Four Tools to Help Students Uncover Hidden Histories

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 (Global Oneness Project)

By Erin Wilkey Oh , Common Sense Education

The rise of digital media is significantly changing how we teach and learn about history. Take a look at Twitter during an international crisis, and you'll see we now have instant access to a diversity of firsthand accounts as history is made. And with the click of a mouse, we can browse digital archives with text, images, audio, video, and other media that have been socked away in attics, art museums, and library basements for decades -- even centuries.

Mobile technology, social media, and digital-archiving capabilities help bring to light perspectives and experiences that have been ignored, overlooked, or unknown by previous generations. And firsthand accounts, along with the intimacy of multimedia, help students make personal, relevant connections to history.

Give your students a chance to learn about multiple perspectives on historic events with these compelling websites:


Facing History and Ourselves
Facing History and Ourselves is a rich source of material for exploring the Holocaust and other instances of mass violence throughout history. Powerful lessons and units help students and teachers grapple with controversial issues and the complex nature of human behavior.

Global Oneness Project
Short videos, photo essays, and articles give students a window onto diverse life experiences around the world. From a Yup'ik man in Alaska teaching his grandson to fish to Mongolian nomads struggling to preserve their way of life, these valuable stories situate day-to-day events within a larger, historical context.

Many interviews in this enormous oral history project focus on witnesses to historical events, which can help students understand history as a lived, intimate experience. Students also can record their own stories and interviews, adding their unique perspectives to the historical record.

Zinn Education Project 
Resources and lessons based on Howard Zinn's well-known book, A People's History of the United States, help teach a more inclusive version of U.S. history. Themed collections include immigration, slavery, women's history, Native Americans, Latino history, Asian-Americans, LGBTQ people, and more.

Erin Wilkey Oh is Executive Editor at Common Sense Education, a nonprofit organization and creator of Graphite ™, a free service that helps educators find the best edtech tools, learn best practices for teaching with edtech, and connect with expert educators. Go to Graphite to read the full reviews of tools and find out how teachers use them for learning in class.