TeachingTexas.org: A Collaborative Model for Disseminating and Accessing Online Materials



Thursday, September 18, 2014 -
11:15am to 12:15pm



Texas State Historical Association Red Star Logo

About This Session

The biggest challenge for Texas history educators is finding unique and innovative ways to create an interest in history among their students, while at the same time, locate primary and secondary source material,write and develop lesson plans, and find ways to make the study of history relevant to the lives of their students. The purpose of TeachingTexas.org is to provide a tool for educators and resource providers, to share diverse materials for teaching Texas Studies, both to save time and promote awareness of what is available.  As an added bonus, students can use the site to find credible and reliable resources for the study of History.

Moderator:  Stephen Cure, Texas State Historical Association

Presenter #1: JoNeitaKelly, Texas State Historical Association

TeachingTexas.org is a collaborative project of the Texas State Historical Association, the Portal to Texas History, Humanities Texas,and numerous other partners, which provides a platform for teachers and students to discover available resources necessary for the teaching and study of Texas history.  Source providers can add material, such as online primary and secondary sources, staff development, special events, interactive website and apps, awards, books and educator guides, and museum exhibits and programs. By adding material, our partners gain visibility for their collections, programs, and events, have a free method of distributing information to educators, and participate in a larger network of Texas history education; making connections to others in the field and opening up opportunities for collaboration.   Texas Insights,a companion e-newsletter was reintroduced to help create ongoing communication with teachers regarding available resources on the site.  The newsletter promotes new additions to the site, effective pedagogical strategies, and shares opportunities for teachers and students.  In the continuing mission to provide resources to educators, TeachingTexas.org can also be found on Facebook.   This avenue provides an opportunity to announce new collections, exhibits, and events in a timely manner, and is an additional way to reach teachers and their students with new information.  

Presenter #2: Tara Carlisle, The Portal to Texas History

Since 2007, The Portal to Texas History and the Texas State Historical Association have enjoyed a fruitful partnership due to a shared digitization initiative. The Portal to Texas History, a digital gateway created and maintained by the UNT Libraries, comprises 370,000 unique Texas historical materials that belong to more than 200 institutions statewide, including the TSHA. UNT Libraries digitized TSHA’s publications the Texas Almanac(1857-2004), Southwestern Historical Quarterly (1897-2004), Texas Historian(1945-2012), and numerous history monographs, and as a result TSHA has become one of the Portal’s most popular contributing partners. Additionally, the TSHA has an educational program that reaches out to thousands of Texas and American history teachers, hosts teacher workshops throughout Texas, and has a website devoted to directing their teacher base to resources like The Portal to Texas History. My presentation will cover specific ways that this collaboration has furthered both organizations’ shared mission to promote and enrich history scholarship through the digital medium.

Presenter #3: Jeanette Sewell, Houston Metropolitan Research Center

Since 2012, the Houston Public Library has partnered with the Houston Metropolitan Research Center (HMRC) to create an Educator Resources website as part of the Houston Area Digital Archives, http://digital.houstonlibrary.org/curriculum/.  Our goal is to connect teachers and students with free and easily accessible materials relating to local history that can be used in the classroom or with existing lesson plans. The Houston Area Digital Archives website was established in 2011 to provide open, online access to a wide variety of archival material that is housed at the HMRC and other area institutions. The Educator Resources page was developed in collaboration with a coworker at the HMRC because, as former teachers, we wanted to make local history more exciting and accessible. My presentation will explore the unique ways that the Educator Resources page links to digital archival material including interactive elements such as timelines and oral history clips and connecting primary sources to TeachingTexas.org.

Presenter #4: Ani Simmons, The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza

The mission of The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza is to “chronicle the assassination andlegacy of President John F. Kennedy; interpret the Dealey Plaza NationalHistoric Landmark District and the John F. Kennedy Memorial Plaza; and present contemporary culture within the context of presidential history.  We also strive to be an impartial, multi-generational destination and forum for exploring the memory and effects of the events surrounding the assassination of President Kennedy, through sharing his legacy and its impact on an ever-changing global society.”  The museum boasts a collection of over 45,000 items, including over 1,200 oral histories. The mission of The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza is reinforced through its Education Department, which conducts school programs and teacher workshops, and holds other unique educational programs and resources. Our education efforts advance the Museum's commitment to outreach, engagement andlearning by a diverse public, and fulfill a responsibility to empower students, teachers and other audiences to understand how and why the past is still relevant. TeachingTexas.org is one way educators can learn what is happening at The Sixth Floor Museum at any time, but was especially useful this school year.  In November 2013, the country commemorated the 50th anniversary of the assassination of President Kennedy, and The Sixth Floor Museum was able to post the large number of education and public programs we were offering, both onsite and via videoconference, to TeachingTexas.org, spreading the word to history teachers all over Texas.


Stephen Cure

  • Texas State Historical Association

Stephen Cure is the Director of Educational Services at the Texas State Historical Association. An Army veteran and 1994 graduate of The University of Texas at Austin, Stephen Cure has over nine years of classroom experience teaching at the middle and high school levels.

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Tara Carlisle

Tara Carlisle is Project Development Librarian at the University of North Texas and is responsible for coordinating digitization projects for the Portal to Texas History. On a daily basis, she works with professionals from museums, archives, colleges and public libraries to add new material to the Portal.

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Ani Simmons

  • The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza

Ani Simmons, the Education Programs Coordinator at The Sixth Floor Museum at Dealey Plaza, joined The Museum in January 2012.  She delivers, creates, schedules and administers The Museum’s programs for schools and teachers.  Ani began her career in museum education after spending 15 years as a teacher of English, History and Humanities at the middle and high school levels in pub

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Jeanette Claire Sewell

  • Rice University
  • Fondren Library

Jeanette Sewell is Database & Metadata Management Coordinator with the Rice University Library.  Jeanette is a graduate of the University of North Texas, and she has presented for the Texas Library Association, Region 4 Education Service Center, and Amigos Library Services among others.

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JoNeita Kelly

  • Texas State Historical Association

JoNeita Kelly is the Adult Education Program Coordinator at the Texas State Historical Association.  A graduate of Texas A & M University –Commerce, JoNeita earned her bachelor’s degree in social studies in 2005.

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