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Dr. Anne Knowles
Friday, 18 April 2008

Image "The Virginia Experiment TAH Speaker Series is designed to expose teachers to new and emerging understandings and perspectives on topics in American history. Historians are constantly uncovering new evidence to support undated interpretations of the past, and scholars are using modern technologies to provide insights into even the most iconic events that were previously hidden.

On Tuesday, April 15, we hosted our last Speaker Series session of the 2007-08 school year in a new format in order to bring together provocative new work by scholars and by educators. Historical mapping is an exciting and rapidly developing method for studying the past from a geographical perspective. This session was designed to give best practice examples of work by historians and educators.

In the first half of the session, Dr. Anne Knowles of Middlebury College answered the question "What could Lee see at Gettysburg?". Dr. Knowles built two digital terrain models of the battlefield, one from 1996 data derived from aerial photographs, the other based on contour lines extracted from an 1874 map of the battlefield. Using a technique called viewshed analysis, she investigated how lines of sight and real-time geographic information may have influenced commanders' decisions and terrain perceptions. The results suggest that historical maps and evidence from the physical landscape can shed new light on even the most familiar historical subjects.

In the second half of the session, we hosted a panel discussion on the use of mapping to understand and teach American history with members of the Teaching Fellows Program. Each teacher highlighted and displayed research-based modules that are classroom ready and available for use."

Podcast

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NCHE '08 Annual Conference
Monday, 07 April 2008
ImageNCHE '08 Annual Conference

The Virginia Experiment Teaching Fellows Program's use of GIS to teach American History was recently featured as a poster session at the National Council for History Education annual conference in Louisville, Kentucky (April 3-5, 2008). Christine Esposito, Stephanie Hammer, Ann Marie Gaylord, Teresa Gooden, Scott Mace, B. Maxwell, Chris Shedd and Donna Shifflett, presented their research and instructional products to a national audience of historians, teachers, and division coordinators, and like-minded organizations. Each Fellow provided an overview of how they are using GIS in the classroom, success stories, challenges, and replication tips. Hosted by NCHE, the conference and organization's mission is to promote the importance of history in schools and in society.

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Dr. Kent Germany
Thursday, 13 March 2008

Image "In December 2007, the Journal of American History published an issue to study the aftermath of Hurricane Katrina and to examine the history and culture of New Orleans and the Gulf Coast. Because we are so little removed in time from Katrina's 2005 landfall, the essays cannot, and do not, fully historicize the events surrounding the storm. They are intended instead to play a part in the writing of a "second draft" of this history.


One of these essays was written by Dr. Kent Germany, professor of history at the University of South Carolina. Titled "The Politics of Poverty and History: Racial Inequality and the Long Prelude to Katrina", this work attempts to identify the connections between the civil rights policies of the 1960s with current and relevant issues in New Orleans. On Tuesday, March 11, Dr. Germany presented his thesis to our teachers at the Miller Center for Public Affairs. This provocative topic addressed how the rise of suburbs and the decline of the inner city factored into the larger struggle for civil rights in the 1960s and 1970s and set up the conditions exposed by Hurricane Katrina."

 
Dr. Dan Thorp
Monday, 11 February 2008

Image Many Americans think Lewis and Clark were sent west simply to explore the newly-acquired Louisiana Purchase. In fact, the Lewis and Clark Expedition was part of an international contest to control North America and exploit its wealth and an important part of Thomas Jefferson¹s plan for the development of the United States and the future of its Native American population.


On Tuesday, February 5, Dr. Dan Thorp of Virginia Tech explored the nature of earlier European activities in the North American West and how they shaped the timing and nature of the Lewis and Clark Expedition. Dr. Thorp's talk was held at the Jefferson Library at Monticello.

Podcast

 
Dr. Craig Barton
Wednesday, 16 January 2008
ImageOn Tuesday, January 8, Dr. Craig Barton of the School of Architecture at the University of Virginia explored different strategies through which to construct the collective memories associated with African American communities and to help tell the stories of people often invisible in traditional historical narratives. A different type of commemorative is required to interpret the depth and complexity of African-American culture which interprets the challenges of historical narrative and the agency of contemporary imagination. As instruments of both public and private patronage these landscapes inevitably minimize the contributions of marginalized cultural communities and were (are) all too often mute about the presence of African Americans and other marginalized groups. Traditional monuments often do not speak to the lives of African Americans and others often excluded from discourse of public space.

 
2007 Educational Technology Leadership Conference
Thursday, 20 December 2007
ImageThe Virginia Experiment Teaching Fellows Program use of Geospatial Technologies in the classroom was featured as a concurrent session at the 2007 Educational Technology Leadership Conference in Roanoke, Virginia. Chris Bunin and Christine Esposito presented "Building a Geospatial Partnership:Using GIS to promote Historical Thinking" to an audience of school, division,and state technology coordinators and instructors. Their presentation provided an overview of how teacher's are using GIS in the classroom, success stories, and implementation tips and challenges. Hosted by Virginia's Department of Education, the conference's mission is to promote accountability, connectivity, professional development, technology integration, and educational application needs.
 
Dr. Carol Berkin
Wednesday, 12 December 2007

Image What political traditions did the framers draw upon as they wrote the constitution and what innovations did they introduce into the political life of the nation?


Dr. Carol Berkin of Baruch College
spoke on Tuesday, December 4 at the Jefferson Library at Monticello as our last lecture in the fall speaker series. The workshop focused on the crisis the delegates to the constitutional convention believed their new nation was facing, the personalities and backgrounds of these delegates, and the main issues and ideals that shaped the constitution these men created.

Podcast

 
Dr. Benjamin Ray
Wednesday, 31 October 2007
"History is not just what happened in the past but also how later generations choose to remember it."


Image The story of the infamous Salem witch trials of 1692 has served as a dramatic moral tale in American culture since the late 17th century. Narrated in history textbooks since the early 18th century and fictionalized in later works of literature, the Salem witch trials tragedy has been interpreted in different ways, suited to changing social and cultural circumstances over time.

On Tuesday, October 30, Dr. Benjamin Ray of the Department of Religious Studies at the University of Virginia explored the role of religion in early America through this iconic narrative. This talk focused on the most recent historical research and indicate the new shape the story is taking. It discussed the changing nature of historical accounts and show how students can directly engage the primary source documents and develop their own conclusions.

Check this out: http://www.salemwitchtrials.org

Podcast

 
Fellows - GIS in Virginia's Classrooms
Tuesday, 30 October 2007
"GIS in Virginia's Classrooms"

ImageIt only takes an interesting data set and a few clicks of the mouse to get students thinking and talking spatially. This was Dr. Bob Kolvoord's (James Madison University) message to the Teaching Fellows on October 24th at Charlottesville High School. A leader in GIS education, Professor Kolvoord reviewed GIS skills using a number of hands-on classroom activities. The first activity looked at global energy consumption and production. The second activity dealt with election results and campaign strategies using data from 2000 and 2004. Dr. Kolvoord's delivery and actitities set an excellent tone for the Teaching Fellows as they begin to research, design, and implement their own classroom GIS activities.
 
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