Title:Digital Primary Source Materials in the Classroom
Authors:Brenda Trofanenko, Nuala Bennett
Publication:MW2002: Museums and the Web 2002

As Digital technologies bring museums, libraries, and archives together to enhance learning by providing access to digitized primary and secondary cultural resources along with the more traditional bibliographic materials. At the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign, the University Library and the College of Education are developing a collaborative program that integrates digital primary source materials into K-12 curriculum and the educational programs of museums and libraries. Teaching with Digital Content-Describing, Finding and Using Digital Cultural Heritage Materials ( is a two-year project funded by the Institute of Museum and Library Services. Through this project, we are introducing a broad group of K-12 teachers, museum curators, educators, and librarians to digital cultural heritage materials. Our goal is to provide them with training and professional development activities to enable use of primary source materials in the classroom and in museum and library education programs. In this paper, we will describe the collaborative Teaching with Digital Content project and show how the educators are using on-line materials in their learning environments. Using digitized primary source materials involves fundamental shifts in the philosophies, service methods, and pedagogies of museum curators, librarians, and teachers, specific to particular audiences and intents. We are introducing a broad group of teachers to digital cultural heritage materials by partnering with several outreach programs in the University of Illinois College of Education, such as curriculum and instruction courses to secondary social studies student teachers, the Moveable Feast program, which provides technology training for K-12 teachers, and concept-based training for teachers, curators and librarians in the use of visual materials. Museums and libraries assist teachers by placing digital objects in their historical context by utilizing innovative technologies to present this information and by identifying and helping teachers locate and utilize other digital resources that are freely accessible in electronic form. Similarly, the teachers provide the museums and libraries with specific requests for cultural heritage objects for their curriculum planning, development and implementation. The Teaching with Digital Content project presents numerous pedagogical issues for the teachers, curators, and librarians. This project requires a continuous collaboration between the individuals and groups, and through on-line discussions, requests, and in-service events, reiterative revisions prompt the ongoing site and curricular development. This collaboration brings the groups together to discuss utilizing digital cultural objects, what knowledge is available about the object from the institutions, as well as how the exchange of knowledge will extend student learning framed within state-based standards. What results from the institutional and state educational standards are tensions between the ideological and pragmatic purposes that influences the projects development, use, and results. This presentation will introduce, examine, and discuss various issues that form a part of our collaborative project.