The Wired Humanities Projects group strives to bring the latest research and technological innovations to teachers in the Northwest and across the nation. By delivering web-based content, especially, facsimiles of primary materials such as early manuscripts and maps, students and teachers can explore first hand our cultures and their histories. The web allows us the make current humanities research accessible and affordable to students of all ages.
Over the past 12 years, we have brought new technologies to University of Oregon faculty so that they could, in turn, enliven their classrooms with their own research. One such project was our Digital Teaching Units project.
We have built upon our own expertise in Mesoamerica and digital resources to host two NEH Summer Institutes for School Teachers (2008 and 2010).
NEH Summer Institutes
Our first attempt to host an NEH seminar or Institute – a seminar on Gender in Medieval Europe for University and College faculty – failed. However, subsequent applications have been successful – all with Mesoamerican cultures and histories as their focus.
The overall goal of the Mesoamerica Institutes is to increase such content in the curricula of our schools, whether in language courses, social studies, or the arts, and to build appreciation for the heritage embraced by a large percentage of our population and our neighbors. These institutes give our faculty with research expertise in Mexico a chance to spend time in the field, we build solid relationships by involving Mexican colleagues, and we are able to share the free digital collections and tools that we have created with devoted users. We have had the fortune of having government support for these endeavors. One was held in Oregon and another we held in southern Mexico two years later. Because of the success and popularity of these programs, and we are preparing to return to Oaxaca in 2011.
National Endowment for the Humanities Summer Institutes for Schoolteachers
- 2011, Oaxaca, Mexico: “Mesoamerican Cultures and their Histories: Spotlight on Oaxaca“
- 2010, Oaxaca, Mexico: “Mesoamerican Cultures and their Histories: Spotlight on Oaxaca”
- 2008, Eugene, Oregon: ”From the Yucatan to the ‘Halls of Moctezuma’ — Mesoamerican Cultures and their Histories”
One feature of our work with teachers in the NEH Summer Institutes is the on-going creation of a space in Second Life (and soon to be in Open Sim) where we hope to create a virtual representation of certain spaces within Oaxaca city and state, where teachers can share their curricular materials and take their students for learning events. As these virtual spaces are under creation, we are assembling here some of the resources that will play a part in the virtual educational experience.
Digital Teaching Units: Gender in History and Culture
Our first efforts began in 1997 with the launching of what we called the Digital Teaching Units: Gender in History and Culture (DTU) project. Funded by the Center for the Study of Women in Society, this project has engaged over a dozen University of Oregon faculty and two local area high school teachers in developing web-based digital resources they could use to insert enlivened presentations of their own research in their teaching. Many are still being used regularly in classes, and we are working with faculty to keep their materials up to date.