Students are unearthing the history and wonders of ancient China—one of the world’s oldest surviving civilizations—thanks to teacher training materials adapted for online learning by EDC.
EDC’s EdTech Leaders Online (ETLO) adapted The Enduring Legacy of China, an in-person teacher training workshop developed by Primary Source of Watertown, Massachusetts, as an online professional development course. Primary Source develops materials and resources to bring global education into K–12 classrooms, with a focus on history and humanities.
“Putting the content online will reach a wider audience of teachers, across the country and around the world,” says EDC’s Valerie Weagle. “Teachers who can’t take time off or travel to attend a workshop can still participate in their own free time, from the convenience of their homes.”
Teachers learn how to bring Chinese history, politics, economics, and culture to their classrooms, so their students may understand the forces that have shaped one of the world’s emerging economic superpowers. More than 100 teachers from the United States, India, and Singapore have taken part in the online training.
“We wanted to create an intense, immersive experience for teachers,” Weagle says. “We had to re-envision the workshop and reformat the content for online delivery. What we came up with is robust and very interactive.”
The seven-session program introduces teachers to ancient China while suggesting resources to engage students. Subjects include geography, centralization projects (such as the Great Wall), Chinese belief systems, women and families, and China in the arts.
While teachers complete the sessions on their own, a facilitator encourages them to participate in online discussions and chats. “We want teachers to feel they are moving through this week-to-week journey together,” Weagle says. Each session points teachers to supplemental websites, videos, and other media where they can delve deeper into topics and collect resources for their students.
“We believe that engaging teachers with content and resources from around the world, as we do in the ancient China course, provides the necessary supports for teachers to connect their ideas, curriculum, and students to significant and meaningful global issues,” says Ann Marie Gleeson of Primary Source. “By equipping teachers with knowledge and resources, we can prepare students for the challenges and complexities of our diverse nation and world.”
Primary Source has also developed a course on modern China, which EDC will adapt for online teacher learning. Another program about Japan is in the works.
“Online learning can be a rich and powerful experience,” Weagle says. And one that’s helping teachers and students understand and appreciate other cultures, the world over.
Originally published on July 20, 2011