I am pleased to feature Mr. Rob Parkin, a member of the BHS Social Studies Department, as our Teacher Profile for the month of January. Mr. Parkin teaches U.S. History- Early American History and Contemporary American History- as well as International Studies. Mr. Parkin offers his students challenging, project-based learning opportunities. He frequently integrates a variety of technology tools into the curriculum and leverages the iPad to give his students voice and choice. Some of the applications Mr. Parkin encourages his students to use include Notability, Google Docs, Sheets, Slides, iMovie, Adobe Voice, and YouTube.
Mr. Parkin is a heavy user of Google Classroom and uses it to streamline and organize the distribution and collection of homework and assignments. He employs a blended learning approach to instruction by engaging his students in meaningful online discussions. In addition to Classroom, Mr. Parkin has a fantastic blog. His blog is used not only to communicate with students, but parents can also stay up to date with all that is happening in “Parkin’s Class” through subscribing to the blog. Each day, Mr. Parkin begins a new blog post with an essential question for the unit along with corresponding themes. Learning activities are outlined in the blog and students are provided with links to videos, primary sources, documents, and any other materials they may need to achieve the goals and objectives of the unit. Teachers who are looking for examples of effective classroom blogs should definitely check out what Mr. Parkin has created for his students.
Mr. Parkin believes in the power of collaboration and giving students control over their learning. A specific example of this is the way he uses Google docs for collaborative writing. In each of his courses, he uses a master Google doc as a collaborative notebook. Students rotate monthly to contribute to the notebook. This is an excellent resource for students who are absent and it also serves as a comprehensive study guide for exam preparation. The collaborative approach to note taking provides students with a sense of ownership over their learning. Students have the freedom to choose which notes to include as part of the class notebook. This is just one of the many examples of the technology Mr. Parkin uses to engage his students in their learning. The video below highlights Mr. Parkin’s thoughts about using technology in the classroom, including his approach to project based and blended learning, and provides you with a glimpse of what it’s like to be in “Parkin’s class!”
If you have questions for Mr. Parkin and want to add him to your professional learning network, connect with him via Twitter at @rparkinghistory.