Assumption College, in conjunction with the American Antiquarian Society, the Alliance for Education (a non-profit outreach organization that sponsors professional development programs for teachers in Central Mass.), and the Worcester Women's History Project (WWHP), received a Focus Grant from the National Endowment for the Humanities to underwrite a teacher seminar during the 1997-98 academic year. It enabled participants to create web-based curricular modules on women's studies and United States history for use in history, English, and social studies courses, grades 3 through 12, and to lead a series of workshops to familiarize area teachers with both the materials and with the pedagogical opportunities and challenges use of web-based materials presents.
Participating teachers are: Carmen Chiango, Westboro Public Schools; Robert Cormier, Shrewsbury Public Schools; Kristina Geenty, Worcester Academy; Todd Goodwin, Applewild School, Fitchburg; Beth Harding, Worcester Public Schools; Frank Heavey, Bancroft School, Worcester; Karen Moran, Auburn Public Schools; Linda Richardson, West Brookfield Public Schools; Susan Rowden and Kate Stencel, both Worcester Public Schools.
This project reflects a confluence of interests among the institutions cooperating. The WWHP, a grassroots organization created to highlight the importance of the first national woman's rights convention, held in Worcester in 1850, seeks to make information about the convention available to the widest audience and is particularly concerned with making it available to teachers at all grade levels. The American Antiquarian Society wishes to continue its policy of making its unique resources available to scholars, teachers, and students while protecting the physical integrity of the materials. It therefore wishes to explore placing portions of its collections on-line. Assumption College desires both to encourage Women's Studies and strenghten its own programs. It also seeks to explore the pedagogical implications of using hypermedia such as the World Wide Web in the classroom. The Alliance for Education shares this interest in the ways the internet and other new technologies will affect teaching. In addition it has for several years sought to broaden its programs concerned with the teaching of the humanities in primary, middle, and high schools.
On March 22, 1996 the AAS, Assumption College, the Worcester Women's History Project, and the Alliance for Education sponsored the first in a series of workshops for teachers to inform them of the project and to solicit their ideas about the kinds of materialsthey wanted and about how they might most effectively use them. Many of the particulars in this workshop first emerged from that day-long conversation with the 27 teachers who took part. They represented private and public schools. Several taught grades K-3; others taught Advanced Placement history to 11th and 12th graders. In all they were a representative as well as an energetic and imaginative group. And they shared the expectation that hypermedia would change what they do in their classrooms in ways they could only begin to imagine. You can read an account of the workshop here or you can explore the day's activities on your own here.
John McClymer, professor of history at Assumption College, and James Moran, director of outreach at AAS, co-directed the workshops over the course of the 1997-98 academic year. Several other scholars, notably Teresa McBride of the College of the Holy Cross and Kathryn Kish Sklar of SUNY at Binghamton, gave presentations. Staff at the Antiquarian Society lent their expert assistance. Consultants -- Gerd Korman, emeritus, Cornell; Randy Bass, of Georgetown and the Crossroads Project; and Linda Clark, a high-school curricular development specialist and teacher -- are still involved in giving advice and criticism.
John McClymer took charge of the task of putting these materials online. In this task Sabrina Zadrozny, an Assumption College undergraduate, provided invaluable help. She not only undertook most of the scanning of materials and transcription of participants's notes, she helped design the overall site. With the assistance of a grant from the college's Student Government Association, she spent the summer of 1998 doing research at the Antiquarian Society, some of the fruits of which are available at the Electronic Classrooms units on Advice Literature, Children's Literature, and newspapers.
In all, it was a highly eventful year. Several participants had babies, one successfully fought off cancer. All worked very hard. The value of that work is for you to judge.