Creator: Taylor Bingle (@taylorbingle)
Suggested Grade Level: Elementary
Subject Area: English/Language Arts, Math, Science, Interdisciplinary
Do you think that British colonists were ‘becoming American’ in the colonial period?” This is the question driving Taylor Bingle’s project. With an objective of developing the historical thinking skills of sourcing, contextualizing, close reading, and corroboration, he set out to create a project that would allow his high school history students to delve into the question. Using the Stanford History Education Group (SHEG) graphic organizer as a starting point, from the very beginning, he encouraged his students to ask driving questions and engage in self-exploration. He provided them with The National Humanities Center, America in Class’s “Becoming American” resource page, and then asked his students to play the role of researcher. Once they had formulated an answer, they used Explain Everything to create a video to convince their audience of their conclusion. The videos included images of primary source materials as well as the students’ own voices arguing their points. When completed, the students shared their projects via Google Drive.
Extending the Project
This project is perfect for all grade levels by adjusting the kinds of sources students are to look at. The app itself, ExplainEverything (or VoiceThread), are perfect tech tools for any classroom to encourage visible thinking. I do recommend not using VoiceThread on the iPad though as it is very limited. EE is a much better choice here.