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Maine History Teacher Earns National Acclaim for Ed Tech

Orono High School history teacher Shana Goodall has used her IT background to integrate tech tools into the classroom, and has been recognized for how she has enlivened courses on world history, geography and politics.

(TNS) — For Orono High School history teacher Shana Goodall, teaching K-12 students is all about building future citizens. From teaching on the workings of the government to giving them the skills to vote and run for public office, Goodall is showing them there’s more to history than just dates.

Goodall’s efforts have been recognized by the Gilder Lehrman Institute of American History as she’s been named the 2019 Maine History Teacher of the Year.

“As a colleague and friend, Shana embodies everything about education that all teachers should strive for,” said Dave Hamel, a social studies teacher at Orono High School who nominated Goodall. “Teaching is not an 8-2 job for her, it goes way beyond that, and that’s why she is deserving of this award. If I could be half the teacher she is, I will have an amazing career.”

Goodall has worked at the high school for 16 years, teaching World History and Geography, Advanced Placement Human Geography, Advanced Placement United States Government and Politics, and different rotating electives.

To be considered for the award, Goodall had to present lesson plans, student activity plans and a written statement to a selection committee.

“It was a really nice experience to sit and think about what I do in terms of social studies, why I teach history, how I create activities, and engage students in their own learning,” Goodall said. “That was really cool to reflect on that.”

Coming from an IT background, Goodall tries to integrate technology as much as she can to make information more accessible to her students. She implements games in the classroom to keep students engaged instead of a lecture-based class, and has them read legal scholar opinions and Supreme Court decisions and analyses online.

However, she knows that technology based learning is not for everyone and offers alternatives for students who do not want to solely use a laptop.

“I really strive to make my classroom as technology rich and technology available as possible, but also give the students a choice,” Goodall said. “For me, a key tenet of my philosophy is that we all learn in different ways.”

Goodall also offers alternative seating arrangements so she can create a learning environment adaptable to students, and assigns individual and group work to help students with experiences they will come across outside school.

“I really want to encourage them to have a space and have an environment to learn in which replicates other experiences they’re going to have in life, where they’re going to have to work with colleagues or friends or family members on whatever project or experience they’re working on,” she said.

Goodall loves telling stories her students may never have heard of before such as the role of women in the Civil War, Japanese internment camps and Germans in Aroostook County in WWII. She said it helps them connect an issue that’s happening today such as immigration and how it relates to the past.

Goodall said it’s great that her students are so engaged in current events, and she doesn’t shy away from difficult topics even if it may bring polarizing opinions.

“You and I may not agree on an issue, and there are lots of them out there,” she said. “In the end, we might not agree with each other, but we can have that discussion.”

Although the technology, classes and the way she presents information in her classes has changed, Goodall said what has stayed the same is her relationship with her students.

“It’s all about developing those strong relationships,” she said.

Goodall is in consideration for the national award, which will be announced in October.

©2019 the Bangor Daily News (Bangor, Maine). Distributed by Tribune Content Agency, LLC.