HSTRY is a digital learning tool that enables teachers, students and historians to create and explore interactive timelines. Using a platform designed to mimic social media, HSTRY presents content in a format that is easily understood, engaging, and familiar to the 21st century student. With HSTRY, teachers facilitate discovery as students explore primary sources, create timelines, and engage with history.
Studies have shown that students, especially those who have grown up in the digital age, learn better when presented material through a number of different mediums. Unlike traditional textbooks, which are largely reliant on paragraphs of text and a few pictures scattered through each chapter, HSTRY’s timelines can include not only text and images, but also video, audio, and quiz questions. Furthermore, students can comment, discuss, and ask questions directly on the timeline itself, both deepening their understanding through interaction with other students and further engaging them in their studies.
Teachers have the possibility of either using HSTRY’s Common Core-aligned timelines, or create their own timelines and share them with their classroom or the community. Students can also create their timelines making history not some vague and passive event in the past, but something alive with which they can engage. The use of the first person perspective, where the student puts her/himself in the shoes of a historical character, is a good example of this. As the platform is accessible from any device connected to the web, this can be something the students work on in the classroom or at home, perfect for the “show me what you know” styles of assessment in standards-based classrooms.
Ultimately, HSTRY can be seen as the definitive product for bringing social studies and history education to the 21st century. There needs to be a revolution in the way history is taught: an answer for teachers’ pleas for innovation in teaching history that captivates, tells stories, and speaks to students in the digital age we live in. With HSTRY, we believe we have the answer.
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