Learn History in Unique, Exciting Way

Paths To Freedom is a new interactive multimedia series designed to transform history from an uninvolving list of facts into rich, present-day experiences.

Designed for linguistically diverse classrooms, its breadth, depth and flexibility allow one to use it as a supplement to existing history programs or as a core curriculum. Either way, Paths To Freedom helps teachers lead students toward a better understanding of history by allowing them to explore it themselves.

Paths takes a constructivist approach, working with knowledge that each student brings to the classroom and expanding that base through a variety of dynamic tools. The abundance of information, images, maps, songs, articles, biographies and primary sources in the program lets students "dig in" to the materials in much the same way a historian would, allowing them to develop an understanding of U.S. history on their own.

Students learn actively through CD-ROM investigations, videodisc viewings and primary source readings in a wide variety of individual and group investigations.

Two units are offered, as is a bundle of them both. The units are The American Revolution and The Young Republic. Units are organized into sections, each of which follows a clear activity path: Introduction, where direct instruction emphasizes objectives and key concepts with the optional aid of videodisc intros and glossaries; Group Investigations -- student interactions dominate this period of explorational time with a great emphasis on active learning and use of multimedia and text resources; Group Presentations, with student teams presenting the results of their investigations to the rest of the class with corrections and amplification provided by the teacher; and Synthesis, when teachers provide activities, exercises or direct instruction designed to solidify the instructional gains of the previous work.

Paths To Freedom also provides multiple language options -- English, Sheltered English and Spanish -- for both native and non-native English speakers, as well as those who have other speaking difficulties. Encyclopaedia Britannica Educational Corp., Chicago, IL, (800) 554-9862. M

This article originally appeared in the 06/01/1996 issue of THE Journal.

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