History alive!: the quest towards understanding world history
Fogarty, Terrae Ann
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thIn this case study of a 10 grade college preparatory classroom using the History Alive! curriculum, students’ levels of historical understanding were examined with a special focus on the use of visuals and their role in historical understanding. Using the Protestant Reformation as the unit of study, a class of 23 college preparatory students participated in a study which used engaging activities that aided students’ historical knowledge through the use of visuals and active involvement. A trained “History Alive!” teacher carried out a prescribed activity using two activities provided by the Teachers’ Curriculum Institute, creator of the History Alive! curriculum. Data collected through videotaping, response cards, individual homework assignments, and photo elicitation interviews indicated that visuals enabled historical knowledge rather than historical understanding. Historical knowledge was found to be gained in class and out of class and the size and color impacted understanding of visual elements. Students acquired historical knowledge through active involvement in the History Alive! activities, and the teachers’ mastery of the material and the History Alive! methods produced knowledge or misunderstandings of historical content. This study recommends that the History Alive! curriculum be further investigated at different tracking levels, that teachers receive professional development on content and methods to carry out lessons in the History Alive! curriculum, and the Teachers’ Curriculum Institute consider visual literacy research when choosing visuals for their curriculum.