Tuning Into History

Interested in the history of the adoption of and integration of technology in society and media? If so, an examination of how our government reacts to emerging technologies can be quite enlightening. Take a look at the United States House of Representatives. Why? The House’s Office of the Historian and the Clerk of the House‘s very nifty Office of Art and Archives collaborate to preserve the House’s institutional memory and make it available to the public.

What might we discover? A simple search reveals that the first live television broadcast coverage of an American congressional proceeding happened on this day in 1947. That’s right: TV came to call on Congress. The House Chamber telecast the opening of the 80th Congress.

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Freedom is Never Free: Understanding Veterans Day

DF-SC-84-11899It began with the signing of the armistice that ended World War I. Yes, today is Veterans Day. Do your students understand the significance of this day? Do they understand what it mean to truly pay respect to veterans? What are some of the ways veterans are (and should be) honored in our society today?

Encourage your pupils to stop and think about the brave men and women who have served and are currently serving in America’s Armed Forces. They deserve our respect and students should know why. The United States Department of Veteran Affairs contains educational resources designed to help teachers discuss the importance this day.

It’s never too late to learn.

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History, Poetry, Music, Math, and Science…a Perfect Storm of Learning


On this day, November 10th, in 1975, the freighter SS Edmund Fitzgerald (a taconite carrier) sank during a storm on Lake Superior. All of the crew, 29 nine men, perished. The event was memorialized in the lyrics of singer Gordon Lightfoot‘s popular ballad, the Wreck of the Edmund Fitzgerald.

Though sad, this historical event presents an engrossing opportunity for students and teachers to collaborate and engage in interdisciplinary research. It’s a perfect storm of learning.  Delving into what lead up to the tragedy allows pupils to explore elements of:

Diving into this and other historical events, using them as case-study investigations into why and how things happen, makes learning more rewarding and allows students to integrate technology resources in a more meaningful manner.

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Famous Physicists

Want to add historical context to the study of physics? If so, check out the growing library of transcripts of oral history interviews held at the Niels Bohr Library and Archives. All this goodness comes to the world via the American Institute of Physics. Enjoy!


Related resources:

  • HyperPhysics will have you bouncing off the walls!
  • Think you know everything there is to know about physics? Some folks might be inclined to disagree. Check out the Skeptic’s Guide to Physics for intriguing views.

Fly Me to the Moon: Celebrating the 40th Anniversary of the Apollo 11 Lunar Landing

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On this day in 1969 (only a month before the Woodstock Festival drew national attention and four months before kids began looking for the way to Sesame Street),

Later Armstrong and Edwin “Buzz” Aldrin became the first humans to walk on the lunar surface.

Integrate a little technology, drop by NASA’s official Apollo 40th Anniversary site and celebrate this historic event. It’s easy! Thanks to “spin-off” innovations that resulted from America’s exploration of space and subsequent mission to the moon, sharing and retrieving information is simple. What are you waiting for? Blast off!

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Freedom Is Not Free: Memorial Day


Today is Memorial Day. Use technology to remember the sacrifices that the men and women of our armed forces have made in the service of our nation. Digital resources make it possible to:

It’s a little thing to do, to merely stop and appreciate the freedoms we enjoy. Think of the people who have given so much–who have paid for our liberty with their hearts, health, and lives–that we might live free. Reflect upon the dedicated members of the United States Military, brave women and men who served or are serving in the the Army, Marine Corps, Navy, Air Force, and Coast Guard. These courageous citizens, often overlooked, are much, much more than just numbers or statistics. They are ordinary people with extraordinary historical legacies. They are worthy of our attention and gratitude. Please, remember them and help the younger people of our nation understand why we should all be so grateful.

A Portrait of Learning: Smarthistory

Art teachers: Picture this: a free multi-media “web-book” that’s sure to impress, engage, and inform students. Smarthistory is a captivating digital substitute for traditional art history textbooks.  The site evolved from a blog featuring free audio guides to the Museum of Modern Art and the Metropolitan Museum of Art. These days, Smarthistory contains also contains videos about works of art.