By Lani Aquino
The days of reading a chapter, answering questions, and scrambling to make sense of the past have gone to the wayside. When history comes alive in learning, students are able to gain deeper understandings and make connections between the past and their everyday lives. This liveliness of learning doesn’t come from looking up vocabulary terms and silently reading copious amounts of informational text. To make history engaging and relevant, teachers are moving beyond textbooks and employing the usage of a variety of resources to bring students up to speed on the past. These are 5 online resources that make that task a lot easier.
World History Matters- This award-winning website was developed by the Center for History and New Media to offer studiers of history a portal to a variety of websites. The usage of primary sources in the study of history offers an engaging way to draw students into the key events and movements found in the past. World History Matters offers resources for helping students and teachers locate and navigate primary sources as well as links to the sources themselves. Using this website can prove to be invaluable in the research and study of the past.
Kids Past- From early man to recent history, Kids Past will have students actively engaging in a variety of topics. Quotes, games, activities, videos, and more can be discovered when kids begin their journey through history. The text levels of the lessons presented make this an accessible source for young learners. Coupled with games and activities to explore these topics, this KidsKnowIt Network resource is an engaging addition to an elementary course of study.
History Classroom- This website for education was created by the History Channel. Students and teachers are able to tune into a variety of resources and engaging activities. Videos, quizzes, idea books, and study guides are just a few of the resources offered to complement a host of historical topics and current events. Global history, aeronautics, the opioid crisis, modern marvels, and more can be studied via videos and additional resources provided. Whether history buffs are looking to study This Day in History or research a topic of study or interest, History Classroom is a perfect platform for diving into the past and present.
Discovery Education Virtual Field Trips- No field trip budget? No problem. By taking students on virtual field trips, they can explore the world without leaving the classroom. There are a myriad of trips catalogued in the archives, and a calendar listing upcoming events. Students can explore an egg farm or head to Cuba with Michelle Obama. The opportunities are endless, and the rich cache’ of resources that are available will likely seem endless too. With information and resources for K-12 education, the Discovery Education website is an excellent resource to get students of all ages engaged via the world at large.
Big History Project- This free, online course designed for middle and high school students takes the collective approach of connecting historical content to offer students the big picture when it comes to history. This project started by Bill Gates and David Christian spans from over 13 billion years ago to the present. With year-long, semester, and/or world history course plans, there are a lot of resources to be garnered for building a love and understanding of history and the world around us. The teacher’s guides, blogs, interactive teaching community, and professional development opportunities are just a few of the components of the program that are icing on the cake.
The study of history has moved beyond the dry reading of a text followed by responding to questions. Teachers can bring history to life for students by incorporating a variety of resources that form a connectedness between the past and the present. By bookmarking these 5 resources, teachers have some excellent building blocks for their go-to collection of teaching tools.
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