Are you aware that we are in the middle of making history?
It is March of 2020. We are living through a pandemic of global scale. The COVID-19 virus has put citizens in social distancing, physical isolation, and quarantine. It has from one day to another separated families, closed country borders, limited or ended air travel from one area of the world to another….
and no this is not the introductory paragraph of the next utopian novel to be made into a movie in a few years… this is our new reality!
On the educational forefront, schools around the globe have closed and are in crisis mode to continue to teach and learn with their students from a distance. Everyone is confined to their homes for now: children, parents, teachers and administrators. While many are struggling with this new reality on a logistical level (how do we make sure our students have devices and accessibility to connect online, are capable of using tools and platforms), we cannot forget that the struggle is affecting many more levels: personal finances, health, and all of our socio-emotional well being.
We are in the midst of history in the making! We are in a moment in time, that is unprecedented. No one has ever experienced such a crisis on a global scale with so many consequences in all areas of our lives.
We are living history! This is a unique opportunity. Let’s be the historians of our families, our schools, our region, our countries, our world! Let’s be the historians of how teaching and learning is evolving.
We (all of us!) can document, organize, connect, archive, and make our collective experiences available and shareable. Not only as an exercise of reflection, but also to capture our voices and experiences for our children and grandchildren and future world history books. What and how will we pass on what happened in 2020? What do future generations will need to know how we experienced, handled, adapted, and ultimately evolved and overcame this crisis that disrupted our lives and educational system?
I am suggesting using something like the following questions for inspiration to document living history through the perspective of education and your individual experiences as a human. Let’s all add our perspective, let’s also help our youngest and oldest ones to share their voice in some shape or form.
Look for things to document. Look for learning.
- What is worth documenting?
- What would be interesting for future generations to know about our daily lives during the COVID-19 virus pandemic?
- What could future generations learn from us? How can they learn from our mistakes?
- What are you noticing in your everyday life?
- What are the changes?
- What skills do you have that help you cope with the new reality?
- What skills do you wish you had to help you cope with the new reality?
- What do we want to learn about learning?
- What do we want to share about our lives?
- How do you communicate with others? How are you collaborating with others? How are you connecting with others? How are you being creative?
Capture your own primary sources of history.
- What would you want to capture in order for your children and grandchildren to have evidence of?
- What would you want to capture as part of a global action research of new (remote) forms of teaching and learning?
- How will you archive and organize artifacts of evidence of learning?
- Record confession style videos about:
How you are feeling? What are your fears? What makes you happy? What are you occupying yourself with during your waking hours?How do you feel about learning from home without being able to meet your teacher, students and classmates? How do you stay (or feel) connected to your teacher, students, and classmates?
Make sure you record over a period of time to be able to capture changes in your thinking.
- Interview and film your parents, siblings or other family members or friends via video conferencing about their experience of home teaching and learning, isolation, and quarantine
- Take photos of your everyday activities and environment.
- Take a photo how your learning space at home looks like.
- Write a journal, post to a blog or your preferred social media platform.
- Write short repeated snippets of text or write longer essay types.
- Record audio to capture you voice sharing your impressions, news, interpretation of what is happening in the world.
- Draw a picture or illustration of your environment. Where do you teach your students from home? Where do you learn best?
- Create a sketchnote of your daily routine.
Reflect on your day, experiences, learning, news, changes, etc.
- How have things in your everyday life changed? What has stayed the same?
- What surprises you as history is unfolding in front of our eyes?
- How are things changing, the longer the quarantine is in place?
- What do you wonder about?
- What is becoming more important to you in your life, in education (in “doing school”)? What is less important?
- Reflect on your learning skills? What are you comfortable with? What type of learning makes you uncomfortable?
- What is not necessarily better or worse in teaching and learning, but what is different?
Share your learning, experiences, reflections of this moment in history.
- How will you make your documentation (if in analog form) shareable?
- What platform will lend itself best to share your documentation?
- What hashtags are best to use on different platforms to connect to and share with a specific audience?
- How will you share with family, friends, and people you have not met in person?
Amplify beyond your own walls
- How do you connect with others, who might be able to share your documentation with a larger audience?
- How can you see your documentation as part of a larger world history documentation? How do you connect your documentation to others?
- How can you see your documentation as one perspective of many, as one puzzle piece of a larger picture? How do you add your documentation to others?
- How can you see your documentation as one moment in time in a long timeline of world history. How do you make your voice heard in this moment in time and in the future?
Further blog posts thinking about documenting and connecting history
In light of Anne Frank, maybe we can look at blogging, snapchatting or instagramming for learning from yet other angles:
- writing, even when you are in “hiding”, with an audience in mind
- writing as a form of “surviving” (on an emotional as well as physical level, when our time on this earth is over)
- importance of sharing one’s voice with the world… for the world to learn about our perspectives
- reflect, create, connect, publish and share
- documenting, even mundane (to us) situations, routines, thoughts, ideas (see Obvious to You, Amazing to Others by Derek Sivers)
- write about one’s experiences, accomplishments, ideas or taking photos of oneself (selfies) might/should not be seen as “bragging” or narcissistic, but as a way to document our lives, redefine what beauty means to us, NOT though the eyes of a middle man (ex. publishing company or an editor, or the more economically advantaged crust of society, nor the fashion magazines)
- we all know that history was written by the victors. What about the other side to the story? What about the experiences of the loser’s side? What about the voices of the silent ones, the forgotten ones, the less privileged ones? What is our morale responsibility of sharing our voices and experiences?
- the imperative to never forget
- our responsibility to pass on knowledge and teach future generations
- Telling Our Story: Stolpersteine- Stumbling Stones by Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano
- Coronavirus Student Journal by Penny Christensen