Thinking About Technology and Revolutions

I’ve been thinking a lot about technology lately.   There seems to be a wide range of opinions about which technology to use, how often, and what the benefits are for students.  The fact is, we are blazing the trails of technology use.  We are in the middle of a revolution.

My students have been engaged in a unit on the American Revolution and I’ve been trying to help them develop an understanding of what a revolution is.  One of the big ideas I’ve been attempting to help them discover is that the history we read is strongly influenced by the opinions and ideals of the person who is writing it.  Analyzing images has been a particularly powerful way to help them access this.  For example, I showed them the following images depicting the Boston Massacre and used the Visual Thinking Strategies format to facilitate the discussion.  Students began to notice the similarities and differences and started to analyze how this one event could appear so different in these images.

This lesson was very powerful for them and helped them to generate a wide variety of questions about the event and the time period, which they then used as the basis for small group inquiries.  What many of them learned was to be critical readers and viewers.

In twenty, fifty, even one hundred years what opinions of today will be remembered and revered as history changing?  We are in the middle of a revolution.  Whose thoughts and ideas will emerge as the prevailing ones?

Look at the images below.  Both are outdated models of education in many ways, yet much of what they represent still exists today.  What do you notice? What differences and similarities are there?  Which elements represented here exist in your classroom? All? Some? None?  What should a classroom look like?  How does that learning environment reflect what we believe about teaching and learning?  How does it support students?

(images from Wikimedia Commons)

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One Response to Thinking About Technology and Revolutions

  1. Tara says:

    We spent a class period on just this activity when we began the year studying the American Revolution…and you are right, it is a powerful lesson.

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