NCPTT’s Heritage Education Program uses cultural resources to develop lifelong learning in K-12 students. The program’s products support local curriculum standards, national education standards and the goals of No Child Left Behind. NCPTT’s Heritage Education program partners with National Park Service units, other heritage resources, K-12 schools, and teacher training colleges and universities.
Main Street Curriculum Development
The Heritage Education Program has secured the services of a curriculum development specialist to aid in the creation and dissemination of a Main Street Curriculum for middle school students. The curriculum will be demonstrated and tested in four states. Funded through unused money from the Teacher mini-grants program, the project has access to a remaining balance of $15,310. This leftover money is the result of some teachers being forced to withdraw their grant applications due to Hurricanes Katrina and Rita. The Louisiana Division of Archaeology, the state agency responsible for distribution of funds, has received a scope modification to the grant. The consulting team has started work on the project and will move to full-time when the payment schedule has been finalized. This project will provide the opportunity for students to develop an emotional connection and sense of stewardship to the town or city where they live by learning about their local community historic resources through the Main Street program. The program design will allow for nationwide distribution. The project has three primary goals:
- Develop a unit that will include a booklet with background, purpose, materials, activities, handouts, enrichment possibilities, internet and other resources, and standards.
- Develop and test materials by working with Main Street teams across the country.
- Develop materials for the NCPTT website to display curriculum and product results from Main Street teams and for use with the NCPTT Digital Traveling Trunk.
Conversion of Archived NCPTT Heritage Education Lesson Plans
In previous years, the Heritage Education Program developed lesson plans for teachers. These lesson plans exist in a variety of formats, to include hand-drawn diagrams and computer generated Graphic Organizers with no corresponding digital files. In all cases, these educational artifacts did not exist in a digital form. NCPTT’s Heritage Education program has placed priority on converting these artifacts to a digital form for use on the NCPTT website as well as the NCPTT Digital Traveling Trunk. To date, 26 documents have been created to digitize the Agrarian/Plantation Unit. Documents will be posted once final editing, formatting and file conversion has been completed.
NCPTT Digital Traveling Trunk
The Heritage Education Program purchased a classroom set of hand-held computers for dissemination to K-12 students. The set also includes corresponding digital SD cards, four digital cameras, and external hard drive and digital voice recorder. The NCPTT Digital Traveling Trunk will be available to teachers and students across the country. Each hand-held computer will be loaded with NCPTT Heritage Education Lesson Plans, is Wi-Fi ready and can used to document, research, prepare and present information. The digital voice recorder is to be used to document oral histories, ethnographies, podcasts and presentations. In addition, individual teachers may develop their own Heritage Education lesson plans using the NCPTT Digital Traveling Trunk.
Tel Event Course
Heritage Education Lessons for Field Units: Tying Interpretation to Standards While the National Park Service has recognized the critical importance of sparking the imagination of the young, formal learning environments are challenging to create. Providing professional educators with support and incentives will more often bring classes of students into parks. Unfortunately, a communication gap exists between NPS units and professional educators. This course is designed as a short introduction to the challenges faced by professional educators, and how NPS staff can help teachers overcome these obstacles. The broadcast is an hour in length and is scheduled for May 7, 2008.
Heritage Education Web Page
The Heritage Education Program has continued to expand its web presence by adding case studies of NCPTT funded Heritage Education projects. Two projects are currently featured with a third project waiting for final review. These projects serve to demonstrate the never-ending variety of curriculum-supported work opportunities that exist for K-12 learners. Each project features learner-centered, project-oriented learning that takes advantage of technology as a tool for advancing learning.
NCPTT Summer Institute Heritage Education Course
Interpretive Technologies in the Classroom
Three instructors have been selected for the Heritage Education Training event scheduled for July 2008. This three-day course is designed to familiarize teachers and interpreters with technologies to better reach young learners. Additionally, each group will instruct the other with knowledge and information about their particular field.
Michigan Historic Preservation Network (MHPN)
A cooperative agreement between NCPTT and MHPN has been forwarded to the Denver Servicing Center. This cooperative agreement enables NCPTT to support efforts by MHPN to develop a national curriculum model for high school preservation trades vocational programs. MHPN has experience with this work due to their involvement and support of the Randolph School in Detroit, Mich. The Randolph School is a vocational trades school in the Detroit public school system that offers training in preservation trades. The students use historic Ft. Wayne as their laboratory and classroom as they practice preservation skills. The cooperative agreement allows NCPTT to support a curriculum development workshop, in addition to lending staff and expertise to the effort. The final deliverable will be a portable curriculum model that has the potential for national dissemination. Transitioning students out of high school and into two-year trades programs will also be discussed, as well as methods for connecting students to internships and employment opportunities.
Big Thicket National Preserve (BITH)
Christine Faith, NCPTT Heritage Education program coordinator, conducted two site tours of BITH. Faith evaluated the Parks-as-Classrooms and Teacher-to-Ranger-to-Teacher programs at BITH to determine if such programs had applications to heritage education. With some exceptions, traditional uses of the two programs have been environmental education applications. There is evidence that both programs could be used in heritage education. These opportunities will be explored further through follow-up contacts with Teacher-Ranger-Teacher candidates at BITH.