How Alarming Is The Big History Project?
Gates Foundation has been involved in American education system for years through educational initiatives and various policy projects. Despite the critics, I personally admire the dedication of a brilliant man, who can see the importance of education in our country. The New York Times ran the article about the Big History Project, along with the incoherent opposing views on Gates’ qualifications to choose our national curriculum and other irrelevant references to his personal wealth. While I encourage opposing view(s) with my colleagues and students, I don’t see the validity of it when it comes to the Big History Project.
The Big History Project is not actually solely about history in traditional terms. It’s a history project about our world and earth. The only way student can understand complex problems is to understand various variables and influences from multiple disciplines. Students will instantly dismiss the importance of art and history if there is no social context to go along with it.
“Most kids experience school as one damn course after another; there is nothing to build connections between the courses that they take.” noted Professor Bob Bain. Our national curriculum has failed to engage students on all levels, from the struggling to the gifted.
The Big History Project is comprehensive and engaging. I work with the group of gifted in upper elementary grades and during our enrichment after school program we have covered numerous topics, from Pangaea to spreading of the Atlantic Ocean. So far, it is the best example of technology integration in my classroom. Homeschoolers would love the Big History Project as well.
I am a curriculum writer, teacher, and educational technology specialist. I want my students to succeed. It doesn’t really matter where the curriculum comes from as long as it does what it is supposed to. The Big History connects the dots between science and social studies. What does our over-consumption have to do with dying coral reef?
We really have to decide as teachers, parents and citizens if we want our students caught in a political fire or do we want them to succeed.
The only unusual thing about the Big History Project is how well students respond to it. This is the educational technology integration that we all waited for. Lets use it.
Lena, M. Ed.