Do you need a Harvard degree to crowdsource historical inquiry with your students?

Hope not… So, Jamie McFadden is doing amazing things with Harvard graduate and undergraduate students. The use of wikis to create a collaborative space among students who are not sitting in the same classroom is impressive. I want to give that a try, for sure. I wonder if a social studies department at a middle/high school could crowdsource a grade-wide project this way. They could try something similar like looking at news-coverage of Pearl Harbor or 9/11. I need to think more about this one. Any heads of department, Social Studies Curriculum Coordinators, or classroom teachers out there who want to brainstorm with me?

BTW, while I was digging around to learn more about what Jamie is doing with his students I came across this incredible collection of resources on Russian and European history created by his group at the Davis Center. Check out the footage of a Russian women’s suffrage protest from 1917. I’ll be using this to teach about suffrage, the Russian Revolution, and media in the early 20th century…  Davis Center Digital Resources


Students can use whaling logs to become “citizen scientists”

The New Bedford Whaling Museum has an interesting crowdsourcing project called Old Weather that we’ve recommended to teachers and students in our climate change curriculum. The museum is inviting the public to become “citizen scientists” and help transcribe logbooks, extracting information about weather observations. Scientists will use these transcriptions to improve their climate model projections and knowledge of past environmental conditions. Historians will use them to track past ship movements and tell the stories of the people on board. Even if students don’t spend time going through logs, I think just knowing about the project is neat— a great intersection of history, science, and geography that shows how historical documents can be useful in all sorts of ways!