As the end of the calendar year quickly creeps up on us, the Facing History blogging team decided to discuss the future and, while talking about the future, we reminisced about the past. We thought about what a great year of sharing and learning it has been. We decided that to celebrate this year of blogging we wanted to share with our readers the posts, voices, and teaching ideas that made us pause, think, and reflect – on history and on ourselves. Over the next few days we will be sharing our favorite posts and undiscovered gems from our LANetwork Blog out of Los Angeles, our OnNetwork Blog here in Toronto, and our InterFacing Blog, which focuses on the intersection of technology and education. Thank you for joining us on the blogs over the last 12 months. We hope these gems of wisdom and practice from the past help you reflect on your own year that was, and be sure to subscribe to this blog to make sure you see the Best of 2013, meet the new bloggers, and read exciting new posts in 2014! Happy New Year from all of us here in the Toronto Office of Facing History and Ourselves.
The Facing History resource “Pigeon” demonstrates the impact a short film can have. Set amid the tension of occupied Europe during World War II, it is an example of the power an individual has to make a difference, if they choose to do so. A viral video is a video that results from online distribution and sharing, an excellent route to engaging our students. Finding short videos online is, therefore, a powerful teaching strategy.
Video clips are accessible to many learning styles, and of particular value when teaching the applied and essential level student. As ‘clips’, they are brief, thus benefiting shorter attention spans and working well in the structure of the 3-part lesson for the 75 minute classroom. They are easily shared if a student is absent (unlike a film) and easily re-watched (either individually or collectively) without generating a great burden on classroom time, which is so precious. And they play to the sensibilities of the digital generation (which in turn allows us as teachers to create the pretense to a shared sense thereof).
I’m not sure if it’s fate, or the fact that I’m a news junkie, but it seems as though I can always find a connection between what I’m studying in my classes and the news. This past term was no different.