Magazine article Multimedia & Internet@Schools

The Power of Primary Sources, Part 2: Build Your Own Professional Development

Magazine article Multimedia & Internet@Schools

The Power of Primary Sources, Part 2: Build Your Own Professional Development

Article excerpt

IN my last Media Center column (November/December 2009), we examined the power of primary sources and shared ideas for using them to enhance student learning. Educators can now learn how to add power to their teaching by using Teaching With Primary Sources Direct, or TPS Direct, a powerful, high-quality, free online professional development tool from the Library of Congress (LC). TPS Direct is designed to help busy educators by delivering quality, customized professional development using self-paced, interactive professional development modules, practical teaching materials, and authentic resources representing the millions of digital items in the American Memory collections.

Whether participating in facilitated professional development opportunities or a self-directed experience with TPS Direct, teachers learn how to integrate digital primary resources in the classroom, utilize primary source analysis tools, engage students, and foster critical thinking. TPS Direct resources are applicable for all grades and content areas ( teachers/professionaldevelopment/ tpsdirect).

The LC's Educational Outreach team developed TPS Direct with ongoing input from a national curriculum review panel representing teachers and experts from all areas of the country and all grade levels. The curriculum is designed to meet standards set by the National Staff Development Council (NSDC), the American Association of School Librarians (AASL), and the International Society for Technology in Education (ISTE). It debuted to an enthusiastic audience at events held in conjunction with the National Educational Computing Conference in June 2009; it was relaunched at the AASL National Conference in November.

TPS Direct has two components. Participants can choose to explore self-directed, interactive, multimedia online modules, or, if they are interested in delivering face-to-face professional development, they can visit the Professional Development (PD) Plan Builder. Facilitators can select activities from the LC's professional development program to assemble a customized, professional development program for delivery at the school or district level.


Three interactive modules are available as this column is being written; six additional modules will be available in 2010. Here are the modules currently online:

* Introduction to the Library of Congress

* Analyzing Primary Sources: Photographs and Prints

* Analyzing Primary Sources: Maps

The multimedia modules are visually clear with accompanying audio and transcripts. Introduction to the Library of Congress introduces the digital collections to K-12 educators. A fast-paced video hosted by LC staff members provides a lift. Elementary teachers will appreciate the special section on resources for younger learners. The "For Teachers" chapter provides guidance in navigating the materials known as the Teachers Page.

While interacting with the Analyzing Primary Sources: Photographs and Prints module, participants can view a photo and simultaneously use a built-in notepad to complete an analysis of the on-screen photo. When their analysis is complete, they can see their responses as they appear in the LC's primary source photograph analysis tool. They can print or download their completed work. Links accompanying each photo provide immediate access to bibliographic information and a link to the resource in American Memory. An additional chapter simulates the process of searching for photos and prints with audio and a written transcript providing step-by-step direction.

Analyzing Primary Sources: Maps introduces participants to some of the unique maps in the library's collections of more than 5 million map sheets and explains how maps can help students learn about history. Interactive versions of primary source analysis tools are included. One segment simulates what a student might observe and question while studying a map. …

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