Wednesday, February 4, 2009

Remix America – A Great Tool for Black History Month Lessons

When I was working with a committee to develop technology enhanced social studies professional development I was reminded that one of the most important concepts for students to grasp was the idea of history then and now. It is essential that students connect what was to what is. What better time than during Black History month to discover a technology tool that does just that.

Remixamerica.org looks like a great classroom learning tool for students trying to see the relevancy of present and past events throughout America's history giving classes the tools and resources they need to remix America Then with America Now. In honor of black history month, Remix America is showcasing videos that mark milestones in the history of Civil Rights. As the website states, “Who needs this year's Lincoln Memorial Concert when you can hear Marian Anderson singing My Country Tis of Thee on those same steps, seventy years ago?”

The easy editing tools provided on the site makes creating videos a simple, fun, and educational experience. Students can take the various old and new videos on the site and mix them together to create their original takes on history. Remix America is a nonpartisan, nonprofit organization that uses innovative online editing software to enable students from around the country to make their own videos, PSAs and remixes – entirely online.

Remix America inspires students to draw parallels between the present and the past by featuring seminal speeches and events from American History that enable young people to express themselves and take action on the issues that matter to them. Remix America’s Erika Johansson shares that teachers around America have stumbled upon the software and incorporated into their classroom. One teacher asked her students to take a quote from Shakespeare’s Julius Caesar and apply it to the 2008 election. Another asked her students to create PSAs on the issues that matter most to them – censorship, war, civil rights.” You can browse through our “Favorite Remixes” section to see some of these great remixes.

Ms. Johansson is eager to work with innovative educators and brainstorm ideas on how you can incorporate Remix America into classrooms. She is also available via email to assist teachers who have any questions or ideas.

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