Teachers on the Web

Posted on March 5, 2011 by Shennan Hutton

According to the Blueprint survey, most history teachers make significant use of the websites when they plan their lessons. We asked them what websites they used and what they liked about those websites, in order to help us build a better website to support the History Blueprint.

The most popular specific website mentioned was Google. Many teachers commented that they begin searching with Google, because it is easy and takes them swiftly to other sites. Others liked the visuals – pictures, political cartoons, etc. I concur. I use Google all the time to search for images. Where else can you find so many different portraits of Genghis Khan?

[Which ones are inaccurate? Answer: all.] 

As this example shows, teachers have to exercise some discrimination when they use Google, but this search engine definitely opens up a fabulous collection of images, information and other websites in an easy and user-friendly manner.

The second most popular choice was the Library of Congress. CHSSP sites have recently offered a series of workshops on using the resources from the Library of Congress, and teachers have responded enthusiastically. The LOC has a unique organization, which can be a bit daunting. However, their extensive collections contain a wealth of images, primary sources, and lesson plans. The LOC has organized resources by topic and time period for teachers as well, and one doesn’t have to worry about authenticity.

Other popular websites were the Internet History Sourcebooks (Fordham.edu/halsall), PBS, SCORE, Calisphere, and Discovery Education. This list only represents most frequently mentioned websites, but I’ll save the rest for another day.

Those of us who have trawled the web for sources know what we’d like to see. As one teacher aptly put it: “With all the sites on the web it is hard to choose those best suited for any subject or area. It takes a lot of time to find what’s best & a clearinghouse better than ERIK, or NHEC would help.” 

So, it’s back to the drawing board with Genghis. Tragically, the great conqueror never sat for a portrait. 

BBC, http://1dvds.net/movies_desc.asp?pid=1999
Encyclopedia of World Biography, reproduced by permission of Corbis Corporation, http://www.notablebiographies.com/Fi-Gi/Genghis-Khan.html
?, http://planetforward.ca/blog/genghis-khan-historys-most-brutal-killer-was-unknowingly-very-green/
Unknown artist, in National Palace Museum in Taipei, http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/File:YuanEmperorAlbumGenghisPortrait.jpg