Curriculum E-Learning History

Learn Online, Think Fiveable

I am excited about my position with Fiveable, because it brings together the animating ideas from the beginning of this blog—the pedagogic possibilities presented by e-learning—with my current focus on globalizing and decolonizing World History curricula.

The coming school year will be my 30th as a history educator. I am looking forward to a new chapter in my professional life as Lead AP World Teacher for Fiveable, a social learning platform and start up company. AP World History is one of nineteen subjects offered by Fiveable. As lead teacher I am privileged to work with an outstanding twenty-person team of educators and students to present live review as streaming videos for learning and teaching AP World History. Fiveable live reviews create opportunities for learners and teachers from around the world to interact in real time. Not only can participants learn from an expert, but they can also ask questions and interact with other learners Live reviews streams, and replays are available Fiveable Plus for $5 per month.

New Possibilities

I am excited about this new position because it brings together the animating ideas from the beginning of this blog—the pedagogic possibilities presented by e-learning—with my current focus on globalizing and decolonizing World History curricula. Social learning online could democratize education by making high quality learning opportunities available to anyone with access to a smart phone. In World History this can include removing biases of the legacy curriculum from World History courses. In general, social studies teachers’ familiarity with Eurocentric versions of World History can lead them to cover European elements of World History in more detail, thus leaving less time and emphasis for other areas of the World. Fiveable can push back against these biases by offering live reviews of global content.

In addition to coordinating a weekly array of live review streams of AP World History content and skills, I will host monthly live reviews discussing how ways to globalize and decolonize World History curricula. I look forward to sharing ideas with and learning from both teachers and learners. These streaming videos will include ideas and materials from this website in an interactive forum. The framing of the new AP World History: Modern course is disappointingly regressive, but far from hopeless. I plan to contribute ideas to and create a space for decolonizing World History curricula.

Decolonizing Classroom Coverage of the Middle Ages

This weekend on working on my first event in this series: Teaching the Middle Ages Globally. Click here, open the “Professional Development” folder, and click on the event to save your spot. Participants will need a free Fiveable account.

I have taken phrase “Global Middle Ages” from recent scholarly works, such as the Global Middle Ages Project and a recent supplemental issue of Past & Present. For me as a high school World History teacher, the idea of a Global Middle Ages is simply that we can and should understand the period before 1450 CE as World History. The Medieval Period was a time of significant interregional exchange. Moreover, many societies were significant centers for these exchanges. Treating the “Middle Ages” as the study of European society is ahistoric.

The legacy curriculum is a live and well in the period after classical civilizations and before the early modern period. As I’ve noted the European History that is taught in secondary schools as”The Middle Ages” is not state of the art for the discipline. Hence, the first step is decolonizing discussion of the period by stepping out of the “European tunnel of time.” European developments in this period are important, not more so than those in other regions. Secondly, history teachers need to present multiple areas of the world centers of production and exchange. Join me on Wednesday, September 4th at 9 PM Eastern.

Going Forward

I am planning live reviews that decolonize World History for 9 PM Eastern on the second Wednesday of each month from October through April. Here is the tentative line up:

  • First Global Age, 10/9
  • Decolonizing the Age of Revolutions, 11/13
  • Decolonizing Industrialization, 12/11
  • Colonialism, 1/8
  • World War One, 2/12
  • Global 1919, 3/11
  • Post-War; or, Decolonizing Coverage of Decolonization, 4/8

Please make suggestions for sub topics and resources in comments below. Most live reviews on Fiveable are designed with students in mind, but teachers and students can learn from each other. I’m looking forward to learning together, online.

By Eric Beckman

I am a veteran high school history teacher interested in decolonizing history curricula, anti-racist pedagogy, and e-learning.

Let me know what you think!

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