Article Summary: The Learning Network
The article on The Learning Network projects detailed how teachers can help advance student achievement and increase the learning standards for students. According to the article, the project aimed to promote the Blackstone Valley's history using technology-rich curriculum that will both address the need to inform and to learn. With the help of teachers coming from several different districts, The Learning Network came to be.
Part of the training was the education of the teachers on the use of the Internet, desktop publishing software, and techniques on how to develop the curriculum. With this knowledge, the Blackstone Valley Virtual Museum was created in the hope to bring Blackstone Valley in the consciousness of its citizens as the origin of the Industrial Revolution, as well as to people all over the world interested in learning about the Valley and social studies, in general. With the creation of the virtual museum, the teams involved in the project also hoped that it would inspire other communities to follow suit.
Through the integration of technology and history, students' eagerness on learning about history and other social sciences related topics were enhanced. For instance, the article pointed out the curriculum designed for young learners in the pre-K through grade one levels, which "brought" the young pupils virtually to a hat-making factory because they were too young to participate in similar field trips. The virtual slide show became the introductory discussion to the interactive bulletin board for kids that introduced them to the concepts relating to the American Industrial Revolution. Thus, the pupils gained by learning about the hat-making trade as well as the history of the Industrial Revolution. Similarly, other curriculums offered information on effects of geography, economic concepts, and American ad Massachusetts economic history, among others.
The article also mentioned that even though the project showed initial success, a number of improvements are still needed to push the project into fruition. For one, some of the sites are still said to be "under construction", while in some working sites, lesson plans have not been posted yet. The project would have been a thorough success had all resources been in place. However, one thing that should be pointed out is how students learned so much about the history of Blackstone Valley using computer technology as medium, thus, the goal of merging both history and technology was a success.