Using Primary Sources to Enhance Teaching and Learning

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Using Primary Sources to Enhance Teaching and Learning

2018-01-25 17:12


We recently highlighted our updated Digital Library, inviting you to explore the origins and diversity of Pennsylvania and the United States from the colonial period and the nation's founding to the experience of contemporary life. This update is designed to help you and your students access primary sources within the classroom, on your smartphones, and from your home. There’s another great resource we would like to call your attention to – The Digital Public Library of America (DPLA).

The DPLA is a free national digital library that provides access to millions of materials from libraries, archives, and museums across the country. The DPLA currently has over 20.6 million items from 2,900+ institutions – all online! The website includes Primary Sources Sets for secondary and higher education. These primary source sets feature 120 topic-based “highlight reels” of primary source images, documents, and text excerpts, audio/video clips and much more. Created by secondary and collegiate educators on DPLA’s Education Advisory Committee, the sets are designed for both educators and students. They feature interdisciplinary topics related to US history, American literature, world history, history of science and technology, and art history. With so many topics, we're sure each educator will find a primary source set relevant to her/his class. These sets are completely adaptable to fit your curriculum needs. Each set includes a topic overview, 10 to 15 primary sources, and a teaching guide with discussion questions and suggested activities.

We believe this is a great technological resource that will help facilitate learning within your classrooms. The DPLA’s Primary Source Sets will help your students contextualize literature, build students’ independent research skills, and enhance critical thinking skills. There are opportunities to have students create their own sets, add questions to a set, and compare media across sets such as posters or political cartoons. The possibilities are endless! Don’t just take our word for it…visit the Digital Public Library of America today!

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