Launching MakerSpace for the Humanities!

Polk Technology Specialist, Kay Teehan, exclaims: “I can’t believe how fast and easy it is to use StoryMaker! I research the archives right from the app, write my story, enter links, note sources, and presto—I’ve created a multimedia story complete with beautiful images, videos and reliable citations ready for publication for learners and teachers around the world as well as my own students.”

Last week we launched MakerSpace for the Humanities,

the first integrated solution for teacher and student work in humanities research, thinking, writing and citing. AwesomeStories Free Archive and AwesomeStories premium applications together deliver this opportunity to work and learn with creativity and rigor. We hope you are going to try it out!

Now teachers can put a lesson, a unit or their whole curriculum up online in story form– complete with primary sources!

Now students can write papers, articles, group projects or stories using StoryMaker!

Once teachers got their hands on the pilot version of our StoryMaker app, “MakerSpace for the Humanities” was born. It became clear that they could produce not stories to launch lessons and units, but digital curriculum. Students could create not only stories and articles but also term papers and group collaborative projects.

Given the Internet information cacophony, political, scientific, cultural history stories circulate unexamined. Today’s learners have the benefit of easy access to mass quantities of questionable information online. Students need guidance in how to find reliable information, how to identify primary sources, how to frame research questions, how to put together a cohesive analysis of a question, and how to build a story from a well-researched background, how to write it clearly, and how to cite information with respect and specificity. MakerSpace for the Humanities provides that guidance, support, resources and tools, drawing on the AwesomeStories Archive, on the AwesomeStoryMaker (ASM) app, and linking to over 100 world-renowned archives.

AwesomeStories is working with pilot schools to track the increases in student engagement, research, writing and critical thinking skills. Now that students can research and build their own stories, these gains are expected to rise. And now that teachers can take their curriculum, put it in story form and build out chapters with multimedia primary sources, some purchases of textbooks and even e-textbooks can be avoided. Teachers can then share with each other, their district or beyond.

Most educators agree that STEM students need STEM MakerSpaces—support and tools to explore their fields, to learn by making. Students at all levels in the humanities—language arts and social studies fields—need similar support and tools. Given the transformation of Internet research access and the transformation of education and work, students need access to reliable archives and scaffolding to learn research, writing, and citing practices. The focus on STEM is critical for young people and our economy. STEM MakerSpace projects have brought inquiry-based and experiential learning to students who are now able to see careers for themselves in the future, motivating them to learn what is needed to reach education levels, career skills and eventual success as contributing members of society.

Current Common Core and state assessments demand the same kind of critical thinking, ability to research to find information to generate ideas, questions and conclusions, to drive understanding forward across the humanities — in language arts, social studies, the arts plus sports, film, STEM concepts, and history.

MakerSpace for the Humanities takes research and critical thinking to the next level. Teachers and students can use the archive and the apps to scaffold research, writing and citing. Students can complete papers or write stories. Teachers can write a story to launch a lesson, mount a unit or an entire course in the multimedia, evidence-based story form. Membership costs only $59 a year for a teacher and up to 30 students or $17 for an individual teacher, student or lifelong learner.

AwesomeStories welcomes collaborations with districts, schools, teachers, homeschool parents and students of all ages. Sign Up online or email [email protected]


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