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A Model Web 2.0 Collaborative Project for Social Studies! August 30, 2007

Posted by Joselyn Todd in Educational Technology, Professional Development.

This morning I continue my journey through the wonderful resources in the current issue of Midlink Magazine. One of the projects, On The Trail Of The First People was created by Karen Kliegman, a library media and ed tech specialist from Searingtown School, Albertson, NY (she is also an adjunct professor at Long Island University, NY).   This project really stands out as On The Trail Of The First People is a Web 2.0 project that is aimed for use in a social studies unit in a 4th or 5th grade classroom focused on indigenous people. The project begins in October, 2007 so sign up now! In terms of content, the project is a standards based project that asks students to become geographically and culturally aware of the indigenous people that they are studying. Most importantly, it asks for students to relate how the geographic attributes of the area- its climate, natural resources, and natural habitat have influenced the culture of the tribe.

How does a teacher implement this project in the classroom? Not to worry! Karen has provided a very detailed guide regarding how to sign up and implement the project. It is a model Web 2.0 project as Karen has integrated blogs or wikis into the project as well as social mapping and mind mapping tools. The social mapping tool, Community Walk, is used to create a geographic awareness of the location of the indigenous people of interest. Following brainstorming using a mind mapping tool and research using information literacy skills, the tribe location(s) and important geographic points would be placed on the map using the project Community Walk. Points on the map can be annotated with pictures, photos, and comments. A class wiki would be used for group research, brainstorming, project development, etc. Student blogs could be used to document individual thoughts about the project and their independent contributions. The class wiki would be collaborative in that any other teacher/classroom could contribute to it. Even more outstanding, by signing up for the project, Karen has set up a project wiki for the teachers that are involved!

Integral to the project is its collaborative spirit where students are brainstorming, researching, mapping, and creating final research products such as short movies or a Slideshare (published PowerPoint) for others who are involved in the project to see, learn from, comment on, etc. There is so much potential regarding this project. First, I am hopeful that a teacher with a large number students from indigenous tribe(s) contributes to the project. This would be invaluable to all of the other collaborating teachers/classrooms. I am also hopeful that other teachers will guide their students to use and integrate audio and/or video of the children/people of the indigenous tribe(s) of interest. The power of the human voice is amazing, and culturally, storytelling has played a large role within indigenous people in the Americas and worldwide.

I am hoping to get Karen interviewed/ “podcasted” soon. Meanwhile, shoot her an e-mail if you are a upper elementary teacher who enjoys social studies and wants to embark upon a powerful, highly motivational professional learning experience while guiding her students through a creative, innovative Web 2.0 learning opportunity! Like all of the editors from Midlink, I am sure Karen would help guide you through this project using the materials she has created and the teacher wiki.



1. Bethany Smith - August 31, 2007

The new issue looks great! You have all done a spectacular job. I love the blog that you have started – it is just the perfect way to supplement the magazine.

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