“The world will little note nor long remember what we say here, but it can never forget what they did here.” This simple sentence was spoken on November 19, 1863, by President Abraham Lincoln when he gave the now famous Gettysburg Address. For those of us in education we must take every opportunity to teach students about the American Civil War lest they forget this important part of our history.
When you think about teaching the subject of the American Civil War, what comes to mind? Topics such as Bull Run, Antietam, Gettysburg, slavery, Generals Grant and Lee are probably what most would describe. What about those topics which are not generally covered or perhaps only sparingly when teaching about the Civil War? Topics such as the daily life of a soldier, famous woman and civilian life of the era, music of the period and it’s role to both soldiers and civilians, and medicine of the period often receive little or no discussion when teachers talk about the Civil War yet these topics are just as important as the Battle of Gettysburg or President Lincoln.
Traditionally, the topic of the American Civil War has been discussed using the tried and true methods of lecturing from textbooks, showing pictures from textbooks or reference books, using filmstrips or slide shows, occasionally the use of artifacts would give the students a hands on experience. Today, teachers have high speed access to the Internet and high quality multimedia CD-ROMs to use as tools for researching and presenting the subject of the Civil War. The purpose of this blog is to provide examples of how to use technology to effectively cover this important subject so that teachers can provide a well rounded lesson on the Civil War to their students.
As for me, I’m recently completed my doctorate of education in instructional technology from Duquesne University. I studied how Pennsylvania teachers are using technology to teach the American Civil War. I’m an adjunct professor in the Graduate Education department for Waynesburg University. I have presented on numerous topics including technology planning, copyright, network security, technology audits, and most recently uses of technology to teach the Civil War.