Ed Tech Ideas

Tech Integration for Busy Teachers

Tag Archives: History

Create Stellar Timelines with MyHistro

-Guest post by Mauro Pasi

Technology is being used more and more in schools all over the globe and teachers have an ever-expanding array of tools to use both for the class room and homework assignments. One of the newest additions is MyHistro, a free website to create timelines. Histros Inc., the company behind MyHistro has a background in history visualization. Their first project was Histrodamus.ee, an award winning website where people could learn about the history of Estonia using an interactive geolocated timeline. As good and original as it was, the website still had some limitations. Web 2.0 is all about collaboration and content creation rather than content consumption. Think about the Wikipedia revolution. Encyclopedias have been curated by scholars for centuries and are a great source of precise and reliable knowledge, and so is Histrodamus.ee, with its team of editors. Yet Wikipedia is an incredible tool that we couldn’t live without anymore and its secret lies in the collaboration between regular users. This very same idea is what prompted MyHistro. Teachers have now access to same design and functionality that made Histrodamus great and can use free and easy to make timelines to teach students around the world. These timelines allow students to study history interactively and socially, making history learning more appealing to digital natives who are more used to Social Networks than they are to books. Being on the Web the content is accessible from anywhere, even from mobile devices, thanks to their iOS and Android apps. But where these timelines really shine is in their three-dimensionality. We are not talking about the latest blockbuster movie here, we are talking about being able to understand clearly the what, when and where of history. I remember being a student myself and having to memorize names and dates without actually being able to connect the dots. Thanks to myHistro now the dots are right in front of you. These timelines can be played like a slideshow or browsed through in no specific order by clicking each single events on the actual timeline or on the map. They are a great way of presenting the class with some visual aids and very good studying material to prepare for a test because they contain all the notes from the teacher. Some teachers have been using them as assignments too, to asses the understanding of the topics they taught in the class as well as the writing skills of their students. Timelines and events can be co-authored, making them extremely good for group assignments. Embedded here is an example of a timeline created by a student. Don’t you think that this student now has a clear understanding of the whole picture, having had to pin point every single battle in time as well as in space?  


Children of World War 2

From the BBC, Children of World War 2 is a great resource for kids who want to get a better understanding of what life was like for children during World War 2.  History lessons will usually focus on the major events of the war: The Nazis invade Poland, the German Blitz, the bombing of Pearl Harbor, D-Day, Auschwitz, etc. The human side of the story is often missed and that’s where Children of World War 2 comes in.

The well-presented, easy to explore site has 10 sections to delve into that inform kids about the war and what it was all about. From evacuations, to what homes were like,  food and shopping, daily life, and other interesting areas. Each section comes with some amazing photos with captions, some sections have writings (actual letters and speeches written by the various leaders), and also videos, and audio recordings of war-time events (Note: the audio and videos are not available in all countries).

Also, within each section, there are activities, challenges, and quizzes that add a bit of fun to an often sad topic.

Visit the teacher section for lesson plans, worksheets, a collection of all the media associated with the site, as well as links to other websites to further explore the topic.

The Children of World War 2 is a great resource for any unit of historical study of World War 2. It truly gives students a new, eye-opening perspective about some of the atrocities, and some of the simplicities that took place during this time in history.

5th Graders Interview History Experts Via Skype

This past Wednesday one of my 5th grade classes took part in a fantastic learning experience. Two history experts who work at the Singapore Ministry of Education were kind enough to Skype in and answer a series of 12 questions that the students came up with.  Here’s a video of what took place:

Nuclear Detonation Timeline 1945-1998

Here’s an eye-opening video created by Isao Hashimoto which shows all of the 2,053 nuclear tests and explosions that took place between 1945-1998.

EdTechIdeas: This would be an interesting video to show as a discussion starter for middle and high school students studying World War II, human rights, the arms race, and nuclear proliferation. Students could use the information from the video to pinpoint and identify specific explosions and align each with historical facts about what was going on during that time.

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