Cuneiform and the Epic of Gilgamesh

I know we don’t have time to formally look at the Epic of Gilgamesh in Social Studies 3219, which is primarily a history course, but here are a couple of videos for those interested in looking a little beyond the textbook. Both tell the story of Gilgamesh (a great hero king of Uruk in Mesopotamia), but the second also includes a bit on the development of writing and cuneiform script in ancient Sumer. Super cool!

Inquiry-Based Learning Research Paper

As the final piece of my graduate work in education at Memorial University, I had to complete a major research paper on a topic of my choice. Being a teacher interested in student exploration of knowledge, I chose to focus on Inquiry-Based Learning (IBL) in high school social studies. The research work sought to explore the nature of IBL and its implementation in classrooms or schools where standardized methods have a considerable foothold (some elements of this can easily be seen many schools in Newfoundland and Labrador), and to provide some framework or strategies that may help teachers increase the amount of inquiry their students do.

In order to help disseminate the research, I’ve added a section to this website (under the menu) that deals with this topic – it includes a short introduction to the paper and some summary points on the research (characteristics of Standardized Education and IBL, benefits of IBL, the roles of teacher and student in this learning model, as well as a section dealing with incorporating IBL work in the classroom). You can also find a PDF of the paper at the end, for those interested in reading it. If you’re super keen, you can go right to the paper here.

Changes to website

Up until now, I have been using a different website (weebly) for information specific to my classes, while using this one for other educational pursuits. Starting this summer, I will be moving my class site here to help keep everything together in one place. I will keep a similar layout with a page for each course I teach, which will have an announcements section and place for class documents (notes, study guides, and other relevant materials). Essentially, I will be adding a menu that allows access to a page for each course. This will be simpler for me to maintain and make sharing of resources and materials with students and other teachers easier as well.

WordPress is a powerful hosting site in terms of my own web-based needs, and since I already pay for this domain, it only makes sense to get the most out of it for all my education related postings. I will continue to blog periodically about my thoughts on education and inquiry-based learning (more on this later). I’ve also recently begun cycling, so who knows I may post a little bit about that from time to time.

Anyway, the course part of the site is very much under construction and really won’t be populated with course materials until late this summer as a new school year begins. Any thoughts or suggestions on this would be appreciated, so drop me an email or tweet if you feel so inclined.