Fall 2021 Virtual Teacher Institute

All of the sessions from our Fall 2021 Virtual Teacher Institute
An online participant watches a webinar on their laptop.

Watch videos of the 17 sessions from our second annual Virtual Teacher Institute, and download all of the associated materials.

Over three days, we offered seventeen workshop sessions and engaged with educators across the globe. Browse and watch the sessions offered at our Fall 2021 Virtual Teacher Institute. The Virtual Teacher Institute is a free program funded by the HTR Foundation and the members of the American Battlefield Trust. 

General History Sessions

Revolutionary War Era Sessions

Civil War Era Sessions

World War II, Modern U.S. History Sessions


General History Sessions:


Seeing the First Draft of History: Technology, the News, and Media Ethics 

For all grade levels: The evolution of communication technology creates challenges for the news business every day. That, in turn, can create challenges for teachers who try to use the news to talk about current events as well as historical ones. How does technology let us experience the news? How does it challenge us to be ethical communicators? How can we use those situations as teaching moments? From the birth of photojournalism at Antietam to Walter Cronkite in Vietnam to the live horrors of the collapsing Twin Towers on 9/11, we’ll examine some case studies that redefined the way the news media showed us the first draft of history and the ethical challenges they posed.


Women's History + Coding for Girls at the New-York Historical Society 

For all grade levels: Where are all the women in history textbooks? Join us to learn about how the New-York Historical Society is working to bridge the gender gap in history and technology through our unique humanities-based programs.  In our Tech Scholars program for high school girls, students learn coding to design and build their own digital projects—including games, apps, and websites about a woman in history.  Participate in an interactive coding demonstration of our Tech Scholars program and learn more about our model for project based learning that combines history and STEM.  


The Wonders of Technology, Past, and Present

For all grade levels: Were movies a “thing” in the 1860s?  Were Revolutionary War cannons truly archaic? Would Civil War soldiers have benefitted from today’s Triage and 9-1-1 systems?  Will today’s tech look ancient in a few decades?  By comparing technology of the past with that of today, we can see the roots of today’s gadgets, and, perhaps, understand that we are but part of a technology continuum.   From 19th century social media to the first virtual reality, Join Garry Adelman for a lively presentation that may help demonstrate to students that today’s technology is not all that!


Technology Isn't Just Machines- History and Storytelling (Keynote Session)

For all grade levels: When you think about technology, the mind conjures images of tablets, smartphones, and computers. Technology is more than just gadgets that make our lives easier, technology can be as simple as the printing press or the written word. Join New York Times best-selling author Jeff Shaara for an evening discussion of how history, storytelling, technology, and the classroom all intersect to bring history to life.


Revolutionary War Era Sessions:


October Thunder: The Artillery at Yorktown

For Middle & High School levels: Following a summer campaign, British Lt. Gen. Charles, Lord Cornwallis assumed a position at Yorktown in August 1781. With a combined force Continental and French force, Gen. George Washington moved rapidly to encircle Cornwallis. When the siege opened in early October, Washington relied heavily on his artillery, rather than his infantry, to reduce the British defenses. The performance of Washington’s guns ultimately paved the way to victory. Join Dan Davis, the Trust’s Education Manager, for a discussion of the impact of the artillery in one of the most crucial chapters of the American Revolution. Learn about its organization, employment and the critical figures who directed this arm in the campaign that achieved independence for the United States.


Revolutionary Virtual Learning: Going Beyond the Classroom

For all grade levels: How can teachers use technology to help students travel beyond the four walls of the classroom?  How can virtual experiences make historical content immersive, interactive, and engaging?  Join Michael Hensinger, Manager of School Programs at the Museum of the American Revolution, as he introduces and explores two different 360-degree virtual tours available on the Museum’s website.  Educators in attendance will have the opportunity to see both resources in action and then go hands-on with them as they ask questions and discuss different applications for classroom learning.


Committees of Correspondence = 18th Century Social Media?

For all grade levels: Information. Communication. Solidarity. Linkage. Friendship. Point-of-view. Identity. Current Events. These words describe reasons in the 20th century why people joined and continue to join social media platforms, especially Facebook. Approximately 240 years before Facebook was launched in February 2004, the first major attempt at achieving all the proponents above was the job function of the various Committees of Correspondence established in the thirteen American Colonies. If news took forever to travel, how did colonists favorable to the independence movement build consensus? Learn about what their fellow patriotic brethren were doing in far-off Massachusetts? Easy. The various colonies developed Committees of Correspondence. The idea was unique to the American Revolutionary movement. In fact, the first committee was formed in Boston in 1764 in response to a particular custom regulation passed by Great Britain’s Parliament and deemed oppressive by colonists. The committee decided on a course of action of protest and then disbanded.


A Revolutionary Experience: Utilizing 21st-Century Technology to Tell an 18th-Century Story

For all grade levels: The Boston Tea Party is one of the most universally recognizable moments in American History, yet it is also one of the most misunderstood. The Boston Tea Party Ships & Museum specializes in combining immersive exhibits and technology, 1st-person historical interpretation, theatrical performance, and 18th-Century artifacts to tell the complicated story of the Destruction of the Tea of Dec 16, 1773.  Learn how this combination of teaching methods, and both in-person and virtual programming, makes this history accessible to audiences and students from around the world.


Researching the Revolution: A Teacher's Guide to Accessible Primary Research for the Classroom

For all grade levels: One of the most exciting ways to teach history today is through the unfiltered lens of primary research. We are fortunate to live in an age where the internet provides us with original documents from around the world, from not only acknowledged great figures but from those whose stories are seldom told. Even better, while some sites require a fee for subscription to view, many are completely free. While reading 18th Century manuscripts may be suitable for older students, even younger ones may benefit from transcriptions on some sites, taking some of the challenges out of the process for younger students. Join us as we explore the world of the American Revolution through the documents of those who lived through it!


The Technology of Medicinal Foods & Herbs of the 18th Century Garden

For all grade levels: There was a surprising amount of medicinal technology growing in 18th century gardens. Home remedies to diseases that plagued families could be harvested right outside the door. Explore the medicinal properties of common herbs and produce that took root in these homegrown, plant-based, garden pharmacies.


Civil War Era Sessions:


Fast and Far-Reaching: Changes in Medical Technology During the Civil War

For all grade levels: The Civil War necessitated fast and far-reaching changes in medical technology and care.  Participate in parts of Gettysburg National Military Park's "Field Hospital" program for students to learn more about the advances in medical technology, concepts and understanding over the course of the Civil War.  Activities include an interactive medical timeline, Medical Corps roleplay, triage and first aid procedures, and demonstrations of battlefield evacuation and surgery.  


"Ever on the Alert": Civil War Signal Corps, Codes, and Ciphers

For all grade levels: Among the most lasting advancements in military technology during the American Civil War was the development of more sophisticated means of communication. From the Signal Corps system of wig-wag messages via flags and torches, to the military telegraph and cipher codes, during the conflict participants modernized the ability to interact over greater distances. During this program, special attention will be paid to the people who created and operated these technologies, show how the systems were developed, and explore their impacts on Civil War campaigns. Participants will have the opportunity to try to interpret signal messages and break codes!

Volunteers, Substitutes, and Drafted Men: Enlisting in the Civil War

For all grade levels: While many historians have looked at the issue of why Union and Confederate soldiers fought in the Civil War, historian Bryan Cheeseboro takes a look into the process of enlistment and drafts. This presentation includes a history of the various enlistment drives; the impact of the draft and substitutes; a look at why men chose the branches they served in; and separating the myths from the facts of enlisting. 


Timeless Technology?: Canals and Masonry Seacoast Fortifications in the Civil War Era

For all grade levels: The Civil War took place on the heels of the first Industrial Revolution in the U.S. Canal construction helped create a domestic economy, and masonry seacoast fortifications were designed to protect both U.S. territory and its commercial interests from European powers in the Western Hemisphere. By the time that the Civil War broke out, both canals and masonry forts were becoming overshadowed but were not yet obsolete. This session will explore how and why canals and forts were constructed, how they were used during the war, and how advances in technology rendered them relics of the past.


World War II Era, Modern U.S. History Sessions: 


“Who is Bill Mauldin? Using digital Primary Sources from the Pritzker Military Museum and Library”

For all grade levels: Explore the cartoons of Bill Mauldin’s decades-long career with Adam Foreman, Associate Director of Education at Pritzker Military Museum and Library. Pritzker has the largest digitized collection of Bill Mauldin cartoons spanning from before Willie and Joe to the Civil Rights Movement, Nixon and Watergate, Carter, and even the Persian Gulf War.  In this session, we will review the Museum and Library’s special collection, discuss strategies to use them in classrooms, and introduce future educational opportunities at Pritzker Military Museum and Library.