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U.Va. Project Will Offer Resources To Help History Teachers Engage Students With Virginia Standards Of Learning

January 14, 2002-- Historians at the University of Virginia will help the state’s high school teachers use the World Wide Web to make history come alive as they prepare their students for success with the Virginia Standards of Learning.

The special project is an in-depth Multimedia Guide to the Virginia Standards of Learning (SOLs) for teachers and students in 11th grade U.S. and Virginia history, two subjects that must be passed in order to graduate. A joint effort of historians at U.Va.’s Miller Center of Public Affairs and Virginia Center for Digital History, the multimedia guide is intended to help history teachers apply the vast resources of the Web to their standards-based curriculum. An early edition of the guide is online at

When completed next year, the online guide will cover all 13 of the required standards in 11 th grade history, and also all subsections of the standards, said William G. Thomas III, director of the Virginia Center for Digital History. All the sections will have a background essay, a list of recommended reading and an exhibit of multimedia resources from the University of Virginia and other high-quality library and university sites. Peer-reviewed by classroom teachers, each essay will offer background for teachers on the latest scholarship that underpins the knowledge required in the SOLs. The exhibits will offer immediate online links to a vast array of valuable teaching materials, including original historical documents, artwork and other resources to stimulate learning.

The project will supplement the Virginia Department of Education’s teacher resource guide by offering the contextual background for the standards and the multimedia teaching resources. It also is intended as a national model for other educators seeking to engage students as they prepare to meet SOL requirements, said Philip D. Zelikow, director of the Miller Center. "We hope that it will make the wealth of online history resources available at universities around the country more accessible to educators and students alike."

To help spread the word about this resource, the Miller Center and VCDH have published a sample print guide that includes contextual essays and online, multimedia exhibits for three of the Virginia standards on Colonial History, the Civil War, and Civil Rights.

This guide will be distributed to teachers in 2002-03 at teacher training workshops being offered by U.Va.’s Curry School of Education. These workshops, funded by a grant from the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation, will provide training to over 2,300 administrators and teachers in Virginia's K-12 schools, who will work with the guide and disseminate it in their schools. The guide will also be featured at Virginia social studies conferences and is freely available to educators, students, and the public.

"The University of Virginia's Multimedia Guide to the Virginia Standards of Learning has the potential to extend and transform high school history teaching. It will allow students to use the same techniques that historians employ as they view, analyze and interpret primary resources. The Curry School of Education's Center for Technology and Teacher Education endorses and recommends this useful guide," said Glen Bull, Ward Professor of Education and co-director of the center.

"Teachers need support, encouragement and resources to do their jobs effectively," said Thomas. "Our goal is to contribute to more effective teaching of American history in our high schools."

Contact: Margaret Edwards, (434) 924-7889

FOR ADDITIONAL INFORMATION: Contact the Office of University Relations at (434) 924-7116. Television reporters should contact the TV News Office at (434) 924-7550.

SOURCE: U.Va. News Services


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