"Teaching in the Age of the Internet" includes three inter-related approaches to improving social studies education through the use of archival materials and technology. Teachers need additional primary and secondary sources for their own classes and the historical content knowledge to teach with those materials. Modern electronic classrooms must be established with the proper hardware, software, configuration and layout to make use of resources on the Internet, on compact disks, and on local network servers. Finally, teachers need to develop effective teaching strategies that capitalize on the modern electronic classroom and the new materials of instruction.
Twelve Anne Arundel County schools will initially participate in the two-year program at the Archives. The teachers represent every district in the county system. The four high schools will each be paired with schools from their feeder systems - four middle and four elementary schools. One student teaching aide will be selected from each high school to help his or her teacher team. These teachers will, in turn, instruct their colleagues and their students, sharing what they learn during this program. In this way, several thousand teachers and students will immediately benefit from the program. The schedule includes instruction, lesson and curriculum development, and dissemination.
HISTORICAL CONTENT AND MATERIALS OF INSTRUCTION
"Teaching In the Age of the Internet" will provide digital Documents for the Classroom units and the training necessary to use them. National events and trends will be studied by examining local history through original documents, secondary sources, and multi-media presentations. The units cover the history of Maryland and America from colonization to the modern era. The packets focused on local histroy will be supplemented by selected documents of national importance related to the themes of political development, cultural diversity, and interdisciplinary approaches to understanding the past.
Each unit will be presented by experts in its historical field. Teachers will initially attend seminars at the Archives where they will work with scholars to master the content and context of the Documents for the Classroom units. Teachers and their students will then have access to these materials in their own schools and will immediately be able to incorporate these new materials and ideas into their existing curriculum.
Introduction [Two days]
The participants will begin their training by attending a two week seminar in August 1997. As an introduction to Documents for the Electronic Classroom, participants will use a document packet entitled "The Strength of Our Diversity" which is a sampler of primary sources selected to demonstrate the racial, ethnic, gender, and religious variety in Maryland's historical experience from settlement to 1906. The packet highlights events such as John Smith's encounters with the Native Americans of the Chesapeake, touches upon religious conflicts in the colonial period, provides information about famous women, covers the era of slavery, and addresses immigration and nativist reaction. This sampler is intended to give teachers their first taste of the possible use of original documents. The documents include manuscripts, official government records, artwork, political cartoons, and photographs, all designed to be used at a variety of grade levels. Discussions will focus on the use of documents in school and teaching techniques in the electronic classroom.
Daily Life in the New World [Three days]
Using probate and court records, first hand accounts, and laws, this packet portrays life in seventeenth century Maryland. The Act Concerning Religion (better known as the Act of Toleration) is the first issue in the unit. Teachers will learn the context, intentions, limits, and applications of this famous law. Material culture and the lives of women and African Americans are two other themes of "Daily Life." The documents presented here are useful in fourth grade Maryland history classes, as well as in middle and high school American history courses. Dr. Papenfuse, an eminent colonial and Maryland historian and designer of the packet, will provide the scholarly introduction to these materials. Dr. Lois Green Carr of Historic St. Mary's City will make a special appearance to discuss the pathbreaking scholarship through which she and her associates have so improved our understanding of colonial life. Participants will also take a field trip to the living museum, Historic St. Mary's City.
Technical Training[Three days]
The summer session will acquaint the participants with the necessary computer skills to access these materials, explore other resources using the Internet, and design their own lessons. They will learn to use Hyper Text Markup Language (HTML) and a few basic computer programs such as web browsers, ASCI word processors, and simple graphics programs. Teachers will learn an entirely new approach to organizing and presenting their lessons. Computerized lesson plans can involve exploration of sources provided in the classroom and those discovered on the World Wide Web. The participants will experience both the students' and the instructors' perspective on the revolution in education allowed by computers.
Lesson Planning [Two days]
Particpants will design their own lessons based on the materials provided, discovered on the Web, or provided by the teachers for use in the following semester. Teachers and their assistants will work out team-teaching strategies to implement in their own schools. With the skills taught by this program, teachers will be able to combine Archives' materials, resources drawn form the Internt, and their own ideas into document packets and lesson plans and units of their own design.
Introduction for School Teams [One day]
Following the teachers' program, the Archives will host a one-day introductory and overview session for the media specialists and computer systems administrators from the participating schools. These team members will be briefed on the theory and practice of the model electronic classroom, discuss teachers' needs, and plan for the implementation of the program in their own schools. ASAP personnel will work closely with these team members and the teachers throughout the project.
Fall Session, 1997
The Strikes and Riots of 1877 [Two separate days]
In October, the participants will explore labor history in the nineteenth century, an element of the Core Learning Goals. The strikes will be explored through newspapers, photographs, and personal recollections of that tumultuous year, 1877. Dr. Papenfuse will conduct this seminar which links labor history to ethnic diversity and the challenges of industrialization. In early November, the teachers and school staff will visit the Baltimore and Ohio Railroad Museum in Baltimore to explore the exhibits on railroads, life in and around the transportation industry, and the strikes themselves. Classroom activities will then be created.
The Digital History of the United States [One day]
In March, Dr. Papenfuse will introduce the participants to selections from his college classes at The Johns Hopkins University. Among the topics to be discussed are significant images and documents in American history, the meaning and practice of history, and the importance of urban centers to American society. The syllabi for these courses draw on a large number of Internet humanities resources, including the Library of Congress's American Memory Project, the University of Virginia's urban history program, and various history-oriented websites around the world. Teachers will be encouraged to browse through the various web-based courses and select appropriate items for their own use.
Civil Rights [Two Weeks]
Using the careers of Thurgood Marshall and H. Rap Brown and their links to events throughout the country, this session will explore changes in strategies of the civil rights movement in twentieth century America. The summer institute will include field trips to the Mitchell Courthouse in Baltimore and to Cambridge in Dorchester County, site of the 1967 riots. Participants will meet with leaders of the civil rights movement in Maryland, past and present, including the president of the NAACP, Kweisi Mfume; scholar and former NAACP official and historian Denton Watson; Judge Robert Mack Bell; and private citizens who witnessed the tragic events in Cambridge. Dr. Kay McElvey, a teacher and life-long resident of Dorchester County will serve as our guide to Cambridge and its people.
COMPUTERS AND THE HUMANITIES: THE ELECTRONIC CLASSROOM
Computerized classrooms can revolutionize education. Traditional techniques of instruction, such as the use of original sources and cooperative learning, still have an important place in the electronic classroom. However, teachers with computers have a wide range of new opportunities to organize and present their ideas. The horizons in the classroom have been expanded both in terms of new resources and new capacities for students to interact with materials of instruction. Both teachers and students gain intellectual ownership over the sources and the way they are used, improving understanding of content and process.
The proper use of electronic classrooms involves cooperation between more people than just teachers and their students. Since most schools set up their computer laboratories separately from their traditional classrooms, teachers using those labs need to work closely with the computer systems administrators. Often, the computer laboratory is in the media center which requires the same teamwork between teachers and media specialists. Although lesson content will be the domain of the teacher, the computer support staff needs to be fully aware of the advantages and requirements of humanities education in an electronic classroom. Teachers, on the other hand, need to be familiar with the potential and the limitations of a school's computer system. Only through cooperative teamwork among teachers, media specialists, and computer technicians can students truly benefit from the potential of an electronic classroom. Anne Arundel County Public Schools ASAP personnel will see to the coordination of each essential component of the teaching team in the participating schools.
Teachers from any school system rarely have access to original source materials. Through the use of digital graphic, text and audio-visual files, computers allow teachers to bring documents into their classrooms. The Documents for the Classroom program includes not only traditional manuscript materials but also maps, photographs, newspapers and other printed sources, often augmented by audio tapes and video clips. Computers allow teachers and students direct access to these materials without having to visit an archives or work with poor quality reproductions. The use of the electronic Documents for the Classroom materials meets the needs of those schools which have invested considerable resources in computer equipment, but are still searching for educational materials to use on those machines, especially for the social sciences.
Internet Web browsers, combined with graphics and multimedia software, are ideal for this project's educational materials. HTML formats, including hyper-text and hyper-media-links, make organizing, presenting, and accessing the material extremely user-friendly. No extensive knowledge of specialized software packages is needed by the teachers or the students. The Archives' HTML presentations make it unnecessary for the user to know path statements or the location of files. Windows environments and multi-tasking functions mean several documents can be compared at once, or that explanatory notes can be viewed (or heard) at the same time as the document is examined. Graphic viewers can zoom in on interesting or difficult passages or details and often make the scanned image of a document more legible than the original!
Behind this easy-to-use facade is a complex organizational system. Computer directory trees act as an elaborate but logical electronic outline, rather than a random collection of images or files. The archival management system imparts intellectual control over the files. This same HTML and tree-structure format reflects the intellectual content of the packets and helps present historical context and interpretation which is a fundamental part of the Documents for the Classroom materials. Open software architecture based on web technology allows a flexible and interchangable approach to lesson development. Throughout development and instruction, the computer must remain a tool that assists teachers and students to focus on content, not an object of study in itself. With a small amount of preparation, teachers and students can master the essential basics of teaching and learning in the electronic classroom. With the support of media specialists and computer technicians, the entire process can be smooth and easy, and readily exportable to other sites in the county, the state, and even across the United States.
Activities in the Electronic Classroom teach the participants the fundamentals they need not only to use materials from the Archives, but to make the most of resources available on the World Wide Web. In fact, this program specifically encourages teachers to explore the Web and use its resources creatively in their teaching. The project instructors will guide teacher to interesting and useful Web homepages. The program can be expanded to include applicable materials discovered on the Web during the course of the institute.
However, the electronic classroom program does not rely on fragile Internet connectivity to present materials. Local networks and CD-ROM play their part in the dissemination of and access to Documents for the Classroom materials. Although the original Electronic Classroom operated in an PC-DOS-Windows environment, the materials are being developed in a cross-platform Internet format for use with Macintosh equipment as well.
Even more important than the equipment is the way in which it is used. The electronic classroom layout promotes interaction between the instructor and the students and among the students themselves. Most computer-equipped classrooms today isolate the student, focusing on his or her own screen. Many layouts make it difficult for teachers to work with their students who are often lined up against a wall facing their monitors! The Archives' approach, which is based on a u-shaped, seminar style layout, is open and interactive, and uses the computers to promote, rather than restrict, collaborative learning. An important feature of this is the placement of the monitors on low carts, so students can see over them while seated at their machines to interact with their fellow students and their teacher.
An electronic classroom is certainly the best environment to conduct the kinds of educational activities proposed here. However, many schools are not yet adequately equipped. The same electronic files used by the computer can generate paper copies for use by teachers and students without sufficient access to computers. The intellectual content is the same, as are the benefits of using the Documents for the Classroom. Computers, however, allow better access to the documents, a more cohesive classroom presentation, and the opportunity to provide supporting or explanatory information to the teachers.
The expense of establishing an electronic classroom has been intentionally limited to approximately $30,000 plus Internet connectivity and server costs. This cost includes first-rate equipment, but at a level affordable by most schools. Even this economical arrangement is beyond the means of the Maryland State Archives which receives no state funding for educational programs, even one as important as the electronic classroom. Anne Arundel County Public Schools have devoted considerable resources to bringing their schools into the age of the Internet, but funding is still a critical issue. This project would be greatly enhanced by a federal grant for permanently establishing a state-wide training center for teachers at the Archives and by creating secure and reliable network connections between the Archives and the Anne Arundel County Public Schools headquarters.
Anne Arundel County Public Schools are fimly committed to student mentorship programs. The Archives has sponsored internships for local high school students for several years. In the school system, students are members of curriculum development teams and also serve on school and county-wide policy advisory boards and as departmental aides. Service learning and peer-tutoring programs are in operation throughout the county for grades 5-12.
Teaching in the Age of the Internet will capitalize on this tradition through a two-fold mentorship concept. First, the participating teachers will serve as mentors to students carefully selected to serve as teaching assistants. These assistants will join the summer program and then act as mentors to the student in history classes during the school year. Although teacher's aides are not unusual, more should be made of student peer-mentors in the electronic classroom to help students with both technical and subject learning. The grouping of feeder schools which serve the same neighborhoods and which are in close proximity to one another make the logisitics of having a student work in several schools and team work between teachers possible.
One rising senior will be competitively selected from each of the participating high school's American History Advanced Placement to act as a teacher's aide. Anne Arundel County's AP program has a stellar record of success, with more than 77% of its students scoring 3 or higher on AP tests on the over 1400 tests taken by over 1000 high school students. The four students chosen by this program will mentor other students in eleventh grade AP courses in their own high school, and in American and Maryland history classes in the feeder middle and elementary schools. The teachers from the high school and the feeder schools will work with the student mentor during the summer to plan for school year activities. The student will be assigned these mentorship duties as part of service-learning and internship programs in the county schools, taking full advantage of the flexible class schedules enjoyed by seniors in Anne Arundel County. A second group of students will be selected for the summer session of 1998.
THE ELECTRONIC CLASSROOM, THE INFORMATION
AND THE ARCHIVES-ANNE ARUNDEL COUNTY EDUCATION FREEWAY
While the Archives has successfully presented archival material in the Electronic Classroom, an effective mechanism for sharing the document packets is still in development. The document packets are not static; new primary and secondary sources are constantly added to enrich the lessons. The HTML format allows these units to be up-dated frequently and easily.
Distributing up-to-date versions of the lessons poses a considerable challenge. The cost of regularly producing CD's for over 100 schools is prohibitive. Properly installing the latest versions at each school without a communications network is cumbersome. As a solution the Archives will establish an Internet server for the distribution of the educational materials contained in the Documents for the Classroom. A Sun Sparc5 with a 2 Gb hard drive will be placed in service for the use of the schools.
With such a network, teachers and students will be able to access the project's latest materials, including those related to the document packets and the Archives' other on-line information services. In addition, teachers and administrators will be able to share lesson plans. All communications will be safe, fast, and secure. The Freeway will permit the exchange of information and ideas without the delays often experienced on the Internet. Nor will there be any danger of tampering from the outside or of students accessing undesirable Web sites. This network concept is a natural extension of the distance learning programs already in use throughout Maryland.
In order to establish the Freeway, the Archives must link into the school system's existing inter-school computer communications network by establishing a T-1 connection to the nearby school headquarters building. A CISCO 2500 router unit with CSU will be needed at each end of the line. This private, dedicated line will allow easy access to the project's materials from anywhere in the county. It will also be the foundation for the deposit of permanently valuable digital records produced by the schools and scheduled for perpetual storage at the Archives.
The T-1 connection is the first step in an even more elaborate plan. Anne Arundel County Public Schools are upgrading their inter-school communications with hard-wire connections. Additional funding for communications will be sought. Connectivity in the "Teaching in the Age of the Internet" project will help demonstrate the power of such a system to potential donors.
DISSEMINATION, EVALUATION AND ASSESSMENT
"Teaching in the Age of the Internet" expects the impact of its methods and goals to reach far beyond the participating schools. Expansion of the program is planned at three levels: county, state, and nationwide. The project has detailed plans for insuring that many teachers, wherever they are, can take advantage of the potential of the Documents for the Electronic Classroom program.
On the county level, the ASAP and social studies programs will be the mechanisms to share the Archives' process. Throughout the school year, the institute trained teachers and project staff will conduct in-service programs in all four school regions of the county. Each region will be targeted separately so as not to create too great a demand on project staff. Archives' personnel will be available for support. Creating teams of teachers, systems operators, and media specialists will ensure that the knowledge of content and technology essential for the success of this project will be available in each of the schools. Participants in the dissemination phase will include these instructors, technicians, and administrators. This unity of effort will establish a program with lasting value within the school system. The materials of instruction developed by both the Archives and the teachers will be permanently preserved at the Archives. Moreover, the lesson plans, curriculum units, and other related files will be accessible from the Anne Arundel County Public Schools headquarters. The individual document units will be maintained at each school for continuous use. Updates and new materials produced by the Archives will be made available to the schools through the Education Freeway.
Once the program has taken root in Anne Arundel County, the Archives will approach other school systems to engage in similar programs thoughout the state. Several counties, particularly Montgomery and Calvert, as well as the Southern Eastern Shore Educational Association, have taken great pains to introduce computer technology in their school systems. Paired with the Governor's initiative "Maryland Connected For Learning", "Teaching in the Age of the Internet" will have the opportunity to expand its methods and materials to many other schools. To promote awareness of the program, project staff will give public presentations at conferences throughout the state, particularly the Maryland Council for Social Studies, the History Teaching Alliance, and the Association of Independent Schools. The press will be encouraged to send reporters to the summer sessions and to classrooms where the project is in action. This program should become a model for installation in other county systems and has promise for public and private universities.
Schools around the United States will become aware of this program through publicity and through the Internet itself. By establishing a homepage specifically devoted to the project, staff will be able to keep teachers around the country current with the progess of the program. The site will invite inquiries and discussions via email for interested parties with project staff and particpating teachers. In addition to computer communications, project staff will publish articles in educational and historical newsletters and journals describing the project and inviting comments, suggestions, and dialogue. The newsletters of the Organization of American Historians and of the American Historical Organization routinely solicit articles on innovative educational approaches. "Teaching in the Age of the Internet" can use these widely distributed publications to inform teachers and schools systems about the project.
To facilitate dissemination (as well as evaluation) the project will establish a National Advisory Board of scholars, archivists, and educators to review the program and to advise project staff on dissemination strategies. The Board members have been selected from among those who have demonstrated interest and ability in combining content and technology. Each member has a national standing and many contacts throughout his or her particular region of the country. They represent a broad range of experience and specialization in the humanities.
Using computer comunications such as email and the Internet, the Board will track project activities, evaluate progress, and make suggestions. They will serve as editors of project publications (traditional and on the World Wide Web), and help to spread the word about the project's methods and goals in the regions of the country in which they live and work.
If scheduling and location permit, project staff and the Board will make presentations at national conferences, such as the annual meeting of National Council for Social Studies, OAH or AHA.
In addition to on-going evaluation by project staff, the Board and participating teachers, the project will be visited by an outside evaluator. Dr. Stanley Katz of the American Council of Learned Societies will visit once during the first school year, once during the summer, and a third time to visit classrooms in the feeder-school system when the materials are in use. Dr. Katz is a fine scholar, is familiar with applications of technology to humanities projects, and is an excellent teacher. He will not only report to NEH but will make recommendations for the project as it continues.
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