Reflecting on 427

What a class this has been! In all honesty, it was not my first choice for my second senior seminar, but I knew from the very first class that my “backup” was the right course for me. I have learned so much over this semester and I can genuinely say that each class session has been a pleasure to participate in. I don’t know if the small class size was just due to Covid-19 limitations, but I feel that it was perfect for the types of conversations we were having. This is one of the only classes I have taken in which I felt like everyone had a voice in the discussions and no one was a domineering force.

One of the things I loved most about the class is that our discussions almost never went in the direction that I imagined them going in; we would start talking about one topic and end up delving into this broad range of sociocultural issues that I would have expected from perhaps a sociology or American Studies course, but not one about technology and information. Because of those diversions, I ended up getting so much more out of the class than I would have guessed by looking at the syllabus topics.

I came into this class apprehensive about the digital component, and while I still don’t consider myself to be all that tech savvy, I am definitely more confident in my digital literacy. I even incorporated a Timeline JS project into one of my lesson plans for my Teaching of History and Social Sciences class! I’ve been writing lesson plans for about 3 years now, but until this class I have never felt comfortable incorporating a digital component of that magnitude. Using technology like Timeline JS is something that I now absolutely want to and feel comfortable doing with my future students. I love that the multi- and interdisciplinary nature of this course has allowed me to use my skills gained in 427 in other aspects of my education and life.

As someone who will be entering the teaching field very soon, I can say that this class has gone beyond the content of the syllabus and taught me a lot about teaching itself. Letting us create the syllabus was such a unique experience (I told one of my education classes all about it!), so from the jump I knew this class would be different than others I have taken so far in my undergrad career. I won’t jump down the rabbit hole of discussing pedagogy, but the way I was able to see the teaching theories I have learned about played out in our classroom has been an amazing experience. The feeling that I, and I am sure my classmates as well, had about being able to take control of our learning is what I aspire to encourage in my own future classroom.

If anyone is interested in seeing my unit plan with Timeline JS, here is a link! Perhaps my fellow social studies education people will find it useful.