Seven history educators gathered on Wednesday to undertake some changes in their pedagogical approaches to teaching world history as part of the NHPRC “Family, Immigration, and History: Grade 10 Citizen Archivists in the Digital Age” at St. john’s University. Andy Mink, VP of Education at the National Humanities Center, has long disrupted traditional approaches to teaching history. In the past, we, as educators, curated the secondary sources and documents by selecting for our students. Back in the old days, before the Internet, teachers would place materials on reserves, whether in the university or secondary school library. In many ways, we undermined the sense of discovery and sifting through information that are essential skills of a historian. Yet, digital curation remains important for scholars, teachers, and students.
Universities and secondary school administrators rave about new technologies and their potential in classrooms. Mink argued that students do not see these tools as new technologies. Rather, technology, whether devices or digital materials, are part of their lives—as well as our lives. The question remains how to incorporate new tools into the classroom while enhancing the NYCDOE Social Studies Scope and Sequence and the curriculum.
In the workshop, Mink introduced participants to Chronozoom, an is an open-source community project dedicated to visualizing the history of everything, in this case a tool to teach new approaches to family and immigration history in Queens. While Chronozoom has the potential to allow students to visually curate their families’ migration stories. To tell a compelling story that demonstrates historical thinking and skills, teachers, researchers, and students will also have to gather, sift, and organize an array of documents to teach the histories of migration, modernization, globalization, and Queens.