What We’re Reading: August 28, 2014

Today’s What We’re Reading features questions about the value of big data for history, New York City’s lack of a birthday party, historical depictions in an Egyptian soap opera, and much more!

Computers in the classroom
Fall of New Amsterdam

Schools Opt to Shelve History Books, Go Digital

In a growing number of school districts, education officials are declining to purchase new social studies textbooks and instead are encouraging teachers to find alternatives.

Using Pinterest to Teach Women’s Equality Day

Historian Michelle Moravec commemorates the ratification of the 19th Amendment with a post on using Pinterest in the classroom to teach about activism and women’s rights.

Can Computers Replace Historians?

BBC Technology correspondent Rory Cellan-Jones has a skeptical take on claims about using big data about historical events to predict the future.

Anniversaries and memory

350 Years Ago, New Amsterdam Became New York. Don’t Expect a Party.

Don’t take it personally if you have not been invited to the 350th birthday party–none is scheduled in the city. The reasons behind New Yorkers’ nearly unanimous indifference to this anniversary are, well, historical…

British Embassy Celebrates Burning Down of White House in “Tasteless” Tweet

Lighthearted tweet on the 200th anniversary of the burning of government buildings in Washington by British forces lands the British Embassy in hot water.

Teaching and Education

Generation Later, Poor Are Still Rare at Elite Colleges

Surveys of top colleges found virtually no change from the 1990s to 2012 in elite college enrollment of students who are less well off despite a huge increase in the number of such students going to college.

How Can Teachers Talk to Their Students about Ferguson?

Marcia Chatelain (Georgetown Univ.) argues on St. Louis Public Radio that a historian’s perspective can help us think about Ferguson, Missouri, and shows that a history educator can contribute to a conversation on talking to children about events there.

Exorcising Ghosts from Classrooms: “The Teacher Wars,” Dana Goldstein’s History of Education

A New York Times review of Goldstein’s book on the history of education.

Being Nehru for 2 Days

In the first of a three-part series, a professor looks at the use of simulation games in the classroom.

Fun and Offbeat

In the TV Queen’s Court

A popular Egyptian soap opera, Saraya Abdeen, depicts 19th-century Queen Khoshyar and the court of Khedive Ismail Pasha.

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