Classroom Connect's American Memory Primary Sources

To the historian as well as the teacher, the use of Primary Sources gives new insight to the study of history. The use of Primary Sources, those which come directly from the past and include diaries, photos, sound recordings, speeches and so on, can make history come alive to the student and researcher. Making history come alive is the goal of these two CD-ROM-based programs, created by Classroom Connect with the cooperation of the Library of Congress.

Both of the programs were installed on two different systems, a Pentium II 333 desktop with 64 MB of memory and a DVD drive, as well as a Pentium II 333 laptop system with a conventional CD-ROM drive. The documentation specifically suggests that it 'is desirable to have at least one computer with a modem and Internet connection.' This is necessary to access various Web resources for both students and teachers. These resources include an online help page as well as links to Classroom Connect's homepage, the Classroom Connect-Primary Sources page, the Library of Congress home page, the American Memory Collections page, and a learning page that provides tips for using the American Memory collections, activities and related American Memory programs. While the software loaded and worked equally well on both machines, the software was more effective on the desktop system with Internet access, than on the laptop without access.

Installation of the programs was extremely easy. The installation of one program allows the user to interchange any American Memory program without having to go through the installation process again. Once installed, the user can access the program by selecting the Primary Sources icon under programs on the Windows start menu. Program navigation is relatively simple with the use of icons at the bottom of the screen, including the title of the program and an icon for data cards that allow the user to see the whole selection on the CD. Also included are a time line, atlas, glossary and a link to further information about the Library of Congress, including an explanatory video about the Library's work. In addition, there is a separate feature that enables the user to specifically search for sound files, pictures, text files, etc.

Several related activities are supplied with the CD, all following a framework of inquiry, observation, analysis and synthesis. The lessons are also developed according to preview, process and product. While the activities are well written and can be adapted in any classroom, the sources could easily be used to supplement most U.S. history or government texts. It would also be relatively easy for instructors to develop their own activities. In addition, it is obvious that the selection of materials on each CD has been evaluated and is worthwhile.

The downsides to this product are that it is somewhat difficult to see the menu bar choices (file, edit, etc.), because they are slightly hidden at the top of the screen. It is also difficult to determine what kind of medium some of the files actually are. For example, a clip of Jackie Robinson on Meet the Press was listed as a sound file, however, the file wouldn't play. It took several minutes of investigation to realize that this was actually a transcript of the interview rather than an actual sound clip. In addition, it is somewhat difficult to cut and paste information about the topics from the collection to a word processor or presentation software, although it can be done via 'alt+tab.'

None of these issues, however, overly impact the worthiness of the software. It is obvious that Classroom Connect recognized the implications of the ability of technology to deliver primary source material to any classroom, and theseprograms would be an excellent addition to any social studies curriculum.

 

Michael Hutchison
Social Studies Teacher
Lincoln High School
Vincennes, IN

 

To the historian as well as the teacher, the use of Primary Sources gives new insight to the study of history. The use of Primary Sources, those which come directly from the past and include diaries, photos, sound recordings, speeches and so on, can make history come alive to the student and researcher. Making history come alive is the goal of these two CD-ROM-based programs, created by Classroom Connect with the cooperation of the Library of Congress.

Both of the programs were installed on two different systems, a Pentium II 333 desktop with 64 MB of memory and a DVD drive, as well as a Pentium II 333 laptop system with a conventional CD-ROM drive. The documentation specifically suggests that it 'is desirable to have at least one computer with a modem and Internet connection.' This is necessary to access various Web resources for both students and teachers. These resources include an online help page as well as links to Classroom Connect's homepage, the Classroom Connect-Primary Sources page, the Library of Congress home page, the American Memory Collections page, and a learning page that provides tips for using the American Memory collections, activities and related American Memory programs. While the software loaded and worked equally well on both machines, the software was more effective on the desktop system with Internet access, than on the laptop without access.

Installation of the programs was extremely easy. The installation of one program allows the user to interchange any American Memory program without having to go through the installation process again. Once installed, the user can access the program by selecting the Primary Sources icon under programs on the Windows start menu. Program navigation is relatively simple with the use of icons at the bottom of the screen, including the title of the program and an icon for data cards that allow the user to see the whole selection on the CD. Also included are a time line, atlas, glossary and a link to further information about the Library of Congress, including an explanatory video about the Library's work. In addition, there is a separate feature that enables the user to specifically search for sound files, pictures, text files, etc.

Several related activities are supplied with the CD, all following a framework of inquiry, observation, analysis and synthesis. The lessons are also developed according to preview, process and product. While the activities are well written and can be adapted in any classroom, the sources could easily be used to supplement most U.S. history or government texts. It would also be relatively easy for instructors to develop their own activities. In addition, it is obvious that the selection of materials on each CD has been evaluated and is worthwhile.

The downsides to this product are that it is somewhat difficult to see the menu bar choices (file, edit, etc.), because they are slightly hidden at the top of the screen. It is also difficult to determine what kind of medium some of the files actually are. For example, a clip of Jackie Robinson on Meet the Press was listed as a sound file, however, the file wouldn't play. It took several minutes of investigation to realize that this was actually a transcript of the interview rather than an actual sound clip. In addition, it is somewhat difficult to cut and paste information about the topics from the collection to a word processor or presentation software, although it can be done via 'alt+tab.'

None of these issues, however, overly impact the worthiness of the software. It is obvious that Classroom Connect recognized the implications of the ability of technology to deliver primary source material to any classroom, and theseprograms would be an excellent addition to any social studies curriculum.

 

Michael Hutchison
Social Studies Teacher
Lincoln High School
Vincennes, IN

 

Contact Information
Classroom Connect
Brisbane, CA
(800) 638-1639
www.classroomconnect.com

To the historian as well as the teacher, the use of Primary Sources gives new insight to the study of history. The use of Primary Sources, those which come directly from the past and include diaries, photos, sound recordings, speeches and so on, can make history come alive to the student and researcher. Making history come alive is the goal of these two CD-ROM-based programs, created by Classroom Connect with the cooperation of the Library of Congress.

Both of the programs were installed on two different systems, a Pentium II 333 desktop with 64 MB of memory and a DVD drive, as well as a Pentium II 333 laptop system with a conventional CD-ROM drive. The documentation specifically suggests that it 'is desirable to have at least one computer with a modem and Internet connection.' This is necessary to access various Web resources for both students and teachers. These resources include an online help page as well as links to Classroom Connect's homepage, the Classroom Connect-Primary Sources page, the Library of Congress home page, the American Memory Collections page, and a learning page that provides tips for using the American Memory collections, activities and related American Memory programs. While the software loaded and worked equally well on both machines, the software was more effective on the desktop system with Internet access, than on the laptop without access.

Installation of the programs was extremely easy. The installation of one program allows the user to interchange any American Memory program without having to go through the installation process again. Once installed, the user can access the program by selecting the Primary Sources icon under programs on the Windows start menu. Program navigation is relatively simple with the use of icons at the bottom of the screen, including the title of the program and an icon for data cards that allow the user to see the whole selection on the CD. Also included are a time line, atlas, glossary and a link to further information about the Library of Congress, including an explanatory video about the Library's work. In addition, there is a separate feature that enables the user to specifically search for sound files, pictures, text files, etc.

Several related activities are supplied with the CD, all following a framework of inquiry, observation, analysis and synthesis. The lessons are also developed according to preview, process and product. While the activities are well written and can be adapted in any classroom, the sources could easily be used to supplement most U.S. history or government texts. It would also be relatively easy for instructors to develop their own activities. In addition, it is obvious that the selection of materials on each CD has been evaluated and is worthwhile.

The downsides to this product are that it is somewhat difficult to see the menu bar choices (file, edit, etc.), because they are slightly hidden at the top of the screen. It is also difficult to determine what kind of medium some of the files actually are. For example, a clip of Jackie Robinson on Meet the Press was listed as a sound file, however, the file wouldn't play. It took several minutes of investigation to realize that this was actually a transcript of the interview rather than an actual sound clip. In addition, it is somewhat difficult to cut and paste information about the topics from the collection to a word processor or presentation software, although it can be done via 'alt+tab.'

None of these issues, however, overly impact the worthiness of the software. It is obvious that Classroom Connect recognized the implications of the ability of technology to deliver primary source material to any classroom, and theseprograms would be an excellent addition to any social studies curriculum.

 

Michael Hutchison
Social Studies Teacher
Lincoln High School
Vincennes, IN

 

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To the historian as well as the teacher, the use of Primary Sources gives new insight to the study of history. The use of Primary Sources, those which come directly from the past and include diaries, photos, sound recordings, speeches and so on, can make history come alive to the student and researcher. Making history come alive is the goal of these two CD-ROM-based programs, created by Classroom Connect with the cooperation of the Library of Congress.

Both of the programs were installed on two different systems, a Pentium II 333 desktop with 64 MB of memory and a DVD drive, as well as a Pentium II 333 laptop system with a conventional CD-ROM drive. The documentation specifically suggests that it 'is desirable to have at least one computer with a modem and Internet connection.' This is necessary to access various Web resources for both students and teachers. These resources include an online help page as well as links to Classroom Connect's homepage, the Classroom Connect-Primary Sources page, the Library of Congress home page, the American Memory Collections page, and a learning page that provides tips for using the American Memory collections, activities and related American Memory programs. While the software loaded and worked equally well on both machines, the software was more effective on the desktop system with Internet access, than on the laptop without access.

Installation of the programs was extremely easy. The installation of one program allows the user to interchange any American Memory program without having to go through the installation process again. Once installed, the user can access the program by selecting the Primary Sources icon under programs on the Windows start menu. Program navigation is relatively simple with the use of icons at the bottom of the screen, including the title of the program and an icon for data cards that allow the user to see the whole selection on the CD. Also included are a time line, atlas, glossary and a link to further information about the Library of Congress, including an explanatory video about the Library's work. In addition, there is a separate feature that enables the user to specifically search for sound files, pictures, text files, etc.

Several related activities are supplied with the CD, all following a framework of inquiry, observation, analysis and synthesis. The lessons are also developed according to preview, process and product. While the activities are well written and can be adapted in any classroom, the sources could easily be used to supplement most U.S. history or government texts. It would also be relatively easy for instructors to develop their own activities. In addition, it is obvious that the selection of materials on each CD has been evaluated and is worthwhile.

The downsides to this product are that it is somewhat difficult to see the menu bar choices (file, edit, etc.), because they are slightly hidden at the top of the screen. It is also difficult to determine what kind of medium some of the files actually are. For example, a clip of Jackie Robinson on Meet the Press was listed as a sound file, however, the file wouldn't play. It took several minutes of investigation to realize that this was actually a transcript of the interview rather than an actual sound clip. In addition, it is somewhat difficult to cut and paste information about the topics from the collection to a word processor or presentation software, although it can be done via 'alt+tab.'

None of these issues, however, overly impact the worthiness of the software. It is obvious that Classroom Connect recognized the implications of the ability of technology to deliver primary source material to any classroom, and theseprograms would be an excellent addition to any social studies curriculum.

 

Michael Hutchison
Social Studies Teacher
Lincoln High School
Vincennes, IN

 

Classroom Connect
Brisbane, CA
(800) 638-1639
www.classroomconnect.com

This article originally appeared in the 10/01/2001 issue of THE Journal.

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