The general goal of the Reel American History project is to foster ...
The general goal of the Reel American History project is to foster critical thinking about a matter of enduring cultural attention, especially where young people are concerned: the formation of our national identity.
Reel American History is designed to be a "Collaborative Shared Resource". It aims at being a large, ongoing, cumulative, collaborative project that involves many students and many faculty over a long period of time. We strive to engage students in authentic learning – making students partners, even leaders, in researching American culture. Not only do we want to host the "novice in the archive", but we want to be an archive built by novices. We value pedagogy that is active, hands-on, inquiry-driven, student-centered, dialogic, constructivist, and based on discovery.
Therefore, we invite high school, college, and university teachers to share ownership in the project by not only teaching from the archive but, especially and even more importantly, by adding student work to it.
Specifically, we encourage teachers to consider our suggestions for using our site in these five ways:
as a textbook for your classroom work
as a first-stop resource for research projects by your students on films in the archive
as a publisher of good work by your students
as a stimulant for the creation of other kinds of projects relating to film representation of American history
as a broker for projects that join students from different schools