Online Professional Development through the Library of Congress

Library of Congress screenshot
Sun 20 2009

As part of its new home for teachers, the Library of Congress offers self-paced professional development modules online. (Please see this earlier blog post, Bookmark This! Teacher Resources at the Library of Congress.)

The two modules, Introduction to the Library of Congress and Analyzing Primary Sources: Photographs and Prints, don't break new methodological ground, but they do offer an excellent multimedia synthesis of how to use the Library of Congress and how to teach with primary source materials. Many of the examples and definitions work as well in the classroom as they do as professional development tools. Perhaps most helpfully, they may assist teachers in streamlining and consolidating search efforts for classroom resources.

Modules are self-directed, multimedia presentations.

Each self-directed module is divided into chapters, and even experienced teachers may find the orderly progression through definitions and methodology helpful. Chapter Two of the History of the Library of Congress, "What is a Primary Source," for example, includes an interview with a teacher about using the resources of the Library of Congress online—and the advantages of a Library of Congress search over general search engines such as Google. New York teacher Neme Alperstein explains how and why using the Library of Congress collections of primary sources transformed her teaching style.

The professional development modules in conjunction with other sections under Teacher Resources may well serve as one-stop shopping.

The professional development modules integrate seamlessly other materials on the teachers pages—all of which consolidate and group themes and resources of the Library of Congress. Teachers Guides and Analysis Tools offers a series of downloadable work sheets and methodology for utilizing the numerous primary resources categorized under Themed Resources and Primary Source Sets while Collection Connections will take you further into grouped subjects and types of resources.

About the Author

Lee Ann Ghajar is a digital history associate in Public Projects at CHNM and a PhD candidate in American history at George Mason University.