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Determining Historical Significance Part II

- by Jody Pereverzoff, Grade 7 Humanities

In this unit, students discussed and evaluated events in Canada by rating them using the historical significance criteria found on the website: Historical Benchmark Society. They then created timelines to demonstrate their evaluations and get a better sense, visually, of how each event was connected.

This blog focuses on how iPads were used to collect, synthesize, record, and share their understanding of the most historical events in pre-Confederation Canada. It also provides a variety of student reflections on the assignment, as well as outlines the benefits and limitations of using iPads to demonstrate student understanding.


You have already:
  1. Become familiar with 16 events in history pre-confederation
  2. Evaluated these events using the Historical Significance Criteria
  3. Using the criteria, picked 8 events that your group considered more significant than other events
  4. Met with a new group, shared your opinions, and chose 8 events using consensus
  5. Picked the top three events you would like study further.
Now you will:
  1. Be assigned an event to teach based on your interests
  2. Fill out a proposal (found on the last page of this sheet)
  3. Research, Research, Research. Create a work cited.
  4. Create a presentation that demonstrates your deep understanding of this topic. This can be done in any form (Keynote, Prezi, Common Craft, iMovie, Skit, and much more).
  5. Run a discussion at the end of your presentation using the guiding questions and your own understanding of this event. I would like to see minimum 3 questions on your proposal.
How will you do this?
  • You will introduce yourself and your topic
  • Use the 5 W’s to remind students what this event was about. Create a handout with the 5’ws, as well as your group’s answers to the guiding questions (found below)
  • Share your created piece of work (Prezi, Keynote, Common Craft, iMovie etc)
  • Explain how your visual answered the guiding questions in a thoughtful way
  • Facilitate (run) a class discussion using 3 questions. See guiding questions, reflection questions, and/or create your own questions. You must answer these questions yourself and hand them in, along with your work cited, on the day of your presentation
To view the rubric for this assignment, click here.

Student Exemplar

Student Perspective on iPads and the overall assignment:

Students had the opportunity to use a laptop if they felt it was absolutely necessary. If they chose to use a laptop, rather than an iPad, they needed to complete a detailed proposal that specified why an iPad would not work for their chosen presentation format.

Student Laptop request:
"We feel that it is absolutely necessary that we are given the privilege to use a laptop. This will definitely enhance our final product, providing a more enlightening and realistic video.

Our topic is the Revolutionary War. Our goal is to create a common craft/iMovie to teach others about our event. There are specific things that we need in iMovie that are only on a laptop. Settings like transitions, text, music, and quality sound/video footage is limited on an iPad. We would like to create the illusion that we are going back in time, via time machine. There are opportunities on a laptop to enhance this illusion, making it more realistic. Without the laptop, our final product would lack the "wow factor" and it would seem more fake.

Thank-you very much for your time. I hope you consider this possibility, as it will enrich others understanding and provide a more intriguing, absorbing, and compelling media representation."

Student response when asked why they chose an iPad over a laptop:
“We wanted to use the iPads because we felt it unnecessary to use the
laptop. Especially for the visual we were creating, the iPad made more
sense to use. We wanted to spend more time working than creating a
proposal as well. We thought that even if we had the laptop, we could
create something of the same standard with an iPad.”

“Some of the benefits of using the iPad was how portable it was
Also, as we were creating a common craft, we had to videotape the floor, which would have be every difficult with a laptop.”

“Some of the disadvantages of using the iPads were that it was very hard to
edit the video without the final product being choppy. It was also
hard to share the video with other members of the group because the
iPad has a limit on how large an item can be to email it.”

How was the iPad a good tool to demonstrate your understanding?
• Pictures and video were very easy to take. Especially for a Common Craft
• Keynote on the iPad allowed us to do pretty much the same thing
• All the research could be completed on the iPad
• The proposal and our scripts could be done on the Pages App

Other comments about the struggles with iPads for this assignment:
• iPads can make editing difficult.
• It is really hard to send and share longer movies.
• No Flash or ability to create games (like Mindcraft)
• Photoshop and other apps (iMovie, Keynote) can be limiting
• Hard to find a space we could all put information on. Google doc wasn’t letting us all share on it

Overall class response to this assignment. What did you like most about this unit?
• Discussing the events with my classmates and creating the timelines.
• I liked the freedom to choose how I presented.
• Let me be creative.
• Instead being taught the information, we got to learn it and then teach it.
• Allowed me to take my research and apply it in an interesting way

What challenges did you face?
• Coming to a consensus over the most significant events during our discussions
• Making sure everyone did their fair share on the final project

1 comment:

Garry McKinnon said...

Jody, I enjoyed reading your blog highlighting the involvement of your students in making meaning of historical events in a very important time in Canadian history. I appreciated the background information relating to what you have been doing with your students in studying pre-Confederation historical events and your description of the assigned task. It was interesting as well, to read the insightful student comments relating to the use of the iPad2 rather than a laptop. The student exemplar highlighting the presentation of two of your students was very well done. Your students effectively made meaning of important historical events and told the story of the War of Independence in an engaging manner. They shared some great insights relating to the modern-day impact of the war. Your students demonstrated the effective use of the iPad2 to present information, tell a story and demonstrate deep understanding of significant events in our history.

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