We have come a long way since our greatest tool for education was a cave wall and a sharp stone. Many children are now growing up in a world where they have a Facebook profile before they’re out of the womb, are learning the 5 Little Monkeys rhyme on an iPad, and reading about Winnie the Pooh via an interactive storybook rather than the hardcover versions their parents once treasured.
The computer age, digital age and interactive age have taken today’s students in hyper-leaps and simulated-bounds. The definition of a classroom isn’t even the same as what we once knew it. Rather than a physical, confined place, many children now have the opportunity to build their knowledge in a virtual environment, learning to collaborate, participate and engage with students around the world.
A good example of the learning tools offered today is The Big History Project.
The Big History Project is a 13.7 billion year journey through the history of the universe, and designed specifically for high school students. The 100% open, online course involves custom-designed content, including videos, texts, comics and animations, and was built to foster a greater love of learning.
Created by historian David Christian and sponsored by Bill Gates, The Big History Project challenges students and public learners alike to explore and question the relationship between key events over time. Ready-made lesson plans, inline teaching guidance and support is also offered to teachers who use the site and its content.
With Universal Children’s Day fast approaching on the 20th of November, The Big History Project does well to highlight where the intersection currently lies between education and technology. While we’re a far cry off ensuring all children can benefit from these e-learning tools, it demonstrates the right focus: educating and engaging today’s youth.
The Big History Project asks the big questions, explores the big answers, uses media-rich materials and is freely available online. To take a closer look, visit: https://course.bighistoryproject.com/bhplive