THE HISTORICAL PUZZLE OF THE ARAB-ISRAELI CONFLICT
RATIONALE AND OVERVIEW
Giving students the opportunity to engage with global history is allowing them the chance to solve their future. In order to help them move from a set of abstract historical circumstances to the possibilities of concrete solutions to current global crises has to be the end goal of teaching global history today. One of the most complex political and social events of our time is the Arab-Israeli Conflict. A thorough understanding of the underpinnings of this includes an analysis of approximately two thousand years of history.
The necessity of an understanding of ten separately sequenced lessons, the terminology, and conceptual complexities of this content makes it imperative for instructors to allow for student investigation, interaction, and collaboration. This truly will allow the students to "do" history. In asking the students to engage in a community of inquiry, instructors allow students the opportunity to access their cognitive presence, social presence, and teaching presence. Citing Randy Garrison et al., Ross McKerlich and Terry Anderson state that:
Cognitive presence can be defined as the extent to which meaning can be constructed by sustained communication within a group of people (11). Social presence is defined as the “ability to project their personal characteristics into a community thereby presenting themselves as real people to others in the group” (11). Teaching presence involves design of the educational experience and facilitation of discourse among the group (11). The underlying construct of the community of inquiry is that the optimal educational experience lies in the vortex of all three educational elements.
Although the ideal model of immersion through the use of Multi-User Virtual Environments, such as Second Life or River City, The Historical Puzzle of The Arab-Israeli Conflict is a community of inquiry which addresses these three essential elements within the framework of the more accessible medium of Blogging.
Unit one within this instructional case report, Blogorama, is intended to lay the roots for the cognitive process of Blogging which will drive the “construction of sustained communication” (11) within the classroom. Unit two, The Arab-Israeli Conflict, is a collaborative effort among the students to investigate the content of this subject. Unit three, The Solution, is an effort to allow students the ability to synthesize the material and create new knowledge which leads to meaningful solutions for this global event.
The Historical Puzzle of the Arab-Israeli Conflict may be used by instructors as a complete unit of study, or it may be adapted to any content unit in order to engage students in an arena which will maximize their acquisition of meaningful knowledge. The processes within the structure of this instructional case report are intended to provide a sequenced experience for the learner. First, Unit One provides an introduction to the use of a new medium, Blogging. Next, Unit Two introduces the cognitive process of using an APPARTS worksheet in order to assess the validity and viewpoint of a document, video, reading, or any other medium which will be investigated during the investigation of each subtopic. Last, Unit Three provides the means to assess student performance of the learning objective of the entire mini-unit through the process of using graphic organizers in order to synthesize their ideas into a solution for the Arab-Israeli Conflict.
In a practical sense, this instructional case report serves two purposes. First, Unit One provides the lesson plans for two sequenced lessons about targeting the use of Blogging. Although there are links provided, it is intended to be adapted by the teacher alone. Unit Two, however, serves the dual purpose of providing the instructor with two lesson plans for the facilitation of the unit as well as a guiding puzzling activity which can be used directly by students. Unit Three provides lesson plans, to be used by the instructor, which provide a source of performance assessment.
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