(Digitally) Writing New Histories
A TPS Grant for Michigan Social Studies Educators
With a shift towards disciplinary, digital, and critical literacies, we find that historical documents and artifacts — as well as images, social media posts, and videos created with contemporary technologies — all serve as primary sources.
This professional learning experience will take place entirely online during evenings and weekends (times TBD), through Zoom video conferencing, throughout the entire 2020-21 academic year. In addition to the countless number of digitized artifacts available through the Library of Congress website, we will invite teachers to examine artifacts through virtual visits to local museums and learn how to use digital writing tools such as Adobe Spark, Sutori, ThingLink, and Zbib.
Virtual field trips throughout the year will include visits to:
Arab American National Museum
The Charles H. Wright Museum of African American History
Coppertown USA Mining Museum
Detroit Historical Museum
Gerald R. Ford Presidential Museum
Grand Rapids Public Museum
Great Lakes Shipwreck Museum
Hartwick Pines Logging Museum
Holocaust Memorial Center
Educators selected to participate in the (Digitally) Writing New Histories Project will have the opportunity to earn a $500 stipend after participating in approximately 50 hours of professional learning throughout the year. All content will be delivered online, through Zoom, and participation is expected in all meetings (synchronously or asynchronously). We expect that participants will:
Join (or view a recording of) two 90-minute Zoom sessions per month (2020: Aug/Sept, Oct, Nov/Dec; 2021: Jan, Feb, Mar/Apr, May) for a total of approximately 25 hours
Join in individual/small group coaching sessions with facilitators (approximately 5 hours)
Engage in additional, required asynchronous learning opportunities (approximately 10 hours)
Develop an instructional unit aligned with the C3 Framework (approximately 10 hours)
In this application, you will share basic contact and demographic information, and submit an essay (apx 450-600 words) that will respond to the following:
A description of your work as a social studies educator, including information about your teaching background and current role(s). Additionally, describe your teaching context, including information about the student body and school culture as it relates to diversity and equity.
A description of your work with The College, Career, and Civic Life (C3) Framework, technology integration, and other professional learning that will contribute to your growth as a leader in your school context and other educational organizations.
A description of how you would benefit from this program, including ways in which you would work with other colleagues in the program to develop an Inquiry Design Model-based unit of study and a webinar to be delivered to other Michigan Council of Social Studies members.
The application deadline isFriday, July 31, 2020 at 5:00 PM EST.Please apply using this Google Form.
We expect to notify teachers who have been selected for the institute by the week of August 17th.Our initial Zoom call for the institute work will be during the week of August 24th (date/time TBD).
Last winter, a group of colleagues, led by @teachkate, created & developed this pledge in a small effort to promote greater inclusivity among and w/in education conferences, panels, & other similar events.
Second, in addition to taking up this pledge, I will begin sessions — even virtual ones — with an indigenous land acknowledgement like this one from my employer, Central Michigan University, and read the introduction from this NCTE blog post, “Being an Anti-Racist Educator Is a Verb.” These two actions will take only moments, yet will continually reaffirm my commitment to social justice education and a stance of anti-racism.
Third, I have signed on to our CMU Faculty Association’s call to commit to anti-racism, led by my English Department colleagues Carlin Borsheim-Black and April Burke. Both of these educators were schedule to deliver talks at a Chippewa River Writing Project (CRWP) event this spring, which was cancelled due to COVID closures, and I will work to get them reconnected with our site’s work as soon as possible.
We all have work to do, and I need to get started. This morning is our first CRWP event now that I have taken this pledge, and I need to prepare my opening words before we begin writing into the day.
In my work with undergraduate pre-service teachers, graduate students in master’s and doctoral educational technology programs, and with teachers through webinars and workshops, a consistent question resonates — “I know I am supposed to use technology in my teaching, but I don’t exactly know how. What can I do?”
And, for well over a decade, Liz Kolb has been trying to answer that question, first with her books about cell phones and in the encouragement to use these devices as learning tools, and then with her innovative Triple E Framework, outlined thoroughly on her openly available website as well as in her 2017 book, Learning First, Technology Second: The Educator’s Guide to Designing Authentic Lessons. For my students, the Triple E framework has become part of numerous class assignments as well as final project evaluations, stretching from undergraduate methods courses to my doctoral seminars. And, they have all found the Triple E to be insightful and practical, helping them think through their choices for when, why, and how to use technology.
Thus, Kolb’s approach is quite accessible to teachers. Throughout her work, she consistently foregrounds the need for purposeful lesson design, opportunities for student collaboration, and the use of educational technologies for creating content, not just consuming it. This message resonates with educators who are themselves learning how to use technology in a more effective manner, even the most reluctant who fear that students’ learning can quickly be subsumed by glitzy apps, programs, and websites. Her message remains clear: technology should be used to engage, enhance, and extend student learning, and never for its own sake.
She continues this line of work with her most recent publication, Learning First, Technology Second in Practice: New Strategies, Research and Tools for Student Success. In the Introduction, she contends that “this book should open up conversations with teachers, coaches, and administrators around the choices educators are making with technology tools in their classroom teaching,” and I would concur. Indeed, the book will be a conversation-starter among colleagues, coaches, curriculum directors, and others. Set to be released this July, I was afforded the opportunity to preview the book* and offer some reflections on how Kolb’s work with the Triple E Framework – as well as with dozens of educators – has continued to grow in the past few years.
In the introduction, she describes the ways in which her thinking has moved in the past few years, providing the reader with insights and updates on the Triple E Framework and its many uses. Then, in Chapter 1, following a pattern that I have observed her using in presentations and webinars for educators, the reader is presented with a number of “myths and realities” related to educational technology (e.g., the myth outlined on page 18 that “Computer use in any form will always enhance underserved or at-risk students’ learning experiences,” followed by a detailed explanation of how these myths are not necessarily true. This model appeals to educators, and helps give them talking points of their own for conversations with students, colleagues, and administrators.
Then, as the reader moves into Chapters 2, 3, and 4, Kolb reiterates many of the key points about the three pillars of the Triple E Framework: engagement, enhancement, and extension. These chapters are centered, as always, on effective learning models (e.g., social, collaborative interactions and bridging school learning to everyday life). My only minor criticism about the book is that — for anyone already familiar with her previous work — Kolb does seem to spend a great deal of time reiterating key elements from each of the three pillars of engagement, enhancement, and extension. Specifically, chapters 2, 3, and 4 of the new book feel very similar to chapters 3, 4, and 5 of her previous one. She even uses a similar model of describing numerous teaching scenarios and analyzing them with the framework, and much of this is also (to her credit) available on her website.
Still, this book does take the approach that she used in the first a step further by adding a deeper, more thorough analysis (and ratings) of lesson ideas using the Triple E Framework, then describing very specific ways in which an educator could revise a lesson by changing the instructional strategies, the technology, or both. To that end, while some of these three chapters felt a little repetitive, she did work to bring a new angle of analysis using the framework, and I appreciate these new ways for thinking about how to help other educators use the framework themselves.
The most important contributions from this new book come throughout the second half of it, which includes Chapter 5’s focus on exemplary lessons from K-12 educators, Chapter 6 which articulates fifteen steps to Triple E integration that can be used by tech coaches and instructional designers, and Chapter 7, a model for implementing the Triple E through district-wide PD. In these chapters, there are many gems, including many examples of teachers’ and students’ work and “the fifteen steps,” which I find to be most useful for my own work.
For instance, she describes ways in which we can crosswalk another popular ed tech framework, TPACK, with the Triple E, and she offers a specific protocol for analyzing an existing lesson using the Triple E Framework. In that practical PD session, she suggests that teachers or coaches use an adaptation of the lesson study model, scoring a lesson with the Triple E framework and offering specific suggestions for improvement. She encourages the reader (who would become the facilitator) to
[A]sk coaches what advice they would give to the teacher of this lesson for improvement (if it needs it). The advice should either be a tool change or pedagogical changes around the tool. Sometimes a lesson may need both! (191).
As I consider my own needs — as a teacher educator and professional development consultant — this protocol for discussion with the Triple E (as well as her good-natured advice), is all helpful, reminding me of the power of protocols to help educators move through discussions in purposeful ways.
And, as one final bonus, Dr. Kolb invites readers to her new Triple E PLN, available as yet another free resource for educators who want to examine — and share — lessons that meet the criteria of the Triple E Framework. Here, “[e]ducators are invited to register, evaluate their own lessons, share their lessons, and discuss ways to improve the lessons based on the Triple E Framework.” Again, Dr. Kolb’s educational ethos leans towards openly-available, immediately useful resources, and she models this through the websites and communities that she creates.
In sum, and especially with the chapters for coaches and district-wide professional learning models, with Learning First, Technology Second in Practice, Kolb has provided us with another book that can genuinely guide educators as they are “making instructional choices with technology based on the learning goal and the science of good learning practices” (xiv). With many new examples and specific suggestions, Kolb continues to serve the educational community as a leader who models the kinds of teaching and learning with technology she wants to see in classrooms, from kindergarten through college, and in face-to-face, hybrid, and online contexts. It is a worth read, and will help any educator deepen their thinking about teaching and learning with technology.
*Note: I was invited by ISTE to review this book, and provided a free PDF version of it. Additionally, over the past 10 years, I have worked with Dr. Kolb on a number of short-term projects, invited her to be a reviewer of our master’s degree program and a guest speaker, and have required students to purchase her books for some of my courses.