A New History Curriculum, Brought to You by Bill Gates
Career Path : Education News
Self-professed nerd and obsessive knowledge seeker, Bill Gates is the kind of guy who spends his free time watching educational videos just looking for inspiration. Ever since retiring as CEO of Microsoft in 2008, Bill Gates has become a full-time philanthropist, donating millions of dollars to education through the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation.
Watching these educational videos lead Gates to discovering the “Big History” DVD series taught by Australian David Christian. What caught the attention of the former CEO was Big History’s approach to multidisciplinary teaching, spanning subjects like history, biology, chemistry and astronomy in one lesson. Seeing a potential to revolutionize the current history curriculum in North America, Gates met with Christian to discuss bringing these videos to the high school classroom as their own course.
The two collaborated on creating a curriculum for the course, with Gates insisting they be taught with a largely digital approach. One of the major focus points of the Big History program is for lessons to create connections between other high school courses, making lessons feel more relevant to students and improving student engagement. The program started off in five high schools, and has grown this year to 1,200 schools and 15,000 students. The Big History program continues to expand, as more schools recognize its potential as an alternative to current social studies or world history classes.
You can check out a little more about the Big History approach from this TEDTalk by David Christian himself.