • RSS
  • StumbleUpon
  • TwitThis
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • FriendFeed

[Post to Twitter] 

Mar 23rd by admin Continue Reading
16th

Wolfram|Alpha and Naming Babies

0

My wife and I are patiently awaiting the birth of our daughter, which has been affecting my number of recent posts. It could happen now at any time.

Like all parents, we spent quite a bit of time (and argument) coming up with names for our children. Our two year old son was easy, he was named after my father-in-law, which happened to also be a name common in my Pennsylvania Dutch family- Jacob. No sweat. When we found out my wife was pregnant nine months ago, we went through the process again. We found out that the baby was a girl, and my side of the family had nothing. Nothing that a 21st century parent would consider, that is. So we went ethnic. My wife is Danish, and we picked an old Danish name- Maren.

A lot of parents don’t, and didn’t, do it this way as evident from a recent blog post by the Wolfram|Alpha team. It was an inspiring post for me, and led me to do a few historical experiments that might be useful in an American History classroom. The post pointed out one of Wolfram’s neat features, the ability to graph and get statistics for the frequency of given names since 1890 in the United States. Their example highlights the male given name “Roosevelt.” As you can imagine, the number of lucky young fellows granted the name spiked during and following the presidencies of Theodore and Franklin Roosevelt (I was surprised to see that the Teddy spike was almost twice the size as the FDR spike). The cousin’s first names also show positive correlations.

So, what other interesting things could students do with this? It would be great for introducing new units, by trying out a few given names for key unit figures. We’re of course restricted to the period 1890 to about 2008, and it should be noted that the “spikes” I referring to are often really a very small percentage of all given names chosen by parents.

I’ve noticed both positive and negative correlations. If you stick to 20th century presidents without common given names, Dwight and Lyndon show positive correlations. Eisenhower’s name has a World War II spike, followed by a spike during and after his presidency. Ike, however, did not seem to catch on. Johnson has a short spike correlating with his VP candidacy in 1960, which was  greatly overshadowed by a spike during his re-election campaign (and the Civil Rights Acts) but then drastically falling during the mire of Vietnam.

What about first ladies? Jacqueline Kennedy and Hillary Clinton clearly win, with only slight bumps for Mamie Eisenhower, Florence Harding, Grace Coolidge, Lou Hoover. Pat Nixon (her real name was Thelma) and Eleanor Roosevelt fare better. Wolfram|Alpha is understandably confused by Lady Bird (Claudia) Johnson and Rosalynn Carter (Eleanor). Edith Roosevelt seems to have a positive correlation. More importantly her middle name, Kermit, also the name of her son who inherited Teddy’s sense of adventure, has an impressive spike and possibly a negative correlation during the heyday of a certain green frog puppet.

How about a few international leaders? No surprise- negative correlation for Adolph. I was very surprised by the effect of Winston Churchill on American parents.

Martin Luther King, Jr. and Malcolm X show positive results, with Malcolm showing a spike (no pun intended) around the release of Malcolm X in theatres.

More interesting results: old celebrities Errol Flynn and Rudolph Valentino and newer celebrities Angelina Jolie and Britney Spears.

When I drift from my original educational purpose, it’s probably time to stop writing. Let me know any interesting historical finds on your end (I’ll update this post- especially if you tweet me some of your finds!)

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print this article!
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Diigo
  • E-mail this story to a friend!
  • LinkedIn
  • RSS
  • StumbleUpon
  • TwitThis
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • FriendFeed

[Post to Twitter] 

Jun 16th by admin Continue Reading
11th

18 Student Tweets About History Teachers

0

So, I’m thinking that at some point in the future, our Tweet data will be considered primary documents. What do the following say about history teachers in the (declining) Web 2.0 Era? How many of these were tweeted in class? For those of you new to Twitter, or perhaps completely unfamiliar with the tool, it’s actually quite easy to find these through Twitter’s search (I actually use TweetDeck). I thought I’d post some of these now, as the crop of “history teacher” tweets is dwindling due to summer break. Enjoy!

My history teacher seems to think that CAPS LOCK IS CRUISE CONTROL FOR COOL.

Well I just saw my U.S. History teacher outside joining the strike so I guess no 1st period?

history teacher told me to stop tweeting

My history teacher is speaking German! I am so scared!

AP US history teacher stopped in. Told me I am vastly overqualified to push credit cards.

My history teacher completely skipped over the bad parts of dubyas presidency! She made it seem as if he was this great man.

Just saw my history teacher randomly outside with her kid. Lol weird.

Playing volleyball with my class and history teacher. Yes, we’re seniors.

History teacher: “they jumped Uncle Sam and took his pants.”

My first period iss soo boringggg !!!! Wow my history teacher doesn’t stop talking … Summer please ?

My history teacher just told me that im an exceptional writer and very smart i just need to focus. Ha like thats going to happen.

Twittng while history teacher is yaping away

I hate my history teacher. We all did the reports and he said: “These reports are all copy&paste.” And I was awake til 4am to do copy&paste?

Best new Facebook friend ever: my high school history teacher. Jealousy, ensue.

Why do people laugh when I say I wanna be a English or History teacher when I grow up?

does my history teacher get all his notes from Wikipedia? i looked up the Twenties and allll the terms and concepts we use are in here.

Begin a history teacher is a “look”, brown sweaters, jeans and bitching about capitalism all day.

Why did I get stuck with such a bad history teacher?On a better note my birthday is in five days.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print this article!
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Diigo
  • E-mail this story to a friend!
  • LinkedIn
  • RSS
  • StumbleUpon
  • TwitThis
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • FriendFeed

[Post to Twitter] 

Jun 11th by admin Continue Reading
24th

Screencasts

0

I’ve spent a great deal of time in my career trying to explain to students and colleagues how exactly to use a specific computer application. I eventually bought a copy of Adobe’s Captivate, and it made it quite simple to create movies of my onscreen actions that could be opened and played by anyone with the Flash player.

I’ve even had students use Captivate to create movies that explained new education technologies to teachers.

Fortunately, in recent years free online services are taking over the “screencast” biz. Captivate is still a fantastic application, and is now perfectly suited for high class “e-Learning” by institutions and businesses.

However, the simplicity and price of online screencasting services are a winner for teachers. After trying quite a few, Screencast-O-Matic.com is my favorite. It is incredibly simple to operate, and the screencasts can be exported to flash, quicktime,  and windows media.

Just to offer a wide range of options for teachers, JingProject.com and Copernicus also look interesting for free screen capture.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print this article!
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Diigo
  • E-mail this story to a friend!
  • LinkedIn
  • RSS
  • StumbleUpon
  • TwitThis
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • FriendFeed

[Post to Twitter] 

Apr 24th by admin Continue Reading
03rd

CoverItLive

0

At present, I think that CoveritLive is my favorite Web 2.0 application. Through setting up a free “live blog” on the website, a teacher can run a live chat room, with complete control over what the students can see and do during the activity. A teacher can pose a question, decide which student answers to display, and even conduct live polls, show images, and videos. Once you set up a live blog, it must be embedded in a web page, or, as I most often use it, in Moodle.

Share and Enjoy:
  • Print this article!
  • Digg
  • del.icio.us
  • Google Bookmarks
  • Diigo
  • E-mail this story to a friend!
  • LinkedIn
  • RSS
  • StumbleUpon
  • TwitThis
  • Yahoo! Buzz
  • FriendFeed

[Post to Twitter] 

Mar 03rd by admin Continue Reading