Digital Delivery of History

Ran across “Clouds over Cuba” today, a digital interpretation of the Cuban Missile Crisis produced by the JFK Library.

The site won a Webby for its navigation/structure. I agree that it is an inventive, creative solution to navigation.

However, to me, it represents a fascinating way of delivering digital history.

First, it has an accessible documentary about the Crisis, broken into chunks/chapters of about 3-5 minutes. Perfect length. Content isn’t superficial, nor is it too complex.

Second, you “earn” a dossier — a file of primary sources. This is awesome. You don’t actually do anything to earn the sources, but as you watch the documentary, sources that relate to the content in the video are added to your dossier.

Then, you can go see these primary sources. They have everything from recordings of phone calls and meetings, photos, letters, notes, radio addresses by Kruschev, newspaper articles and more. I believe there are 187 items in the dossier when you’re done.


New Tech Tools

Learning about some fabulous new tech tools for teaching. Just listing here due to time constraints!

    Allows you to add notes to a YouTube video (and perhaps other video sources). The links will take you to the spot in the video where you took the note.
  • Thinglink
    Add links, video, resources to a still image
    Easy infographic builder
  • Wordle
  • Tagxedo
    Another Word Cloud builder

Two Movements, Same Message

I recently attended a workshop for parents of kids with ADHD and/or dyslexia. We are dealing with a recent diagnosis in one of our kids — and it’s a whole new road to travel.

Jonanthan Mooney was inspiring and motivating. He talked about his experiences as a kid with ADHD and dyslexia. He talked about how important people in his life lifted him up and empowered him to take control to eventually graduate from Brown, write two books and be a founder of a non-profit. I do think he needs to give himself a little more credit – -he has an amazing resolve and motivation to do things right.

His message about “disabilities” in school was profound, being new to this world. He talked at length about the “disability” of ADHD/Dsylexia being a disability only in certain places, like school. In other settings, it’s an asset.

Four major takeaways for me:

  • Rebuild a child’s self-esteem. The child isn’t disabled — it’s everyone else’s attitude towards these kids that is the problem. 
  • Play to their strengths, don’t remediate the weaknesses.
  • Find advocates, mentors.
  • Intelligence is defined as ability to read. This is not the only way to measure, demonstrate intelligence.

While I was at this session purely for personal reasons as a parent of a child with ADHD and dyslexia, I was struck by the similarities in his advocacy for children with “disablities” and the messages I know well from the education technology movement.

  • He has a profound dislike of standardized tests
  • Sitting still shouldn’t get you good grades
  • Need to teach collaboration and critical thinking above memorization
  • Use the tools we have (TECHNOLOGY) to access content. TEACH kids to think, not memorize.

Here’s his message in a TED Talk nutshell:


Somehow I feel that reading 12 pages glossing over the entire history of slavery is not an effective way to learn history.


Tweet from a wise and insightful 15-year-old high school student