Project Get WIRED With History (Write, Interact, Read, Engage, Discuss)
Located halfway between Atlanta and the Alabama border, this district's population has increased by 36 percent over five years, bringing greater diversity and more poverty to the area. In addition, many of the district's history teachers are novices who do not have degrees or endorsements in American history. Get WIRED With History will offer five full-day seminars each year, three lesson study sessions, a 10-day summer history alliance that includes field study, five podcast lectures, and the 3-day Georgia Council for the Social Studies conference. In addition, teachers will be encouraged to attend regional or state youth competitions, either to act as judges or to bring their students as competitors. The annual cohort of 38 teachers was designed to include one teacher from every elementary and middle school and two teachers from every high school, with some staying in for multiple years. The project hopes to develop a community of teacher and student historians. To this end, the project will focus on research-based instructional approaches, including essential questions, active learning (e.g., project-based activities) and problem-based learning. Teachers will employ lesson study groups to improve their practice. Running across the topic areas (see above) will be several conceptual threads, including ideas and beliefs; trade, industry and technology; social and political interactions; movement and migration; and globalization. The project Web site, "WIRED-Online," will host private discussion areas, program announcements and other project supports. In addition, its public space will make a variety of materials—including podcasts of lectures, related handouts, reading lists, teacher-created lessons and virtual tours—available to teachers elsewhere.