A huge benefit of the Internet is having 24/7 access to a growing treasure trove of national archives (i.e., Library of Congress, Smithsonian, National Archives and Records Administration) housing primary sources (documents, newspapers, interviews, videos, etc.) that provide a window into the past. As a 1999 Library of Congress Fellow, I’ve been watching collections grow for 20+ years. I love directing students to the Google Newspaper Archives, for instance, where they can read about historical events in the moment, as they were actually unfolding.
“to arm the public with a more complete picture of today’s most important stories. We correct the record, expose myths and provide historical context to the fast-paced news of our world today using investigative journalism and narrative storytelling.”
This valuable and rapidly expanding resource helps teachers and students make connections between then and there to here and now.
I grew up in California’s Bay Area, where I attended St. Joseph’s High School in Berkeley. As a sophomore, I can remember the infectious excitement of my teachers and principal as they informed us that President John F. Kennedy would be visiting California and that we would have the opportunity to line up on University Avenue to watch his motorcade on its way to the UC Berkeley campus.
President John F. Kennedy’s motorcade to UC Berkeley, March 23, 1962. Offsite contributor, part of NARA collection.
As a redhead, I was struck by the slightly auburn highlights in the President’s hair as his motorcade passed by on a beautiful, sunny Berkeley day. This historic event was the first time I stood with classmates, teachers, and hundreds and hundreds of others to cheer on – and stand in awe of – a President of the United States. An unforgettable moment for a 15-year old.
Nor will I ever forget where I was sitting on November 22, 1963 (3rd row back in my typing class), when our principal came over the PA system to announce that President Kennedy had been shot. She did not tell us at the time that the President had been killed. A pulpable sadness and silence enveloped our tiny one-building campus. Like so many parents who came to pick up their children, it was my mother who told me our President was dead.
I have not been able to find a copyright-free image photo of John John saluting as his father’s casket passed in front of him. As a family, we did not discuss politics, so I’m not even sure if my parents voted Democratic or Republican. Almost 60 years later, I still remember watching the funeral on TV and – for the first time in my life – seeing my father pull out a handkerchief to contain his sobs in response to John John’s iconic salute.
JFK’s family leaves Capitol after his funeral
After spending my junior year in college abroad (Pavia, Italy), my final stop on my journey back to the States was Ireland. Never had I seen so many photos of JFK on display. From shops to pubs – and even on the bathroom door of the B&B where I was staying (yes, that seemed a bit much, when seated on the toilet, to be eye-to-eye with the President), Ireland still mourned the passing of JFK.
I am aware of the steady, ongoing stream of conspiracy theories, which emerged soon after the assassination of JFK via radio, television, newspapers, and magazines. I ignored them then; I ignore them now. Today, of course, with the availability of Facebook, Twitter, and other social media, we have seen that anyone anywhere can instantly and effortlessly accelerate the spread of “fake news” and conspiracy theories.
In July, I retired from a job I loved: teacher/technology integration specialist for a wonderful school district. I have blogged many times of the amazing learning adventures my colleague Kathleen Watt and I have shared over the years. As coordinators of the district’s digital citizenship program, we’ve developed, gathered and curated resources to help teachers bring media literacy into their toolkits. Working with outstanding organizations such as Common Sense Media, PBS/KVIE, and more, our goal had initially been to promote media literacy for students, our target audience.
Then came Pizzagate. When Edgar Welch entered Washington DC’s Comet Pizzeria to rescue children he believed were being hidden and sexually abused, this was a wake-up call. In an age of misinformation/disinformation, we (adults) also need media literacy skills. We started gathering and posting resources and offering districtwide and statewide (CUE, California League of Schools) workshops…
As an educator and a citizen, I pledge to question and speak out against false information – on both sides of the political spectrum. More than ever, I appreciate organizations such as Retro Report that bring history alive and allow us to step into and learn from the past.
Decades later, I still carry the images of JFK, along with Jackie (in her pink suit), Caroline and John John in my heart. Every trip to Dallas, to visit my son, we always include a drive to the Grassy Knoll and a walk past the former Texas School Book Depository, where we stop to gaze up at the sixth-floor window and to honor the legacy of President John F. Kennedy.
Thank you again, Retro Report, for your commitment to make visible how the past connects to the present – and helps shape the future.
Question: What’s worth a 1,000-mile round-trip drive?
Answer: The opportunity to attend the #CUE19 Spring Conference, well worth every hour (9 each way) from Folsom to Palm Springs and back!
This year marks my 10th year to attend CUE. Every year offers new opportunities for learning about powerful strategies and tools for extending teaching and learning. With hundreds of sessions to choose from, it’s always a challenge to narrow it down to a single one per time slot. Below are a few of my #CUE19 takeaways.
In the past, Thursday has always been a full day of workshops and sessions, with Saturday being a half day. This year, the CUE team reversed the schedule, offering two sessions, starting 3:00 pm.
Session 1: How to Google Like a Pro – An Wren and Corey Mathias
I enjoyed An and Corey’s media literacy approach to helping students become more effective with their online searches. If you scroll through their slideshow, you will find a number of helpful tips and resources, such as Catlyn Tucker’s Got Credibility spreadsheet and an excellent list of Chrome extensions. My favorite is Wakelet, “a free platform that allows you to curate and organize content to save and share.” I’ve been meaning to explore Wakelet ever since my friend/CUE co-presenter Rob Appel recommended it to me. The link to the handy Wakelet guide included in An and Corey’s slides is exactly the piece I needed to actually sit down and get started building my Wakelet account and collections.
Session 2: General Session & CUE Duet
To truly do justice to the energy level of Thursday’s general session, I recommend listening to moderator John Eick’s brief podcast introduction to the CUE Keynote Duet.
This session was filmed, so if it’s made available to the public, I will definitely update this post with the link. Bringing Alice Chen and Martin Cisneros together on stage was a very good idea. As they tackled topics like a “fixed mindset vs. a growth mindset,” “equality vs, equity,” “achievement gap vs. engagement gap,” and the importance of student voice, you could feel the audience’s energy levels rising. Veronica Godinez beautifully summed up the Duet keynote in a single Tweet:
Alice Chen has been a source of inspiration ever since we met at the 2012 Microsoft Innovative Educators Seattle Summer Conference and then again at the 2012 Google Teacher Academy in Mountain View. Technology tips from an outstanding middle school English teacher are always gems.
This was my first time to hear Martin Cisneros present. His passion for equity and inclusion, combined with his humor and a dose of Spanish all contribute to his ability to 100% pull in the audience.
So the secret to organizing a thought-provoking, engaging duet is to have a hilarious moderator working with a dynamic duo. I hope CUE will build the Duet Keynote into future conferences.
Session 3: Got DigCit? – Ben Cogswell and Norma Gamez
I almost skipped this 8:30 am session (to do a little last-minute prep for my 10:00 session). I’m glad I joined Ben and Norma. Digital Citizenship is a topic near and dear to me. As the co-director of my district’s digital citizenship program, I really value opportunities to hear about ways other districts are weaving #DigCit into the school day, starting at the elementary level.
If you check out their presentation, you will see that in addition to pulling lessons and resources from Common Sense and other organizations, with a little help from some second graders, they even create their own:
They also brought up a good point on the two ways we need to be rolling out digital citizenship:
Attending Ben and Norma’s session was a great way to start day 2 of the #CUE19 Conference. I appreciated the reminder to attend and present at Monterey Bay CUE’s May 18 DigCit Summit in Salinas.
Session 4: Saving Democracy – Educator’s Survival Guide to Fake News Across the Curriculum – Glen Warren and Alan November
Having Glen Warren do your introduction would be a great start to any presentation. And Alan November kept Glen’s momentum and humor going throughout the session. I’ve been a long-time Alan November fan. I even have a signed copy of Who Owns the Learning. I frequently reference his Internet search tips in my own workshops (including Thinking Critically about the (Fake) News). So it was no surprise that I left with some great takeaways:
Are cats smarter than dogs?/Are dogs smarter than cats? – What a great activity to bring back to the classroom. Have students partner up and each put in one of these opposing search terms. Students will quickly get the message that if you give Google enough information to indicate what your opinion is on a topic, Google will give you things to inform that opinion.
Eliminate adjectives, adverbs, and verbs from your search terms. Stick to nouns – The less information you give Google, the better your results will be. Example: dogs, cats, debate would have been way more efficient in the above search.
Use country codes – I learned this tip from Alan many years ago when I was teaching 5th grade. Students felt empowered when they realized they could research historical events from two sides of a revolution via country codes. Alan demoed the importance of country codes and search operators for finding information on the Iran-Contra events. Using “site:ac.ir conquest of the american spy den,” for instance, will bring up better results than “Iran Contra investigation,” which is equivalent to searching “are cats smarter than dogs?/are dogs smarter than cats?”
Alan ended his session with a shout-out to Wikipedia, our “most important crowd-sourced resource.”
Session 5: Thinking Critically about the (Fake) News – Rob Appel, Kelly Mendoza and Gail Desler (me)
We wondered if we would have much of a turn out for our session since it was following Alan November’s. We did. The room was packed.
Over the past year, we have continued to update and add to our resources, with the goal of providing tips for helping students (and ourselves) to step out of “filter bubbles,” to use effective search skills, and to become fact-checking pros (and lateral readers).
If you didn’t make it to our session, here’s the link to our session resources: bit.ly/MediaLitResources. (Note: You will need to login to your Google account to access our Google Site.)
Media literacy: It’s not a course that you teach once a week. It’s a way of thinking.” Jennifer Kavanaugh, co-author of Truth Decay
Session 6: Climbing the SAMR Model with Adobe Spark – Susan Millan and Marco Arellano
Attending an Adobe Spark session was high on my #CUE19 to-do list. What I love about Spark is that it’s a copyright friendly tool. Any images you add from Spark are licensed for reuse via Creative Commons – and come with the attribution embedded. Oh, and copyright-free background music is built into Spark voice recordings. Love it! I’m hoping my district can roll out the premium version of Adobe Spark, which eliminates the 13+ age requirement.
Session 7: General Session & Keynote – ET, The Hip-Hop Preacher – Eric Thomas
If you read the session description, you might wonder why a preacher would be keynoting at a tech conference.
Eric’s message was for everyone who works with students, especially in high-poverty areas. He had all of us up on our feet chanting “I can. I will. I must,” with the hope that this chant will lead us to giving our students a personal aim to motivate them to succeed. “Students need to understand why they are in education and they need to establish their ‘AIM’ for their life.”
“We need to give school meaning for our students…. and convince them they want education as much as they want to breathe.”
Session 8: Can I Use That? Exploring Copyright, Fair Use, and Creative Commons – Kelly Mendoza and Gail Desler (me)
If you were one of our participants, thank you for your great questions and your interest in the topic. Just wish this had been a 90-minute session.
As essential as this topic is to media literacy/digital citizenship programs, many educators are still not feeling fully confident of their understanding of copyright, their ability to flex their fair use muscles, and their understanding of Creative Commons best practices. It was exciting at the end of our session to have a number of participants ask if they could use our presentation … on Monday. If you missed our session, we’ll be submitting a proposal for Fall CUE. In the meantime, here is the link to our resources.
Session 9: BookSnaps – Tara Martin
So what’s a BookSnap? A term coined by Tara, “a BookSnap is simply a digital, visual representation used to annotate and share reflections of any excerpt of a book or text.” BookSnaps are also a powerful way for students to synthesize their thinking and “to draw connections based on what’s meaningful and relevant to them.” Even though Tara demonstrated how to create “booksnaps” with Snapchat, which is blocked for students in many districts (including mine), you can easily create and share BookSnaps in other programs, such as Google Slides, Google Drawings, the Book Creator App, or VoiceThread. BookSnaps have three elements: title, author, and what you’re thinking. The student samples below are from Tara’s website.
Tara has also included lots of videos to get you and your students BookSnapping. I’m pretty sure if BookSnaps were included as part of a literacy study, the research would show that, besides being a fun way to motivate student writers, students will also be able to recall more about books, articles, and passages they’ve read. #LoveBookSnaps
Session 10: Google for Education Certified Innovators Panel
Lisa Nowakowski: Hidden Gems in Google Draw – Google Drawings still seem like the overlooked stepchild of the G Suite for Education, yet Drawings offer so many practical and creative options for students and teachers.
Nancy Minicozzi: Speech to Text and Translation in Docs – As you can see from Nancy’s slideshow, there a many classroom uses for the Voice Typing option (Tools dropdown). My favorite is not included: Voice Typing is built into Docs and, therefore, does not require downloading as an Add-on or extension. In my district, although teachers can download any Add-ons or extensions, students cannot, due to a school board policy that does not allow students to enter into contracts with 3rd party developers (it’s that part of the download that requires the student to agree to the developers’ terms and conditions). Thank you, Google for integrating this powerful tool directly into Docs!
Matt Vaudrey: Teacher Report Card – Here’s a great conversation starter for your next faculty meeting. I’d love to see a companion piece where students create what they would consider a meaningful student report card 😉.
So many great sessions…all going on at the same time…so hard to choose – but, for sure, every session I attended was a good choice.
I don’t think I’ve ever included the CUE Exhibit Hall in my end-of-conference reflections (although I deeply appreciate every vendor’s support of CUE). This year, I want elementary and intermediate teachers to know about Cram Jams, music videos created by 3rd grade teacher Amelia and musician/husband Andy to help teach students about a variety of writing rules and tips. I’ve signed up for the free trial, but I already know I’m ready to commit to a $39 annual membership fee. Don’t let the intro video overwhelm you. Each topic comes with a 2-3 minute video, posters, and an accompanying lesson.
#CUE19 Comes to a Close 😞
Start to finish, #CUE19 was a fantastic three-day experience and learning journey. A huge thank you to the CUE Board and team members. You definitely delivered on your promise of “Dozens of Workshops * Hundreds of Sessions * Countless Memories.”
If you have anything to add to my session descriptions, please leave a comment.
“Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world; indeed, it’s the only thing that ever has.” Margaret Mead
Ruby Bridges and marshals leaving William Frantz Elementary School, New Orleans, 1960. Image in Public Domain.
What resources does your district make available for “protecting students from hate-motivated behavior”?
Kathleen Watt and I were recently asked this question by our district’s Educational Equity Specialist, in preparation for the March 5 school board meeting. The board will be addressing current board policy, which calls for “providing professional learning to staff in recognizing and preventing hate-motivated behaviors and providing instruction to students and families to do the same.”
Below are the resources we shared. Like many large districts, our district departments often operate in silos, not necessarily aware of the work Kathleen and I do. So we prefaced the list with a quick introduction:
“EGUSD is a Common Sense District. This designation is due to 76% of EGUSD schools teaching Common Sense lessons as part of their required digital citizenship curriculum. CS lessons are designed and developed in partnership with Project Zero at the Harvard Graduate School of Education. Hate Speech is included in one of the six topics (Cyberbullying, Digital Drama & Hate Speech) addressed through CS curriculum.These lessons meet standards for Common Core ELA, CASEL and ISTE.”
From Common Sense
Grade 3 The Power of Words – What should you do when someone uses mean or hurtful language on the internet?
Grades 6-9 Upstanders, Not Bystanders – I created this lesson on what it means to cross the line from “bystander” to “upstander” several years ago for Common Sense. Note:Although the lesson is designed for grades 6-9, the Upstanders Not Bystanders VoiceThread is an invitation to Kindergarten – Senior Citizens to share an “upstander” story. The project was inspired by Margaret Mead’s above quote.
In addition to Common Sense resources, we share other national resources addressing hate motivated behavior and strategies for confronting all forms of exclusion and intolerance:
Teaching Tolerance– In addition to lessons and resources for confronting hate and intolerance, Teaching Tolerance also offers online professional development through webinars. Teaching Tolerance is project of the Southern Poverty Law Center, which also offers a variety of resources, including 10 Ways to Fight Hate: A Community Response.
Media Smarts – Media Smarts, a Canadian organization for promoting “digital and media literacy,” offers excellent, vetted resources, including a guide for educators on Responding to Online
Media Literacy Workshops As part of our media literacy workshops, district and statewide (ISTE, CUE and CA League of Schools), we include resources such as The Dangerous Speech Project, strategies for deconstructing URLs (Stormfront and other hate organizations) and confronting bias (our own filter bubbles) and hate.
Never underestimate the power of a single story to change hearts and minds. I’ve read and loved many of the books on Common Sense’s Books That Teach Empathy list. I strongly believe that promoting empathy through stories can be an effective strategy in derailing hate speech.
Anne Frank, Montessori School, Amsterdam
I often think back to 7th grade, the first time I studied about the Holocaust. The staggering statistics were unimaginable to me. But a single story, the Diary of Ann Frank, provided a window into the genocide of over six million Jews.
I doubt there has been a time in history when hate speech did not exist. A downside of the digital age is the spread at which it can now be spreed.
But we can make a difference. The many stories shared in the Upstanders Not Bystanders VoiceThread stand as testimony to our ability to make a difference, whether through a group effort/movement or by a single individual. I am looking at my copy of I Am Malala and thinking about the incredible difference a single child can make and the power and pull of education to inspire action. Next to Malala’s book is my copy of I’m Not Leaving, Carl Wilken’s story of how respect, compassion, and empathy were the driving forces that kept him in Rwanda during the 1994 genocide.
I have more room on my bookshelf. Please keep the upstander stories coming, along with curriculum and resources we can bring into the classroom to protect our students from hate-motivated behaviors.
MediaWise is part of the Google News Initiative, funded by Google.org, and aims to teach 1 million teenagers how to spot fake news on the internet by 2020, with at least half of them coming from undeserved or low-income communities.
The centerpiece of the project is a new curriculum being written by grant partner Stanford History Education Group that will be available to schools across the country in the fall of 2019. Stanford is writing this curriculum after studying how professional fact-checkers, college students and historians navigate digital information. The foundation of the Stanford lessons is built on skills that professional fact-checkers use after Stanford discovered that fact-checkers and journalists are more critical and think very differently about what they read on the internet and how they sort through misleading or flat-out false information.”
Students-teaching-students is a powerful teaching model. We have included a video in the Explore section of a teacher talking to other teachers about fact-checking and lateral reading. We would love to replace this video with a student-created video, slideshow and/or infographic to show what lateral reading looks like from the perspective and experience of a student fact-checker. Go for it!”
We extend the above invitation to students across the globe.
Media Literacy / Digital Citizenship 4 Themes by Elk Grove Unified School District is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.