Digital Learning Day 2014 at the VHS!
Educators from the Virginia Historical Society (VHS) are joining tens of thousands of educators and millions of students from all fifty states and the District of Columbia to celebrate the third annual Digital Learning Day on Wednesday, February 5. Spearheaded by the Alliance for Excellent Education, Digital Learning Day recognizes innovative teaching and common-sense, effective applications of education technologies that support teachers, improve learning, and help students achieve at their highest potential.The VHS is proud to be participating in its third Digital Learning Day on February 5, 2014.
In years past, the society has participated through its HistoryConnects programs, using interactive videoconferencing in order to connect with students and teachers throughout the country on topics ranging from Pocahontas and the Powhatan Indians to the changes experienced in the Old Dominion during the twentieth century. These programs serve as broad overviews for topics and also highlight the collections more specifically with primary source explorations.
This year the VHS will be connecting with a group of middle school students in Pennsylvania for a customized program centered on Abraham Lincoln and the Civil War. Later in the day society educators will meet with fourth grade classes around the state of Virginia, specifically in Loudoun and Spotsylvania counties and the city of Newport News, to discuss Virginia’s role in the American Revolution and some of America’s founding documents.
Additionally, the VHS is using Digital Learning Day as a launch pad for a brand new initiative—its first online teachers’ institute, Primarily Virginia! This thirteen-week online teachers’ institute highlights the collections of the VHS and the Library of Congress while emphasizing both primary source learning and historical inquiry. The institute consists of an introduction and six modules, each of which is centered on specific objects from the VHS collections that relate to a particular historical era. VHS educators will use these objects as a lens to examine the historical era, revealing new information while looking at Virginia’s history in a different manner. The class will repeated throughout the year.
The online format has been designed for asynchronous work, which allows K-12 teachers from around Virginia to access the resources of the VHS and the Library of Congress from their homes or schools. Completion of the course results in forty-five teacher recertification points, and the course is offered free of charge thanks to a generous grant from Teaching with Primary Sources and the Library of Congress.
A sample of the primary sources to be looked at as a part of the institute:
The institute has already proven to be a success, with the class filling up within twelve hours of the call for applicants. Teachers from all over the state who have previously not been able to utilize some of the professional development opportunities from the VHS make up our first class.
Digital Learning Day is a great experience, and we are very excited to be taking part in it again!
Evan Liddiard is Senior Education Specialist at the Virginia Historical Society.