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Technology Enhances History at Lansing Christian

Fourth grade students learned history by incorporating themselves into important events.

Lansing Christian students using a green screen

The fourth grade students at Lansing Christian in Lansing, Illinois, learned history by incorporating themselves into important events through the use of technology. Janna Boice’s class was studying US history from Columbus through 9/11. “I chose five events from history as our core focus, and the groups selected which event they wanted to broadcast from,” said Boice. “Then we did mock broadcasts from these various points in history.”

The 24 students worked in groups, with each group selecting an event and assigning roles to each team member. They wrote scripts that followed a rubric prepared by Boice and put the scripts on cue cards, which Boice held during filming. Then students filmed their broadcasts against a green screen, adding an appropriate background. “We didn't go into too much detail with the special effects, as this was our first time, but the students really enjoyed choosing their backgrounds for the green screen,” said Boice. “I loved seeing the joy on the students’ faces as we watched the broadcasts. They are so proud of their work.”

Students chose to do broadcasts from the Columbian exchange, the American Revolution, the Civil War, the Great Depression, and the civil rights movement. “I incorporate our Christian perspective on history with each event we study. We take a look at what happened in our country's past and recognize the successes, but we also consider some things that could have been done differently,” said Boice. “We talk about how it's important that we stand for what is right in all circumstances and be a light in the darkness.”

Boice thought the project allowed students to understand the impact the events have had on the United States and gave them an appreciation of what it was like to be there. The students also saw “the power of technology in our society and the incredible things they can accomplish with it,” said Boice. “I think quite a few of them saw this as a potential goal or career path they might be interested in.”

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