Primary Source Platforms Specifically for Teachers and Students?
Thursday, November 3, 2016 11:30 AM - 12:00 PM
Venue: Sheraton
Room: Orpheus
Today’s teachers have a rightful mandate to incorporate primary sources as well as the use (for teaching and documenting learning) of digital technologies into their instruction. Thanks to the opportunities created by these digital technologies, LAMs have increasingly sophisticated tools to fulfill teachers’ needs. But are the tools we normally use to share primary sources really serving teachers’ needs? Just as we wouldn’t run the same type of public program for academics as we would for K–12 teachers, should we expect teachers to use the same type of platform we create for academics and fellow museum professionals? This presentation, by three institutions that have created digital primary source platforms aimed specifically at K–12 teachers and their students, argues no. We will share research conducted with those users to show that we can’t use the same assumptions of teacher needs for resources. In particular, we will discuss one of the large contradictions raised by the research: Teachers indicated desire for both encyclopedic offerings (the Google approach) and bespoke collections (the more traditional approach) for finding primary sources to use in the classroom. The three projects took different approaches: One created a large collections search. One created a focused hub of themed primary sources. One is creating smaller primary source sets. All contain some elements of other styles, though. The presentation will also discuss important project planning issues such as the amount of time necessary to prepare primary sources for digital delivery (staff members have found themselves spending around two hours, if not more, per item, or much more when it comes to creating packaged offerings), amount of technology skill to provide a robust platform and the necessity to work across the organization to make these sites a reality. Presenters come from small, medium and large size organizations so represent different perspectives.

Type of Session
Session Leader : David McKenzie, Associate Director for Digital Resources, Ford's Theatre Society
Co-Presenter : Darren Milligan, Senior Digital Strategist, Center for Learning and Digital Access at Smithsonian Institution
Co-Presenter : Shana Crosson, Education Technologist, Minnesota Historical Society