Our Roots educational partners create innovative learning packages in cooperation
with K-12 students and teachers. These educational modules provide Canadian youth
with engaging ways to make history personally exciting and relevant by bringing
local histories into the curriculum.
Computers are changing the way students think about history. Video, voice and music
clips, virtual museums, interactive web sites and digitized primary text and photographic
resources, such as those on Our Roots, are now at the fingertips of student and
teacher alike. The study of history is moving out of textbooks and into the community.
When those of us over 25 think about “Canadian history,” we recall some of the grand
sweep of events we learned about in school. Today, students have ready access to
a wide range of intriguing resources not only about those events, but also about
the places they live, the people who lived there before them, and the stories that
lie behind the familiar faces of their everyday lives. Today, even the youngest
child has access to materials that, in the past, were available only to determined
academics sifting through archives far from home.
This is exciting. Ordinary citizens and whole communities can find themselves and
their roots in the papers, photos, statistics, film clips and recordings of the
past. My story can become part of our story in ways that only free access to a wealth
of information makes possible.
As you will see on this site, students make history while they study it! In diverse
communities across Alberta, students are looking around them. What are the rusty
nails and shards of pottery that their teacher found in her back garden all about?
Who had left them there decades before, and why? In the wake of the Mad Cow crisis,
why had another’s parents returned to raising heritage poultry and seeds? Could
students create virtual museums of local places of importance to share with the
Every community has its stories: the old railroaders in fourth generation railway
families who remember the early days of the CPR; native elders who know the stories
of the plants in the fields near the school, and when to harvest them for medicine;
the names of soldiers on the monument in the park that you walk past every day.
Maybe it’s your school, itself. Are there papers and pictures that give you some
insight into the moment in your community’s history when the school was built, or
abandoned? How about the wartime housing on your street, or the boarded up mine?
Who are the people in all those old photographs from our town that we found online?
Can we collect and tell their stories, too?
In big ways and in small, students and their teachers are composing and sharing
stories of their homes. They are learning how to work with primary sources, interviewing
people whose voices will soon disappear, making judgments about what they are seeing
and why these things are important. Students are becoming active members of the
community, creating websites and CD’s for local historical societies, and developing
materials by kids, for kids. On Our Roots, you can see how wonderful it is when
the study of history moves beyond materials someone else thinks are interesting
and important for kids, and puts the children’s questions right at the forefront.
We think that makes for exciting history and lively citizenship.
Galileo Educational Network
The Galileo Educational Network Association working in collaboration with Our Roots
is an exciting nationwide project. This project involves students creating historical
online resources designed for others. Using inquiry-based learning, this project
uses Our Roots digital resources effectively and imaginatively to create engaging
and authentic tasks for students. Student work is published online and teacher narratives
explain and explore the thinking and processes that lie behind each inquiry.
We invite you to journey through the projects showcased on this website and to discover
what students are learning about their past. These projects were created using Galileo's
design process found at http://about.myio.org/.
New projects are being added on an ongoing basis.
Galileo educational resources are supported by the generosity of Shaw Communications
The Alberta Online Consortium (AOC) takes a leadership role to advocate on behalf
of online educators. As well, AOC uses existing and new technologies to enhance
and optimize student learning. The Alberta Online Consortium collaborates with the
Learning Technologies Branch of Alberta Learning to cooperatively address the need
for online content. Content development initiatives allow teachers to work collaboratively
to build content that is shared and used in online learning situations.