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Voices of America

The overall average of teachers with master's degrees in these southwest Ohio districts is 64 percent, but only one percent of teachers of American history and related courses have a master's degree in history. In addition to boosting their content knowledge, teachers want to learn to use historical thinking skills and Web 2.0 technologies. Each year, project activities will include a 5-day summer institute and three 1-day seminars, plus online discussions and a 1-day field experience. Seminars will be presented by historians, professors and teacher leaders to combine scholarship, primary source analysis and teaching strategies; summer institutes will be intensive explorations of content, historical thinking skills and pedagogy. Teachers may elect to participate in more than one year and enter the teacher leader component of the project; this will prepare them to provide ongoing professional development to their colleagues. Voices of America aims to free teachers from textbook-based teaching and to re-ignite their enthusiasm for American history. Annual themes will be developed with an emphasis on using founding documents, determining the impacts of the actions of individuals, connecting national themes to state and local history, understanding economic development, and examining population movement and growth. All content will connect to state standards and will be eligible for graduate or continuing education credits. Field visits to local and regional sites will be tied to the year's theme and state standards. Project participants will create original multimedia history resources, lessons, document-based questions and more, all of which will be available on a Web site ("Gateway to History") and through presentations at professional conferences.