The National Archives recently launched DocsTeach.org, a new online tool for teaching with documents. DocsTeach combines primary source content with the interactive capabilities of the Internet.
“DocsTeach.org is a significant and welcome addition to our popular education programs,” said Archivist of the United States David S. Ferriero. “It will engage teachers and students in new ways and stir their interest in history through the use of original documents in the National Archives. It is also consistent with our goals to make as much of our holdings available to the public as easily as possible.”
The site allows educators to explore thousands of documents in a variety of media from the holdings of the National Archives and combine these materials using tools to create activities that students can access online.
The seven tools featured on the site are designed to teach specific historical thinking skills—weighing evidence, interpreting data, focusing on details, and more. Each employs interactive components including puzzles, scales, maps, flow charts, and others that both
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teachers and students can tailor to their needs.
On the site, teachers can 1) browse or search for documents and activities, 2) customize any activity to fit the needs of a unique classroom, 3) create a brand new activity with its own web address from scratch, using one of seven distinctive tools, and 4) save and organize activities in an account to share with students. After participating in an activity, the site even allows students to submit their work to their teacher via e-mail.
DocsTeach.org is sponsored by the Foundation for the National Archives, with the support of Texas Instruments.