Wednesday, April 8, 2015
Saturday, August 23, 2014
Issues such as gerrymandering, corrupt election finance, and growing partisanship only inflicts more sickness on a frail U.S. democracy. Our nation and the State of Ohio are at a tipping point. A decision must be made, “Will we work to advance a citizenry willing and ready to strengthen and sustain the health of our democracy? Or, will we continue to the trend of disinvesting in citizenship education and in the curriculum most predicated on fostering informed democratic citizens- the social studies?”
- English I and II
- Algebra I
- Integrated math I and II
- Physical science
- American history
- American government
5 – Advanced
4 – Accelerated
3 – Proficient
2 – Basic
1 – Limited
The issue comes in that while all students are required to earn 18 quality points, students can easily earn this minimum score by FAILING the American History and American Government exams. The State Board of Education does note that students must earn a minimum of:
- four total points across the English end-of-course exams,
- four total points across the math exams,
- and, six total points across the science and social studies exams.
Sunday, January 26, 2014
Wednesday, January 15, 2014
A special thank you for your support as we fought to ensure all of Ohio's students learn about the world, its people, and issues. Because of your efforts and tireless pursuit to ensure we build a truly world class educations system for Ohio's students, Governor Kasich just signed into law a provision that requires students complete 1/2 unit of instruction in world history before graduating high school. Again, our campaign to Save World History in Ohio's Schools could not have been successful without your support!
For more information on this legislative victory, see http://www.lsc.state.oh.us/synopsis130/h0367-130.pdf
As we continue to rally for Senate Bill 96 to come to the floor of the Ohio Senate for an up or down vote, there are still a few Senators expressing concerns about all of Ohio’s high school students being required to complete a unit of World History for their graduation. With recent changes in graduation requirements, World History has been downgraded to an elective course. There have even been published accounts of school districts already making the decision to downgrade world history to elective status. For more information on this issue, click here.
Tuesday, September 3, 2013
I was a naive freshman experiencing the first week of classes at a brand new high school. In many regards, I was not an ideal student. As I entered high school, I was one of those middle school students that just managed to get by in my classes. I learned quickly in the first week of class how important it was to make friends and “fit-in”- after all, high school is one big popularity contest. After my second period class, a few students I went to middle school with came over and asked if I wanted to skip school with them. Not having too many friends and knowing how important it was to fit-in, I agreed. We plotted our escape past the school’s security guards, and low and behold the next thing I knew I’m running out of the school’s backdoor and towards the parking lot. Once outside of the school, we agreed to walk one street over to go hide behind a small convenient store. Ironically enough, once we got back there, and all breathed a sigh of relief, a gang of teens immediately walked over and pulled a knife on us, demanding we hand over our wallets. Fight or flight kicked-in and I immediately dashed away from the thugs and back towards my high school.
I remember I ran to the back entrance of the school that we initially dashed out of in hopes that I could sneak back-in during the shuffle between class periods. However, this wasn't possible, as a school security officer was standing right in the door way! I was done for and started to think of other places I could go (i.e. the park, hide in the basement, hang out by the football field, etc.). I wish I had never agreed to skip class, and I truly wanted to go back inside of school, but I didn't want to get caught by the school’s security guard- which would have certainly led to a suspension and getting yelled at by my parents. Knowing that I couldn't get back into the school, I walked a few inches away from the school’s backdoor, and then it happened.
|Actual Backdoor of My Old High School|
In the end, all of these inches add-up to yards, miles, diplomas, Phds, books, and blogs. For all those teachers and student teachers fighting to give our youth those extra-inches and opportunities, Thank You.
Thursday, June 20, 2013
The bill now moves to the floor of the entire Ohio Senate for deliberation and a vote. Having the whole weight of the Senate Education Standing Committee gives us great hopes in advancing this bill out of the Senate before their recess.
The Campaign needs your help now more than ever! Please, continue to contact your elected House of Representative Members- especially, those in the House Education StandingCommittee. Feel free to use the letter template provided by the Ohio Council for the Social Studies. Also, be sure to sign and share our petition (on Facebook and Twitter, and over discussions) with friends, family, and vested groups and networks.
Wednesday, June 5, 2013
- Your elected Ohio State Board of Education Member: http://education.ohio.gov/State-Board/State-Board-Members
- Your assigned Ohio House of Representative Member: http://www.ohiohouse.gov/index
Saturday, August 25, 2012
Monday, December 5, 2011
The names of supporters will be sent to the Ohio General Assembly to document our shared support of ensuring all students are prepared to understand the world and its people. It just takes a second to complete!
Tuesday, October 25, 2011
Friday, April 22, 2011
While there are still significant numbers of citizens without access to computers or the Internet, new statistics have emerged that teens in low-income households are more likely to access the Internet on their cell phones than on household computers (Pew Internet, 2009). Rates of cell phone adoption drastically outnumber the pace of low-income families adopting household computers (Pew Internet, 2009). In the United States, a disproportionate number of low-income African American and Latino households often struggle to have stable and meaningful access to computers and the Internet (U.S. Dept. of Commerce, 2010). Mobile technology access and use could hold the potential to be a major disruptive force in combating the digital divide (Kim, 2008). In fact, teen cell phone owners from low-income households are most likely to use their cell phones to go online. 41% of teens living in households with incomes under $30,000 used their cell phones to go online, while only 23% of teens living in households with incomes over $75,000 used their cell phones to go online (Pew Internet, 2009).
In particular, the social studies has been notorious for its teachers being over-dependent on lecture, rote-learning, and textbooks (Loewen, 2010; Shaughnessy & Haladyana, 1985). As a result, students often cite the social studies as one of their least favorite subjects (Martorella, 1997). These instructional methods often leave students thinking at lower-levels, bored and questioning the importance of the social studies. Marc Prensky, in Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants (2001), comments that when teachers incorporate new technologies into their instruction they genuinely get students excited about learning and often tap into their culture and digital interests. In an age where technology has redefined commerce, communication, advocacy, the integration of these technologies in the social studies classroom can help students gain the skills and etiquette needed to use these technologies appropriately. Furthermore, this familiar technology (cell phones and mobile devices) can serve as an important platform in getting student excited about the social studies (Greenhut & Jones, 2010). Yet, there has been very little discussion/ research in regards to ways in which mobile technologies (like cell phones and iPads) can be used to promote student learning in the social studies.
Below, I’m including my top 8 Applications for the iPhone, iPad, and iPod Touch for mobile learning in social studies education:
1. The World Factbook 2011
• The World Factbook 2011 is an app that allows students to examine global demographic information, populations trends, navigate land masses and water ways, and better understand physical and cultural geography.
2. My Congress
MyCongress is a portal that provides detailed information about your elected U.S. Congressional officials. Track their news, video and Twitter feeds. Look up their official Open Congress profile or contact them directly. MyCongress helps you get in touch with your government.
3. We The People
We The People is an app that allows students to review and explore the U.S. Constitution and Declaration of Independence.
4. Stake the States: Lite
Stack the States is an app geared towards elementary students that makes learning about the 50 states fun! Students will get to watch the states actually come to life when playing a colorful and dynamic game! Users get to learn state capitals, shapes, state locations, and can actually touch, move and drop the animated states anywhere on the screen.
5. World Wiki
6. The Civil War
7. iAmerica: The Pocket Guide to the US History and Presidency
8. Oregon Trail
Westward, Ho! This app allows users to make critical decisions and solve problems as they encounter real historical characters and locations. These historical facts explain the perilous journey of the pioneers.
Friday, November 5, 2010
Distracters in the social studies classroom have always existed. From passing notes to doing math homework in social studies, students have always tested the boundaries. Especially, since students cite the social studies as one of their least favorite subjects (Martorella, 1997). The field has been especially plagued by its large dependence upon bias textbooks and teacher lectures (Loewen, 2010; Shaughnessy & Haladyana, 1985). These instructional methods often leave students thinking at lower-levels, bored and questioning the importance of the social studies. Marc Prensky, in Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants (2001), comments that when teachers incorporate new technologies into their instruction they genuinely get students excited about learning and often tap into their culture and digital interests. In an age where technology has redefined commerce, communication, advocacy, the integration of these technologies in the social studies classroom can help students gain the skills and etiquette needed to use these technologies appropriately. Furthermore, this technology (cell phones) can serve as an important platform in getting student excited about the social studies (Greenhut & Jones, 2010).
Student Use of Cell Phones
Today’s cell phones hold unprecedented potential for both teachers and students in promoting learning. This holds special significance since according to a 2009 Pew Research Study, 71% of students aged 12-17 own a cell phone (Lenhardt, 2009). As teens get older, they are more likely to own a cell phone. For instance, 83% of teens aged 15-17 own a cell phone (Lenhardt, 2009). This number is growing rapidly, and students are more likely to own a cell phone than a laptop computer. From such basic functions as planners, clocks, and cameras to more smart functions like searching online encyclopedias and browsing the Internet, cell phones are evolving into sophisticated micro-computers. In fact, smart phones hold many of the same capabilities of computers. While smart phones are growing in popularity, this manuscript will learn towards the integration of basic cell phone functions in the classroom. These discussed applications include: Using text messaging to search and translate, sending out free notices to students and parents, making Power Point presentations interactive, and using cell phones to add commentary to a slide-show. These applications were selected for three reasons:
1. All of these applications hold great educative potential in the social studies.
2. While basic cell phone data and minutes rate apply, these applications are free to teachers and students.
3. These resources are user-friendly, and offer educators resources and strategies on the integration of these technologies into their classroom.
Teen use of text messaging has dramatically increased in the past few years. According to a new study, Teens and Mobile Phones Over the Past Five Years, from the Pew Research Center’s Internet and American life Project, over 75% of teens that have a cell phone have unlimited text messaging (Lenhart, 2009). Moreover, more than half of all teens that text message send over 50 text messages a day, and one in three send more than 100 messages a day (Lenhardt, 2010). The Pew Report goes on to cite texting as “… the form of communication that has grown the most for teens during the last four years (Lenhard, 2009).” Between 2006 and 2009, the percent of teens that use texting to contact friends outside of school on a daily basis has gone from 27 to 54 percent. Face-to-face contact, instant messaging, mobile voice and social network messaging have remained flat during the same period, while use of e-mail and the landline phone have decreased (Lenhardt, 2009). The widespread availability of unlimited text messaging plans has “…transformed communication patterns of American teens, many of whom now conduct substantial portions of their daily conversations with friends via texting (Lenhardt, 2009)).
1. GOOGLE SMS
As students turn to text messaging at greater rates, Google Mobile has tapped into this technology to allow teachers and students to access a great deal of information. While Google is known as the Internet’s largest search engine provider, its platform of free mobile products holds great educative potential. Google SMS allows students to access real time information, definitions, translations, stock prices, and maps (Google SMS, 2010). Thus, Google SMS is a dictionary, newspaper, atlas, translation guide, and calculator all in one. All students have to do is text their inquiry to GOOGLE (466453) and then the provider will text message results back. Of course, handsets must be SMS capable and students should be authorized to send text messages as standard text messaging rates apply.
When teaching an economics course, students could be asked to look up the actual stock quote of Target Corporation via Google SMS. To do this, students would have to text sock tgt to GOOGLE (466453). Or, if students wanted to review a map of Cleveland, Ohio, they could text Map downtown Cleveland Ohio to GOOGLE. Besides reviewing stock prices and maps of locations around the world, GOOGLE SMS provides a host of other features social studies teachers and students can tap into to promote learning.
Joopz is a service offered by MobileSphere that allows teachers the opportunity to send out mass text messages to students and parents using their PC keyboard (Joopz.com, 2010). No longer must teachers use the microscopic keypad on their cell phones to individually alert parents to upcoming important dates (i.e. parent teacher conferences, field trips, or test dates). Social studies teachers can also use Joopz to send out text message reminders to students about their homework assignments, due dates, and other announcements.
When you sign up with Joopz, you provide your mobile telephone number along with your name, e-mail address, and a password. Once verified through an e-mail, Joopz provides users with a variety of different resources that have important instructional implications:
A. Teachers can send out mass group text messages to students and parents. Furthermore, the website easily allows teachers to manage which participants receive text messages. The teacher can also browse the history of all text messages distributed.
B. Teachers can construct SMS messages in advance, and then schedule these messages to be sent out on a future date/time.
The free basic account allows teachers to send 10 outgoing messages to each group per month. For those users that receive the SMS messages, only standard text messaging rates apply. The Joopz service will appeal to teachers wishing to correspond with parents and students through bulk text message, while not having to type individual SMS messages using the tiny cell phone keys.
Using the Internet and a cell phone, students can add their voice and audio to a slide show. After creating and uploading a slideshow to Yodio, students call in from their cell phone to add music or a narrated track (Yodio.com, 2010). First, users are asked to complete a simple registration process whereby they construct an account that includes the cell phone number they will record from. This number is private, and will never be shared or published. Yodio will use this phone number to recognize the user when they call in to add narration or audio to a slideshow. After users have created a profile and activated their account, they are free to upload slideshows and pictures. Then, users call 1-877-MY-YODIO (699-6346) and follow the prompts to make their recording. After recording their narration, users return to their account at Yodio.com to pair their recording with the slideshow/photo. When students are done, they can share their narrated slide show by publishing it to the web, embedding it in a blog, or by e-mailing it to others.
In American History classes, students could be asked to create slideshows on an important topic in U.S. History. For instance, students may be asked to create a slideshow on the Civil Rights Movement. After researching key figures, events, and issues, students could compile important pictures and images into a slideshow. Then, using their cell phones, students could narrate their slideshow and discuss important themes, concepts, and historical figures. After adding audio to their presentation, students could publish their narrated slideshow to the web or house it on their teacher’s or school’s website.
Social studies teachers are amongst the worst abusers of Power Point presentations and slideshow software to deliver instruction (VanFossen, 1999; Whitworth & Berson ,2003). Social studies teachers often use slide shows that promote lower-level thinking, rote-memorization, with an over-abundance of text (Gabriel, 2008). While there are many ways social studies teachers can enhance the quality of their slideshow presentations, there’s one cell phone SMS based technology that makes PowerPoint slide shows interactive and engaging for students.
Polleverywhere.com is a device that allows teachers to embed interactive polls and quizzes into their PowerPoint presentations (Polleverywhere.com, 2010). Students can respond to questions and vote for a particular selection in the social studies through sending text messages. This technology actually lets students use their cell phones to text their votes and opinions into a PowerPoint presentation. The free plan requires that visitors sign-up for an account (they ask for the usual information: name, e-mail address). The free plan is also limited in that only 30 votes can be recorded per poll (so the teacher has a class of fewer than 30 students each student can vote once per question).
After signing up for an account, the teacher has a choice of what type of poll they want to create and embed into a PowerPoint presentation. They can include a fixed response poll whereby students select from possible choices (much like when the audience is asked to text their responses to American Idol). Another type of poll offered is for opened response answers. After the teacher poses a question to students (such as ‘What are your feelings on global warming?’), students can use their cell phones to text their response into the presentation. As student respond, their answers automatically appear in real time into the PowerPoint presentation. The teacher needs a stable Internet connection and computer to display these results to their students. Also, students should be aware that standard text-messaging rates apply.
Today’s cell phones hold unprecedented potential for both teachers and students in promoting learning in the social studies (Friedman, 2010; Greenhut & Jones, 2010). This hold special significance since according to a 2009 Pew Research Study, 71% of students aged 12-17 own a cell phone (Lenhart, 2010). This number is growing rapidly, and students are increasingly gaining access to more sophisticated cell phones. From such basic functions as planners, clocks, and cameras to more smart functions like searching online encyclopedias and browsing the Internet, cell phones are evolving everyday. This article described ways in which social studies teachers can harness the potential of cell phones in the classroom. The discussed applications included: Using SMS (text-messaging) to search and translate, sending out free reminders to students and parents, making Power Point presentations interactive, and using cell phones to add commentary to slideshows.
As students’ access to cell phones increase (Lehnart, 2010), and as new applications and software becomes available, cell phones will continue to grow in their functionality and capability. While it is true that cell phones can be distractions, much like watches and comic books of previous generations, the real test comes in social studies teachers harnessing the massive potential of cell phones in the social studies classroom. Instead of banning all cell phone use, teachers and administrators should encourage proper cell phone etiquette and their appropriate usage as learning tools. Like any classroom technologies, students should learn that having the ability to use this tool is a privilege that can be taken away if used inappropriately. Simply disallowing and prohibiting the use of cell phones by students, especially, as they grow in educational capabilities, marginalizes their ability to serve as 21st century tools that allow students to access information, communicate, and present new information.
Friday, September 3, 2010
Besides updating the Ohio Academic Content Standard for the Social studies, the state is also in the process of updating its high school graduation requirements. While the final requirements are still in flux most social studies professionals believe the new assessment system will be a big change from its predecessor. The old graduation requirements required that all students:
1. Complete 3 Units of Social Studies: ½ a unit must be in American History and another ½ must be in American Government.
2. Successfully pass an Ohio Graduation Test in the Social Studies. This assessment gauged students’ knowledge in American History, World History, Economics, American Government, Geography, and People’s in Societies, Citizen Rights and Responsibilities, and Social Studies Skills and Methods.
As a result of these previous graduation requirements, school districts found it essential to offer many social studies options to students. These options included: American History, World History, American Government, Economics, Geography, Sociology, Psychology, and Problems of Democracy/Current Events. These course offerings were essential in having students meet state graduation requirements AND prepare students to pass the social studies section of the Ohio Graduate Test.
However, the new standards and proposed assessment system makes significant cuts to the social studies curriculum. In the new system, students are still expected to complete 3 units of social studies for graduation: ½ unit must be in American History, ½ unit must be in American Government, and ½ unit must be in Economics/Financial Literacy. This means that students are able to take another 1 ½ units in Geography, Sociology, Anthropology, etc.
Most troubling to social studies educators and researchers in Ohio is the disregard for world history and global issues in the new social studies standards and proposed assessment system. For high school students to graduate in the new assessment system, students are not required to take world history nor are they assessed in world history in an end of the year exam. The new assessment system is very nationalistic and will only test student knowledge in American History and American Government. In the previous assessment system, all students were assessed on their knowledge in world history. Thus, school districts found themselves having to offer students world history in order to prepare them for the state graduation test. Since it’s not tested or required for graduation, many fear world history will not be taught. Simply put, social studies course offerings will dry up and valuable resources and teachers will be reduced. This reduction will have a significant negative influence on student understanding of world events, global issues, and the profound impact globalization has and continues to have politically, economically, environmentally, and socially. All this at a time when students in Ohio and around the United States need to understand the influence of global and international forces the most (i.e. Wars in Iraq, Afghanistan, and the current global economic recovery).
(Below is a copy of a letter sent to my Ohio House and Senate representatives emphasizing the importance of their support for a strong P-12 Social Studies curriculum in Ohio Schools. Feel free to use my letter as a template in contacting members of the Ohio State House)
As a teacher educator, an avid voter, and a citizen deeply concerned about the future of the State of Ohio, I’m asking that you work to curtail the cuts made to social studies education in Ohio. At a time when our nation needs the cultivation of historically aware and geographically literate and economically attune citizens, the Ohio Legislature has weakened social studies instruction in k-12 education.
I ask that you work together with your colleagues to introduce the following measures to restore the vitality of the social studies for our youth. This Educating Ohio’s Citizen’s for a Globally Interconnected Age Bill should do the following:
o Restore K-8 assessments
There is ample research and evidence to illustrate that schools reduce the instructional time and resources for social studies when it is not part of the state assessment program. The “suspension” of the 5th and 8th grade Ohio Achievement Tests for social studies will likely continue (according to legislators) in the next biennium and will erode the social studies program K-8, leaving Ohio’s students unprepared for more rigorous studies at the high school or college level.
o Require world studies as part of the 3 required social studies credits
By including world studies in the Ohio Graduation Test, Ohio assures that all Ohio public school students will receive a survey course in modern world studies. The assessment program that is replacing the OGT may focus only on American History and American Government, relegating world studies to an elective status. We believe that students cannot be prepared for college, careers, or engaged citizenship without a basic understanding of modern world events and trends, such as globalization. Currently, Ohio Revised Code lists ½ credit in American History and ½ credit in American Government as requirements. Since there are three Carnegie Units in social studies required, adding world studies to the required courses would not add to what schools currently offer, and because schools already staff for world studies, it would not add costs to schools.
o Require assessment of world studies as part of the high school assessment program. World studies is currently assessed on the OGT and needs to remain part of the assessment program as Ohio transitions to the end-of-course exams.
I look forward to your support and vote towards successfully educating the youth of Ohio in a globally interconnected age.
Dr. Brad M. Maguth
Professor of Teacher Education
Social Studies Program Coordinator