TCI and Technology: Endless Possibilities for Student Engagement

About 25 years ago, my friend Bob predicted the e-book reader. One day we were having a spirited discussion about the future of books. Bob, a sales representative for a high-tech company, posited that the printed book would someday be available in electronic form. Coming from the perspective of an editor who had always developed print materials up to that point (and a fervent reader as well), I responded with the following rash declaration: “Books will always be printed on paper! Nothing will replace the printed book!” I backed my claim by telling him that people would always want a book they could take anywhere—portable, lightweight, and unplugged.

Bob held up a medium-size spiral bound notebook. “What if you had something this size?” he said. “The screen would display one page at a time. It would be portable and weigh something like this.” People will still want to turn the pages of a book, I countered. “OK,” he said. “How about if you just went like this”—he drew his finger across the corner of the notebook—“and that turned the page, just like you do with a printed book?” Hmmm, I said. Well, in THAT case, that would be pretty much the same experience of reading a printed book.

Fast-forward 25 years. With the advent of smart phones, the iPad and tablet technology, I have to admit that Bob was right. What’s more, I have to admit that his “e-book reader” has opened the door for those of us who create lessons at TCI to do some pretty amazing things.

TCI has always been dedicated to instruction that brings learning alive—that breaks away from a passive classroom experience. Now we have an electronic platform that marries technology with TCI teaching strategies. World Cultures Alive! Contemporary Studies, our newest program, combines TCI teaching strategies with our new Classroom Presentations to provide great content and student engagement. The lesson on economic development in Latin America is a great example. The Classroom Presentation tools allow students to graph economic data—they don’t just look at graphs, they use online tools to create them. Then they use that more meaningful experience to make generalizations about economic development in Latin American countries.

We’re in the process of creating a high school world history program, History Alive! World Connections. Our new technology tools will allow us to create lessons that help students understand interregional connections and world history themes by moving the study of world history beyond dates and names. Students will examine artifacts in online galleries. They’ll claim territory in Africa and Asia as they learn about imperialism. In short, technology is giving us endless possibilities for engaging kids and helping them discover information.

How would you like to see TCI use technology in our new world history program?