WorldView Software and Canvas®

We are very pleased to announce that WorldView Software has been fully integrated with Canvas® from Instructure, Inc.!  Canvas® is an easy-to-use, cloud-based learning management system (LMS) that connects all the digital tools and resources teachers use into one simple place.

Use your Canvas® account to access our award-winning apps:

A screenshot of WorldView Software’s American History II program within the Canvas teacher’s edition.

You can now find us through the EduAppCenter, which is maintained by Canvas®.  We are also accessible from within Canvas® as an external app.  A consumer key and sharedsecret (password) are required for access.

Canvas® is the fastest-growing open online learning management system (LMS) in K-12 — it’s even been selected by North Carolina’s Department of Public Instruction as a tool teachers throughout the state can use to collaborate. If you’re in NC, our programs World History A & B, American History I & II, and U.S. Government with Economics are fully correlated to state standards and have been approved for use as both textbooks and supplements.

Canvas® LMS + WorldView content = learning!

BulbgraphOnOffArt images are a great way to introduce units: use them to generate questions on all sorts of topics!

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Resource Highlight: the Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History

Time travel using art with the Heilbrunn Timeline of Art History at the Metropolitan Museum of Art: essays, art images and objects, and chronologies that use the Met’s fabulous collection to delve into the contexts that made the art possible.  For example, the featured image is “Bowl with Human Feet” and it is thousands of years old.

Period: Predynastic, Late Naqada l–Naqada II
Date: ca. 3900–3650 B.C.
Geography: From Egypt
Medium: Polished red pottery
Dimensions: diam. 13.2 x W. 13.7 x D. 9.8 cm (5 3/16 x 5 3/8 x 3 7/8 in.)
Credit Line: Rogers Fund, 1910
Accession Number: 10.176.113

Timeline situating the art in context.
Timeline situating the bowl in context.

The timelines have annotated entries that give more information about the society that produced the art.  (There are also links to publications and slideshows from the Met that feature the image or object.)  More generally, the essays cover topics as diverse as African Lost-Wax Casting through Great Plains Indians Musical Instruments to the Yuan Dynasty (1271-1368).

How would your students explain today’s artworks?

Resource Highlight: Internet History Sourcebooks

Need primary sources? You can find a really diverse set of texts at the Internet History Sourcebooks Project at Fordham University, edited by Paul Halsall.

The collection is organized by time period: ancient, medieval, and modern; and by thematic unit: African history, East Asian history, global history, Indian history, Islamic history, Jewish history, history of science, women’s history, and LGBTQ history.  (Note that some of the material on this site is under copyright and used by permission, so check before using it in your own materials.)

You can find everything from translations from the world’s first known author, Enheduana, daughter of Sargon, ruler of Akkadia to Lou Gehrig’s farewell speech to baseball.

Resource Highlight: NYPL Map Warper

Nifty way to time travel using maps: use the Map Warper from the New York Public Library!

The featured image shows the location of WorldView Software’s offices in Nassau County, New York as they appeared in 1779 (on a map titled “A chorographical map of the province of New-York in North America, divided into counties, manors, patents and townships : exhibiting likewise all the private grants of land made and located in that Province“) and blended with a map from today.  Big difference!

You can play with maps going back to 1544, browse by location and layer, maps that have already been rectified or do it yourself, and you can play with the transparency (ours is at 60%).   What does your area look like?

Tuesday #EdTech Round-up

To give everyone a break from election-related news, here are some interesting #edtech things from around the web:

  • Using virtual reality to revisit the scene of Nagasaki post-atomic bomb: with the help of archival photos, Nagasaki University created a 3D model of the city that allows schoolchildren to explore a radius of about 500 yards around the bomb’s epicenter;
  • a lesson plan for coding an interactive map using Scratch from Ryan Smith on Brian Aspinall’s site (this is specifically for a map of Canada, but is customizable);
  • reviews of social studies apps you can use for enrichment from Common Sense;
  • an optimistic article from C|Net on how good online-only high schools can be when everything is working as intended;
  • and on that note, for people implementing online studies, a list of thoughtful questions from the blog Seattle Education that anyone involved with schools should be asking about privacy, the value and goals of data-driven pedagogy, and technology-mediated education in general.

Back to the election. Remember to vote!


#EdTech Evolution, Not Revolution

There’s a reason WorldView Software has been in business for over three decades: technology changes, but people don’t.  Edtech, or technology use in schools — just as in every other area of life — has to work with how people learn.  Furthermore, transformation of such a bedrock institution generally requires the resources of a state, and all of those resources, not just money.

State governments shoulder the primary responsibility for public education in our society through their creations: local school districts.  In addition to the local taxes that pay for schools, states certify teachers, may require curricula (and even particular textbooks), and provide additional funding.  If a local school district goes too far around the bend, the state will step in.  Education is a huge, complex undertaking and has been for over a century.

It’s a little stunning how many other companies have spent hundreds of millions of dollars learning this the hard way.   A recent article by a professor at Columbia Business School in The Atlantic listed the roll of edtech companies that have gone belly-up:

  • Leapfrog
  • Knowledge Universe
  • Amplify (when it was part of News Corp)
  • Edison Schools
  • GlobalScholar
  • practically the entire universe of for-profit colleges

The article pins the failure of these companies on two factors in particular: inability to scale nationally or even globally (for example, daycare is inherently local) and being too-ambitious in scope (aiming to remake every aspect of education rather than pick something and focus):

The pursuit of high-minded ideals and the belief that the status quo is so bad that it can’t be hard to improve upon causes many investors to devalue execution—yet execution is particularly crucial to the survival of organizations that take on overly broad mandates…The greatest educational-business successes have come from a series of targeted, incremental steps forward within tightly defined markets.

It’s not about grandiose visions promising to create new societies, nor is it about how many bells and whistles you can cram in your software.  As an edtech business, WorldView Software’s focus is on creating and delivering the finest possible content in high school and middle school social studies.  Maybe that’s why we’ve been in business for 35 years!

BulbgraphOnOffWhen assigning overviews for your flipped classroom, use the “Questions for Thought” as a reflection activity.

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Social Studies and the Arts

One way to engage your students in social studies is to incorporate their own creativity.  The arts can provide a window into culture: a time period or a social movement can come alive.  To give just a few examples from WorldView programs:

  1. Project: Political Cartoons in American History I has students create their own image to illustrate an era
  2. Tutorial: Social Media in U.S. Government in part examines the history of protest songs
  3. Project: Art Appreciation in World History A explains how to examine the elements of a specific style of painting
  4. Art: W.P.A. Poster in Economics examines the role of art patronage (in this case, the federal government)

    Poster designed by J. Hirt
    Poster designed by J. Hirt

There are also good academic reasons to use the arts.  Music, long known to provide a path into mathematics, has recently been shown by neurobiologists to help students process sound and language.  Specifically, it was the action of making music themselves, not just listening to it, that mattered most for reading skills!

Using the arts with social studies is working together to help struggling students in schools in Bridgeport, Connecticut:

With such creative outlets, the teacher says, even children at the lowest level academically can feel successful. And then they’re more motivated when it comes to writing and answering questions – skills many of the students still need to develop.

Their associated skill increases are even more impressive given the resource-poor environment (Connecticut schools are known for their inequality.)  The author is careful to note, however, that “Whether arts integration delivers on its potential generally comes down to leadership and sustained effort.” (The story is from the new “EqualEd” section at The Christian Science Monitor.)

So with all that in mind, here are a few edtech resources for making your own works of art:

  • a list of free and open source music making programs from MusicRadar
  • a similar list for visual artists from EmptyEasel
  • a mix of free and paid software for visual artists
  • some ideas for more concrete (but still low budget) projects

If you know of other apps, let us know in the comments!

BulbgraphOnOffIn a flipped classroom, have students read the overview on their own, then go through the “Questions for Thought” in class as starting points for discussion.

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