The reign of hardcover textbooks is being broadly challenged by a wide array of technology tools. Many online resources serve to supplement traditional teaching materials and engage students. These interactive teaching tools use tablet technology to put high quality materials in the hands of students — in school and at home.
The Library of Congress, already brimming with resources for educators and students, recently released a series of Student Discovery Sets available for free through iTunes. The iBooks cover six big topics in American History, including The Constitution, The Dust Bowl, The Harlem Renaissance, Immigration, Symbols of the United States and Understand the Cosmos. They offer interactive access to historical artifacts and hand-picked primary source documents. Students can zoom in for a closer look on their mobile devices, highlight details in the text and interact with content in a completely new way.
Certain Discover Sets might fit perfectly with an existing unit of study in your curriculum. But these iBooks also offer an opportunity to teach students how to analyze primary source documents even if you’re not currently covering the content. If The Harlem Renaissance or The Dust Bowl aren’t part of your curriculum don’t feel stuck. Symbols of the United States and Immigration are two iBooks that can be integrated into a variety of units of study. The same can be said of The Constitution which could be introduced to students in conjunction with a variety of units, including one that focuses on foundational documents in different countries.
Get started by thinking about what type of technology you and your students have access to in school and at home. In a classroom few-to-many access, you may choose to have students work collaboratively with a peer to dive into text together on one device. In a one-to-one classroom you may want all students to interact and annotate their own copy of the iBook or use it to gather information as they write about a particular topic.
Visit The Library of Congress’ website to learn more about this fantastic, free resource for students and teachers!
Monica Burns is an Education Consultant, EdTech Blogger, and Apple Distinguished Educator. Visit her site ClassTechTips.com or follow her on Twitter at @ClassTechTips for more ideas on how to become a tech-savvy teacher.
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