A Useful Model: How Public and Academic Historians and K–12 Teachers Can Collaborate on Teaching Materials
In 2014 historians in New Jersey used the 350th anniversary of the state’s founding as an English colony as an opportunity for a wide variety of public, scholarly, and educational activities. Built in to the celebration was work on curriculum materials that could be used by K-12 teachers, which would serve as a lasting legacy and hopefully encourage future interest in history. Kean University worked with the New Jersey Historical Commission on a series of 90 second videos on people and events that aired on TV, the connected website to be found at “officialNJ350.com”, and is free for use by the general public and teachers. A related group led by a Stockton College historian and a committee of K-12 teachers developed lessons to accompany each video. In addition the New Jersey Council for the Social Studies produced a second group of materials also for distribution to teachers. A third project to create teaching materials involved taking scholarly papers presented at the New Jersey Historical Commission’s annual conference, expanded for the state’s 350th year, and producing materials teachers could use. The panelists will explain how their efforts were collaborative, demonstrate some of the materials they helped developed, and provide handouts of sample lessons. Although focused on New Jersey all of the materials can be used to teach American history elsewhere, particularly those on Thomas Edison, Frank Sinatra, Bells Labs, and Alice Paul (just a few examples also aimed at showing the variety of topics covered). The presentations will be followed by a discussion with the audience on how this model (and the materials it produced) might be used.
This session should be of interest for K-12 teachers, academic historians who want to develop appropriate materials, public historians, and those interested in fostering collaborative efforts.