WSCSS Fall In-Service Keynote Ellen Siminoff


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  • Who is this arm waving at you from behind the podium? Yes, I’m short. My Princeton application essay was about why being short is an advantage in life. Cross-currents is such an important theme in social studies and in life Let me start by telling you about the cross-current I’ve been lucky enough to experience in my career
  • During Business School, my future husband and I went off to Eastern Europe to start a business
  • We acquired american programming rights from the US and traded them for tv commercial ad time in Eastern Europe and then sold the ad inventory back in the United States in a complex set of trading arrangements.
  • Yes, we helped bring Western Cultural gems like future Gov Schwarzenneger and Care Bears to the culture-starved Eastern Block
  • I was fortunate to have been born at the right time - graduated Stanford Business School in 1993. Luck and timing really can be your best friends. I ended up at the LA Times working in ‘strategic planning’ which, back then, was really mostly about figuring out this new thing called ‘the internet’ and what it meant to the newspaper industry.
  • You could fit all of the employees in a small room
  • I never knew about The Columbian Exchange before Shmoop, now I think it’s one of the most fascinating phenomena in American History It's a relatively obscure concept, developed by Alfred Crosbby (UT Austin emeritus) As we explain it on Shmoop … “Most people have never even heard of it. Its definition—the transmission of non-native plants, animals, and diseases from Europe to the Americas, and vice versa, after 1492—doesn't sound very sexy. And yet the Columbian Exchange just may be the single most important event in the modern history of the world. Why is this like the Internet Revolution? Couldn’t have predicted Nobody knew what direction it was going It impacts everything… Columbian Exchange made tremendous positive contributions (mostly to Europeans) Europe’s population exploded in part because peasants could eat corn Horses came to North America, which allowed the (Koh-man-chee) Comanche poeople to coalesce as a group
  • And had some unexpected devastating consequences that changed the course of history Smallpox devastated the native population in the Americas Estimated population of Europe in 1492: about 60 million Estimated population of the Americas in 1492: 40-100 million Estimated population of Europe in 1800: 150 million Estimated population of the Americas in 1800: 25 million (the vast majority of whom were of European or African descent)
  • Our students today don’t remember life before the Internet. They are a very new breed that was truly born of the Internet Revolution The key question for all of us, then is how to steer them when none of us really know where this revolution will lead, how it fundamentally changes the way our students think and perceive the world, and how it will shape the society and workforce that they’ll enter years from now. we need to help students find the corn & horses and avoid the smallpox
  • I own this shirt, by the way. (Google it if you’re interested)
  • Some argue that the Internet rewires brains – Author Nicholas Carr argues that even if people get better at hopping from page to page, they will still lose their abilities to employ a "slower, more contemplative mode of thought." He says research shows that as people get better at multitasking, they "become less creative in their thinking."
  • This is your student doing homework
  • Study cited on NPR – how people who grow up with the Internet think differently
  • A big question for educators: how do we help today’s students use their uncanny abilities to draw connections to get a more complete and nuanced understanding of the big picture? How do we help them find the corn & horses?
  • sourcing used to be really difficult. Now its easy to go back to the source and see if you agree with how Shmoop (or other publishers) use the data (this is a really cool site – The Valley of the Shadow from Univ Virgnia…. primary sources - soldier letters, tax records, maps, newspaper – from civil war era
  • I’ll take you on a quick tour to demonstrate how a wealth of cross-disciplinary resources are available within just a few clicks This is Shmoop’s analysis of the 1920s era.
  • We don’t claim to have all of the answers, so we have a section in each of our Learning Gudies called Best of the Web We curate links to websites, primary sources, multimedia, phoots, music, and art.
  • NY Times coverage of the Great Crash
  • Economic analysis of the Great Crash – from the Economic History Association. Analysis by Gene Smiley economist from Marquette Univ
  • A Shmoop classroom activity – image analysis of Gibson Girls versus Flappers In what ways is the flapper more liberated? In what ways is the flapper less objectified/sexualized? Does that mean that the flapper was less sexually independent than the Gibson Girl? How would you explain the relationship between style and behavior? Who do you think constructed these contrasting definitions of beauty?
  • Top 100 Silent Era Films – get synopsis and vote Top 3: The General Metropolis Sunrise
  • Audio of Langston Hughes reciting “I, too, Sing America” Poem starts at 0:39
  • Video: how to do the Charleston
  • Cross-disciplinary jumping-off points…into literature, poetry, music… The Great Gatsby, Sun Also Rises, Harlem Renaissance, Jazz
  • Augmented reality – think of it as having Google Earth with historical notes
  • Columbian Exchange: Q: Which of the following did not exist in Europe before 1492 -- tomatoes, potatoes, corn, strawberries, or chocolate? A: None of those things existed in Europe before 1492. Q: In 1515, how many European cities had populations larger than the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan? A: None Non-Columbian Exchange: Q: On the eve of the American Revolution, rum accounted for what percentage of New England's exports? A: About 80% Q: Who was the oldest delegate at the Constitutional Convention? A: Ben Franklin Bonus Q: How old was he? A: 81
  • Q: Who was the last US President to have no college education? A: Harry S Truman Q: What did the "S" in Harry S Truman stand for? A: Nothing Q: In 1850, what percentage of California's population was male? A: 92 percent Q: What was Ernest Hemingway's favorite store for buying clothes and hunting gear? A: Abercrombie & Fitch
  • WSCSS Fall In-Service Keynote Ellen Siminoff

    1. 1. Cross-Currents of Online Learning Ellen Siminoff President & CEO, Shmoop Oct. 9, 2010 Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    2. 2. My Window Seat to the Media & Technology Revolution
    3. 3. The World Was Changing Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    4. 4. The Newly Liberated Masses Were Hungry… Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    5. 5. I Fell in Love with Business and Media (Dad Forgave Me... Eventually.) Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    6. 6. Media Was About to Change Drastically. But Nobody Really Knew “How” Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential Dec 21, 1996
    7. 7. I Joined Yahoo! in 1995 Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    8. 8. Now, I’m Taking Part in the Nascent Digital Education Revolution Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    9. 9. The Internet Revolution, Your Students & the Columbian Exchange
    10. 10. Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    11. 11. Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    12. 12. <ul><li>How do we guide students through the Internet Revolution? Help them find the corn and horses… and avoid the smallpox </li></ul>
    13. 13. Avoid the Smallpox of the Internet Revolution
    14. 14. Unreliable Sources Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    15. 15. Polarization of Discourse Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    16. 16. Taking things at Face Value Rather than Digging Deeper Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    17. 17. Disappearance of Privacy <ul><li>69% of teens freely divulged their physical location </li></ul><ul><li>28% percent chatted with strangers. </li></ul><ul><li>Of those who chatted with strangers </li></ul><ul><ul><li>43% shared their first name </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>24% shared their e-mail address </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>18% posted photos of themselves </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>12% posted their cell phone number </li></ul></ul>Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential Source: Harris Interactive
    18. 18. Internet ADD Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    19. 19. Of Course, We’ve Heard this Kind of Technophobia Before <ul><li>“ In the “Phaedrus,” Socrates lamented the invention of books , which “create forgetfulness” in the soul . Instead of remembering for themselves, Socrates warned, new readers were blindly trusting in “external written characters.” The library was ruining the mind .” </li></ul><ul><li>– NY Times review panning Nicholas Carr’s book </li></ul>Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    20. 20. Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    21. 21. Internet ADD & Your Students <ul><li>Smallpox </li></ul><ul><li>Shorter attention span </li></ul><ul><li>May have trouble going deep on a specific topic </li></ul><ul><li>Image: a kid with multiple computers, tv, etc. open </li></ul><ul><li>Cite the study/book so teachers can look it up </li></ul><ul><li>Corn, Horses </li></ul><ul><li>Parallel processing </li></ul><ul><li>Take in enormous amounts of data </li></ul><ul><li>Drawing connections </li></ul><ul><li>You really can go deeper </li></ul><ul><li>Think non-linearly </li></ul><ul><li>Cost-savings: textbooks don’t have to be a monopoly </li></ul>Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    22. 22. Learning Needs are Shifting <ul><li>20 th Century </li></ul><ul><li>Access to Information </li></ul><ul><li>21 st Century </li></ul><ul><li>Finding good information </li></ul><ul><li>Drawing connections between disparate data, disciplines, and content </li></ul><ul><li>Today’s students need help learning how to filter out the noise </li></ul>Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    23. 23. Help Students Find the Corn & Horses of the Internet Revolution
    24. 24. The Internet Breeds Cross-Current Thinking
    25. 25. Connecting Primary & Secondary Sources Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    26. 26. Non-Linear Exploration, Connections & Discovery Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    27. 27. “ Shmoop” (v., Yiddish slang): To give a nudge in the right direction
    28. 28. Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    29. 29. Shmoop 1920s BOTW Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    30. 30. Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    31. 31. <ul><ul><li>Economic analysis of the Great Crash </li></ul></ul>Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    32. 32. <ul><ul><li>Image Analysis: Gibson Girls versus the Flappers </li></ul></ul>Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    33. 33. Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    34. 34. Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    35. 35. Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    36. 36. Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    37. 37. Mobile Devices: The New Frontier Corn. Horses. You Know the Drill.
    38. 38. Mobile <ul><li>Smallpox </li></ul><ul><ul><li>Communication even more truncated </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Cheating </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Distraction </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Corn, Horses </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Always accessible </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Geo-based </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Access to a huge amount of content </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Vastly more computing power in your pocket than 5 years ago </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Easy sharing </li></ul></ul><ul><ul><li>Competition / Games </li></ul></ul>Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    39. 39. Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    40. 40. We Love Your Brain on Shmocial Studies Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential
    41. 41. Trivia Time
    42. 42. For a Shirt! Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential Which of the following did not exist in Europe before 1492 -- tomatoes, potatoes, corn, strawberries, or chocolate? In 1515, how many European cities had populations larger than the Aztec capital of Tenochtitlan? On the eve of the American Revolution, rum accounted for what percentage of New England's exports? Who was the oldest delegate at the Constitutional Convention?
    43. 43. More Shirtage Shmoop University, Inc. Confidential Who was the last US President to have no college education? What did the &quot;S&quot; in Harry S Truman stand for? In 1850, what percentage of California's population was male? What was Ernest Hemingway's favorite store for buying clothes and hunting gear?
    44. 44. <ul><li>Link to Us: </li></ul><ul><li>Follow Us on Twitter: @shmoop </li></ul><ul><li>Ellen Siminoff – [email_address] </li></ul><ul><li>We’ll Stick Around for a Bit (Look for Brady in the Shmoop Shirt) </li></ul>© 2010, Shmoop University, Inc.