The student news of St. Paul Academy and Summit School

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The student news of St. Paul Academy and Summit School

The Rubicon

The student news of St. Paul Academy and Summit School

The Rubicon

History replaces textbook with interactive learning site

BIG THINK. The site chosen by World History 1 teachers is designed to cover more content in an inclusive and interactive way. Before shifting to the platform, history teacher Andrea Moerer said, “We did a few test runs last year with OER, and collected feedback and data for the switch.”

Strayer was a familiar name for all students, as the author and nickname of their history textbook from both 9th and 10th grade. Everyone had their copy of “Ways of the World,” well-worn and annotated, which led the entire class, with nearly every homework assignment being reading from Strayer.

Now, the World History I class, which covers the history of the world from BCE to the 1500s, has moved on from Strayer to an online system called the “Big History Project,” a non-profit organization created by Bill Gates and David Christian, back in 2014.

I think it’s interesting, but I personally preferred having a physical book where I could write things down, and take margin notes.

— Serene Kalugdan

The goal of the project is to “bring a multi-disciplinary approach to knowledge to lifelong learners around the world.”

Big History, a subset of the OER (Open Educational Resources) project, prides itself on impacting students’ learning, as well as being adaptable to different styles of learning and teaching.

History teacher Andrea Moerer said, “We did a few test runs last year with OER, and collected feedback and data for the switch.”

She explained that it was the teachers’ decision to make the switch, as the new curriculum is now more focused and “student-centered.”

The change was made to try and expand the scope of topics covered in the year, and it allows students to be more connected in the resources they’re looking at and further their knowledge beyond the confines of one singular textbook.

Junior Serene Kalugdan said, “I think it’s interesting, but I personally preferred having a physical book where I could write things down, and take margin notes.”

The system allows for a more interactive learning style, as the entirely online system contains videos and activities, not just reading. It does require lots of exploration, as it’s a completely new tool for the teachers.

“The new system necessitates a new curriculum that we developed for this year, however, this means that every lesson and unit is essentially new which takes a lot of extra teacher time and effort and can have some hiccups along the way. That said, it is a wonderfully exciting project,” Moerer said.

With this free system, the departments hopes to teach history in a malleable form that allows the curriculum to constantly change as schools adapt to developments in the story of history, and as learning changes to fit students.

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About the Contributor
Grace Medrano, S1 News Editor
Hi! I'm Grace Medrano (she/her), one of the two News editors for The Rubicon. This is my third year on staff, and I previously worked as a staff writer, and an A&E editor. I’m big on creative writing and enjoy partaking in big movie nights filled with sugar, popcorn, and cringy 80s action movies. One fun fact about me is that I worked as a SPA camp counselor this summer, and sometimes catch myself asking people to use their toolbox. You can reach me at [email protected].

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