News

Interactive U.S. history series for tablets

By Laura Devaney
September 17th, 2014

history-libraryAs the new school year begins, the Library of Congress invites students everywhere to touch, draw on and explore some of its most valuable treasures—all via a new set of free interactive eBooks for tablets.

The new Library of Congress Student Discovery Sets bring together historical artifacts and one-of-a-kind documents on a wide range of topics, from history to science to literature. Interactive tools let students zoom in for close examination, draw to highlight interesting details and make notes about what they discover.

The first six Student Discovery Sets are available now for the iPad, and can be downloaded for free on iBooks. These sets cover the U.S. Constitution, Symbols of the United States, Immigration, the Dust Bowl, the Harlem Renaissance, and Understanding the Cosmos.

With a swipe of a finger, learners can peer into the workshop where the Statue of Liberty was built, scrutinize George Washington’s notes on the Constitution, and zoom in on the faces of new arrivals at Ellis Island. Using the portability that tablets bring, students can hand their work to a classmate to collaborate.

The objects in the Student Discovery Sets are primary sources—items created by eyewitnesses to history. From Galileo’s drawings of the moon to Zora Neale Hurston’s plays to Thomas Edison’s films, these maps, songs, posters, sheet music and iconic images immerse students in history, culture and science and give them the power to explore.

Primary sources have unique instructional power, says the Library’s director of Educational Outreach, Lee Ann Potter. “By analyzing primary sources, students can engage with complex content, build their critical thinking skills and create new knowledge. The Library’s new Student Discovery Sets provide rich tools for launching that process of analysis and discovery.”

The sets are designed for students, providing easy access to open-ended exploration. A Teacher’s Guide for each set, with background information, teaching ideas` and additional resources, is one click away on the Library’s website for teachers, www.loc.gov/teachers/. Regular tips and resources for teachers are available on the Teaching with the Library of Congress Twitter feed, @TeachingLC.

The Library of Congress, the nation’s oldest federal cultural institution and the largest library in the world, holds more than 158 million items in various languages, disciplines and formats. The Library serves the U.S. Congress and the nation both on-site in its reading rooms on Capitol Hill and through its award-winning website at www.loc.gov.

About the Author:

Laura Devaney

Laura Ascione Devaney is the Managing Editor, Content Services at eSchool Media. She is a graduate of the University of Maryland's prestigious Philip Merrill College of Journalism. When she isn't wrangling her two children, Laura enjoys running, photography, home improvement, and rooting for the Terps. Find Laura on Twitter: @eSN_Laura http://twitter.com/eSN_Laura