Poptential™ Offers Free Content for National American Indian Heritage Month

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — Poptential™, a family of award-winning social studies course packages that infuse lessons with digital storytelling, offers an array of engaging content to illustrate the culture, traditions, and history of Native Americans for National American Indian Heritage Month. Click to tweet.

Signed into law by President George H. W. Bush in 1990, November’s National American Indian Heritage Month is a time to celebrate and pay respect to Native Americans for their culture and contributions to the United States and to raise awareness about the challenges they have faced in the past and today.

Poptential American History Volume II curriculum and digital media examples offer a look at the battles and struggles of the Native Americans as they were removed from their homelands and separated from their families. Content includes:…Read More

Poptential™ Free History Curriculum Helps Teachers Explain the Significance of Labor Day With Media-Rich Content

INDIANAPOLIS, (GLOBE NEWSWIRE) — When teaching about the labor movement in the United States, instructors often focus on Cesar Chavez and Peter McGuire to illustrate the rise of unions and workers’ rights. Poptential™, a free curriculum that infuses lessons with digital storytelling using pop culture references, also uses SpongeBob SquarePants.

“It’s been more than 125 years since the first Labor Day was observed, and the labor movement can seem a little dry to today’s high school students,” said Julie Smitherman, a former social studies teacher and director of content at Certell, Inc., the nonprofit behind Poptential. “Adding digital storytelling—like the SpongeBob clip—helps students better relate to these topics.”

Poptential uses a variety of pop culture media to illustrate concepts, including those taken from sitcoms, movies, animations, cartoons, late-night shows, and other sources.…Read More

Poptential™ Digital Storytelling Makes Summer School Fun

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — (June 3, 2022) — Millions of high school students are expected to hit the books in summer school to help close the pandemic education gap, get a head start on a jam-packed schedule, or to repeat a failed class. As a result, teachers are looking for educational tools that engage students and help them compete with summer distractions.

“Summer school teachers have to work extra hard to keep students engaged,” said Julie Smitherman, who taught high school social studies for eight years and is now director of content management for Certell, Inc.’s  Poptential™ family of free social studies courses.

About 3.4 million students attended summer school in 2020, and as many as 40% were absent daily, according to ThinkImpact. One proven way to keep students engaged is through the use of pop culture media to illustrate key learning concepts.…Read More

Poptential™ Free Curriculum Brings History Alive for Independence Day

INDIANAPOLIS, Ind. — (May 6, 2022) — Poptential™, a family of free social studies course packages that pair pop culture media with engaging digital storytelling, provides teachers and students media-rich lessons on the American Revolution and Declaration of Independence, celebrated July 4. Click to tweet.

“While the Declaration of Independence was adopted 246 years ago, the heroes guiding the birth of our nation are brought to life in popular culture, which appeals to today’s digitally-savvy learner, and can make teaching more effective and relevant,” said Fred Fransen, CEO of Certell, Inc., the maker of Poptential.

Poptential courses, used by more than 30,000 teachers in 50 states, include everything instructors need to teach a subject, digitally accessible in one place, including lessons, ebooks, bell ringers, quizzes, and tests, as well as pop culture media to make lessons interesting and relatable to students. Curriculum packages are standards-based and developed by social studies teachers.…Read More

Digital storytelling enhances K-12 classrooms

Digital storytelling uses various types of media to illustrate academic concepts in an engaging way for today’s students

digital-storytellingWith initiatives like the Common Core emphasizing creative thinking, many teachers are looking at unique ways to deliver information. Bernard Robin, Ph.D., saw that an age-old technique could be the perfect tool to combine human knowledge and experience.

“Everybody likes a good story, and it’s a very interesting and appealing way to transfer information from one person to another,” said Robin, associate professor of learning, design, and technology at the University of Houston. “It made sense to bring together all the tools we have access to in order to gain understanding and facilitate classroom discussions.”

Digital storytelling uses various types of media to tell stories or illustrate academic concepts in a way that is engaging and stimulating for today’s students. The concept has been around since the late 1980s, but several programs have recently started to use digital storytelling in the classroom to illustrate concepts and create cultural connections.…Read More