Librarians Love Us!

Time for a little not-so-humble brag. As readers know, dear ol’ Eduflack is incredibly proud of my work in transforming the teaching and Learning of American history. I believe this work is essential to both a stronger education snd a stronger society. It’s why I have spent so much time developing the Untold History initiative. And it’s why I launched the Driving Force Institute.

This week, the American Association of School Librarians announced its list of Top Digital Tools. This is an important list, particularly when we consider how just about anyone who is anyone in education was providing digital tools during the last Covid school year.

And Untold History was on that list! I am incredibly proud of what Makematic and I have been able to do here. And I am beyond honored that we have been able to partner with organizations such as the New York Historical Society, American Battlefield Trust, Kentucky Valley Educational Collective, iCivics, and many others to create these important digital tools.

Thank you to all of those who have made this work possible. We are having real impact as we dare mighty things.

Untold History, Right from the Student Lens

If the past few years (or even just months) have taught us anything, it is how important it is that we all know our history … and how boring and irrelevant history education can be for high school students today.

The Driving Force Institute launched its Untold History initiative to change that narrative. Untold has focused on making history interesting and relevant for today’s learners, telling the stories of those events, people, places, and artifacts that are essential, but often overlooked.

To supplement this work, this week we launch the Untold Pitch Competition. Over the past six months, we have been reaching out to students, asking them to develop their own videos on the moments in history that mean the most to them. Those submissions are now in, and we are sharing the finalists … seeking your vote for some of the top videos.

Check out the full competition here – https://makematic.com/blog/the-untold-pitch-competition/

Watch the videos! Share the Pitch! Cast your vote!

Effectively Reaching Young People

The simple answer is … there is no silver bullet for reaching today’s youth. If there was, every Fortune 500 company would turn to it to boost sales, every college and university would use it to increase applications and enrollment, and every non-profit and advocacy group would implement it to increase volunteerism and activism.

No, the answer is far more complex than one-stop shopping or a magical fix-all elixir. To effectively reach young people, PR people need to apply a formula built on respect, understanding, and integrated communications.

From Eduflack’s latest over at Medium

Do We Want Schools Monitoring Student Speech Outside the Classroom?

We regularly hear about how school districts are closely monitoring what their students say and what they do. It makes sense, after all, as our schools want to make sure they are providing a safe, open learning environment for all.

But does such responsibility extend beyond the classroom? A new SCOTUS case will soon examine that very question, as the court looks at whether a school can punish a student for what she says on social media from her own bedroom.

We discuss the topic over on the Soul of Education program for the BAM! Radio Network. Give it a listen here!

Teaching in a Post-Insurrection World

Following the 2020 election and the riot on Capitol Hill on January 6, is it prudent to teach current events in today’s social studies classes? Or is it safer to stay away from the the realities of modern history?

Today, I spent nearly an hour with Larry Jacobs and the American Consortium for Equity in Education, discussing this and other topics related to improving the teaching and learning of American history.

Give it a listen here: https://ace-ed.org/teaching-history-and-civics-in-a-post-insurrection-world/

Happy listening!

Making What is “Boring” Interesting Again

“If as an adult the lesson makes you a little nervous, content-wise, then it has the potential to connect with learners. The best thing the Driving Force Institute is doing is using provocative videos that have students asking why they hadn’t learned it before and what else have they not been taught.”

From a Twinkl exploration on how make unpopular academic subjects more exciting, discussing Eduflack’s Untold History initiative

Changing How We Teach History

This week, dear ol’ Eduflack was fortunate enough to join Larry Jacobs on Education Talk Radio to discuss how we can improve the teaching and learning of American history.

We talked about the need to be provocative, to better relate to young people, and to embrace discussions of current conflicts and issues in order to better connect to the past.

You can give the full half-hour program a listen here – https://ace-ed.org/on-changing-the-way-we-teach-history-and-government/

The End of a Cheer Era

“From day one, I was welcomed, with open arms, into the sorority of cheer coaching. While I knew nothing, I was willing to learn. While I could do little at first, I was willing to put in the hours. While I was getting skeptical looks from cheer moms and football-coaching dads, I was doing it for my daughter and her friends. And from the start, I did so with the blessing and support of my fellow coaches.”

From my latest at Medium, where I reflect in the end of my “career” as a competition cheer coach

Yes, America, We Are Suffering from Learning Loss

How do we make up the “lag” for special education students, struggling learners who have experienced years of growing lags that were only being addressed by IEPs and 504s that took years to win? How is the latest lag addressed as school districts suspend many of those IDEA-protected rights because of virtual school, the very rights fought for because of school district failures to address other learning losses?

How do we make up the learning “lag” for English language learners who are now isolated in a plastic bubble in the classroom or in their own kitchens at home? How do we make it up for the 14 percent of k-12 students who do not have internet access at home? Or for those who lack the hardware to join virtual classes? Or even for those who lack the motivation to study in a virtual or hybrid environment when social engagement and interaction is essential to their academic development?

From dear ol’ Eduflack’s latest for Project Forever Free (which has been reposted on New Jersey Left Behind.

The full piece can be found here: https://projectforeverfree.org/call-it-like-it-is-we-are-experiencing-learning-loss/