Promoting Tolerance

In this project, students learn about themselves while producing multimedia presentations.

In this project, students learn about themselves while producing multimedia presentations.

As interactions among people from diverse backgrounds increase in local-to-global connections, so does the importance of nurturing empathy, tolerance and cultural awareness among students. One step in understanding how we interact with and perceive others is revealing the subconscious biases each of us holds. Students at Montgomery Academy in Montgomery, Ala., do just that by using an online hidden bias assessment tool and creating multimedia projects.

Lesson description: In teacher-led discussions, students examine the impact of bias and stereotyping and how we are often unaware of the biases we hold. Discussion includes “rapid cognition” as well as ethical considerations in using Implicit Association Test results. Students then visit Harvard’s Project Implicit Web site, implicit.harvard.edu/implicit, and choose which test they will take. Tests range from race and religion to gender and weight. Students then use a presentation program to report their findings and may use sound-editing software to create their own music or use copyright-free selections. Students can then retake the tests and chart their differences, or they can ask friends to take the test and chart those results.

Subject area: The lesson is designed for high school students taking technology course work. However, it can be used in social studies, science and language arts. It also can be adapted for teacher professional development.

Curriculum Standards: This lesson plan meets various standards from the following groups: enGauge: A Framework for Effective Technology Use

Resources: Windows users can use PowerPoint and Audacity; Apple users can use Keynote and GarageBand 3. Web sites to visit include Teaching Tolerance, Center for Multicultural Education, Center for Social and Emotional Education, and the Character Education Partnership. Thomas Friedman’s The World Is Flat, Daniel Pink’s A Whole New Mind: Why Right-Brainers Will Rule the Future, and Malcolm Gladwell’s Blink address the topics of an expanding global outreach, the need to nurture empathy and unmasking hidden bias.

Grading Rubric: Teachers can use Rubistar at rubistar.4teachers.org to create rubrics to guide students in their work. The overall goal in this project is for students to relate their experiences, unmasking their hidden biases using effective digital design. Assessment criteria include organization, source citation, mechanics, content, layout and design, and meeting specified requirements using presentation programs and sound-editing software.

Teaching Tips

  • The key to success in project-based learning is teacher as facilitator.
  • Unleashing student creativity in exceeding project parameters or taking an innovative design perspective should be encouraged.
  • Teachers should take an Implicit Association Test and create a mock project themselves prior to working with students.
  • Because long URLs often interfere with design flow, offer a way to shorten them, such as www.tinyurl.com, which will reduce negative impacts on design while citing a source.
Oct 30 2007

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