Caring Parents, Where Are You?

Aug 5, 2012 by

by Donna Garner –

 

I can almost guarantee you that the Big Bang History Project (by David Christian – Q&A posted below) is the model from which the Obama administration intends to develop its Common Core Standards for “biology, astronomy, geology, climatology, prehistory, archeology, anthropology, cosmology, natural history, and population and environmental studies.”

 

David Christian’s term “Big Bang” should give the public a clue as to what the philosophy behind this indoctrination of our public school children is meant to be. It is obvious that under this curriculum, students will not be encouraged to study any of the weaknesses of evolution but will be taught a far-left ideology.

 

Bill & Melinda Gates (with billions of dollars at their disposal) have worked right alongside the Obama administration to force the Common Core Standards down our country’s proverbial throats.

 

The following Big Bang Project is an early warning of what lies ahead if Obama is allowed to stay in the White House after Nov. 6, 2012 – more federal takeover of our nation’s schools and our children’s minds through the federal development of ALL the curriculum and courses taught in America’s public schools.

 

Already some 45 or 46 states (plus D. C.) have committed to the Common Core Standards (including curriculum, assessments, teacher evaluations, national database); however, if Obama is defeated and a conservative majority goes to Congress, the appropriations for Common Core Standards (and Race to the Top) most likely will be stopped. There definitely is hope for a change in the White House.

 

Please be sure to go to the following links to read the “wacky” and far-left ideas that Bill & Melinda Gates promote with their billions. How could the parents in our nation be so lackadaisical as to let these two powerful people take over the minds of our nation’s children? — Donna Garner

 

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6.11.12 – “Bill Gates and His Latest Unsettling Experiment” — http://libertylinked.com/posts/9917/bill-gates-and-his-latest/View.aspx

 

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7.10.12 – “Melinda Gates’ False and Dangerous Solution to Poverty” – by Denise J. Hunnell, M. D. — http://cnsnews.com/blog/denise-j-hunnell-md/melinda-gates-false-and-dangerous-solution-poverty

 

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BIG BANG HISTORY PROJECT – BY DAVID CHRISTIAN – FUNDED BY BILL GATES [David Christian is from Sydney, Australia.]

 

http://www.bighistoryproject.com/Pilot-Program/FAQ#WhatIsBigHistory

 

What is big history?
Big history looks at the past on all time scales, from the Big Bang to modernity, seeking out common themes and patterns. It uses a multi-disciplinary approach combining the disciplines of biology, astronomy, geology, climatology, prehistory, archeology, anthropology, cosmology, natural history, and population and environmental studies. Big history arose from a desire to go beyond the specialized and self-contained fields that emerged in the 20th century and grasp history as a whole, looking for common themes across the entire time scale of history.

For an overview of big history, see David Christian’s recent TED Talk:http://www.ted.com/talks/david_christian_big_history.html

What is the Big History Project?
The Big History Project LLC (BHP) was developed to bring the big history course pioneered by David Christian to high schools students and lifelong learners. BHP is sponsored by Bill Gates separately from his work with the Gates Foundation. BHP’s goal is to ignite student passion for learning and encourage interest in history and science through a blended learning model. The course takes a complete look at history – from the Big Bang to the present day – with a heavy emphasis on the use and interpretation of evidence, self-guided exploration and text-based inquiry.

The course is designed to be an elective targeting 9th or 10th graders and all resources are delivered online — subject to individual teacher’s lesson plans. By working collaboratively with teachers, schools, and outside experts, Big History Project will ultimately better serve student needs by constantly refining, improving and adapting the program to fit different learning styles, educator needs and community feedback.

Who is involved in the Big History Project?
We have assembled some of the best and brightest educators and product developers to build this unique course, including:

  • · David Christian; Professor of History at Macquarie University, Sydney [Australia]
    David earned his BA and PhD from Oxford and has taught Russian and world history for many years at Macquarie and San Diego State. He taught the original class in big history and subsequently has published and lectured widely on the subject.
  • · Bob Bain; Associate Professor of History and Education at the University of Michigan
    A former high school teacher, he has been a seven time award winner for teaching and was Michigan’s Social Studies Educator of the Year in 2008. The Carnegie Foundation inducted Bob into its Academy for the Scholarship of Teaching and Learning in 2000. Bob guides the pedagogical development of the Project and oversees the pilot project in the United States.
  • · Intentional Futures; Seattle WA
    Intentional Futures (iF) is a consulting team focused developing the strategy, software and content for the course. iF principals include Michael Dix, Greg Amrofell, Ian Sands and Kevin Russ.
  • · International Big History Association
    The International Big History Association (IBHA) promotes the unified and interdisciplinary study and teaching of the history of Cosmos, Earth, Life and Humanity. Geared to educators and researchers, the IBHA was founded in 2010 and includes academics from leading institutions around the world.

Key academic partners and institutions also include:

  • · Walter Alvarez, University of California, Berkeley
  • · Cynthia Stokes Brown, Dominican University of California
  • · Salman Khan, Khan Academy
  • · Janna Levin, Barnard College at Columbia University
  • · Craig Benjamin, Grand Valley State

2011 US pilot schools include:

  • · Lakeside School: Seattle WA
  • · San Diego H.S.: San Diego, CA
  • · Greenhills School: Ann Arbor MI
  • · Northville H.S.: Northville MI
  • · Rivers School: Weston MA
  • · Brooklyn Latin: New York, NY

The Big History Project LLC is an independent entity currently supported by Bill Gates and managed via bgC3. Larry Cohen and Andrew Cook are officers of Big History Project LLC.

Is this project funded by Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation?
No. While BHP is aligned with the education agenda of the Foundation, the Bill and Melinda Gates Foundation is focused on broad, systemic change. BHP is focused exclusively on bringing this specific course to life.

How long will you support this project?
We have made a long term commitment to building a high quality big history course and expect to pursue it for several years. Our goal is to ensure the free, broad availability of a high quality online experience and robust curriculum – at which point other participants may assume more responsibilities.

Is Big History Project a not-for-profit?
Big History Project LLC is structured as a commercial venture to maintain flexibility as we quickly develop and evolve the curriculum. We do not seek to make any kind of profit from participating schools or partners.

What are the goals of the Big History Project?
We believe that teaching big history has the potential to address three key areas of opportunity in education,. The Big History Project is designed to:

  • · Foster a greater love of learning by addressing a fundamental shortcoming in modern education: compartmentalization. Will big history help students understand and appreciate each area of study more deeply by providing a coherent narrative that links different areas of knowledge within a single course?
  • · Significantly increase interest and performance in science among high school students by highlighting the many links between scientific disciplines and the humanities. By demystifying what it takes to be good at science, will big history help attract a new breed of potential scientists?
  • · Deliver on the promise of online learning by delivering better student outcomes at scale. Will big history’s interdisciplinary nature and evocative subject matter, coupled with a cutting-edge software design, set a new benchmark for how technology can be applied to real learning?

How is the course organized?
Big history is broken down into 3 sections and a total of 20 units spanning 13.7 billion years. Within each unit there are between 10-20 specific content modules covering specific issues, topics, projects and assessments.

Section 1: Formations (the creation of the universe, elements and earth)

  • · Unit 1: What is big history and why should we care?
  • · Unit 2: How do we know when we can trust a story?
  • · Unit 3: How did our understanding of the universe change over time?
  • · Unit 4: What emerged from the Big Bang?
  • · Unit 5: How were stars formed?
  • · Unit 6: What did stars give us?
  • · Unit 7: How did the earth form?
  • · Unit 8: How did the earth take shape?

Section 2: Life (how it began and how it has changed over time)

  • · Unit 9: What is life?
  • · Unit 10: How has life changed over the last 3.8 billion years?
  • · Unit 11: The biosphere — how did astronomy, geology, biology shape our world?

Section 3: Humans (how did people develop; civilization and society)

  • · Unit 12: How did our ancestors evolve?
  • · Unit 13: What makes humans different?
  • · Unit 14: How did the first humans live?
  • · Unit 15: What were the consequences of agriculture?
  • · Unit 16: When, where and how did the first cities, states and agrarian societies appear?
  • · Unit 17: How did the world get more connected before 1500ce?
  • · Unit 18: Why did change begin to accelerate in the last 500 years?
  • · Unit 19: What’s so different about the modern world?
  • · Unit 20: The Future and Past — where have we come from and where are we going?

By framing each unit as a question, we invite students in to explore, question and ultimately develop their own answers. This approach, which can work equally effectively for individuals and groups, is vital to helping students really develop the skills and tools to become well rounded, critical thinkers.

How is the course delivered?
All course content is accessible online to the pilot participants. There is no big history textbook – we envision all of the content being available for free online in perpetuity when the content and curriculum are finalized. Students and teachers will all be issued a personal login to gain access to a specializef site that houses all courseware and content. It is up to each individual teacher to determine optimal approach to using the site. For example, in-class time may focus on group projects or discussion, with students absorbing online content for homework, or the site may be used as a core element of the in-class experience.

Standardized assessments will be delivered via teachers – outside the online experience – to align with specific schools’ needs.

We expect to open the course up publically when all of the content and software has been thoroughly tested.

How are you rolling out the course?
The course will be rolled out in three stages starting in September 2011.

  • · Stage 1: During a small pilot program of 6 US schools and 2 Australian schools will teach an initial version of the course and will evaluate the curriculum, content and assessment strategy.
  • · Stage 2: A larger pilot program of up to 25 US schools will start teaching big history in Sept 2012 to further define the content and delivery model, build out the content set for unique school needs, and prep for public release of the course.
  • · Stage 3: The course will be freely and easily accessible online

We will maintain a relationship with core pilot schools throughout the rollout to continually iterate and improve the program.

Is big history designed to replace World History?
No. Big history is designed to be an interdisciplinary elective and not replace any specific program or course. In the big pilot we will explore delivery models that incorporate World History, Biology or other core science content to work with established courses and requirements.

What does it take to teach big history?
All teachers are invited to consider teaching big history, assuming passion for and commitment to delivering content that spans so many disciplines. The most important thing is a willingness to explore and a personal interest in the subject. Working with our core team, virtually all specific knowledge gaps can be addressed via live help, pre-course support, and by accessing online course content.

Teachers can be drawn from any discipline and co-teaching, perhaps blending one teacher knowledgeable in science and another in history is viable.

What professional development is available to teachers?
We are investing in and supporting a wide range of professional development activities. This includes direct teacher engagement, a core support team, and flexible staffing models for schools.

We plan to offer:

  • · On-Call Support via the University of Michigan team supervised by Professor Bob Bain. Teachers can connect with the team directly for pedagogical guidance, content questions and technical support.
  • · In-Person Teacher Training Over two sessions, teachers will be introduced to the curriculum, resources and technology associated with BHP, and offered time to collaborate with fellow teachers and the BHP team on preparing lessons.
  • · Online/peer to peer support — the program team manages a wide range of online tools spanning our website, Facebook pages and Twitter accounts that are available if teachers have a question, want feedback, etc.
  • · Support for Personal Training and Prep — teachers in the pilot program will be eligible for a subsidy to support time off as needed to prepare for the course.
  • · Real-time contextual information — as the pilot progresses, we expect to offer online training, subject matter background and other resources specifically for teachers
  • · Conference Calls to assist in lesson planning, content reviews, personal assistance and course management.

What technology do schools need?
We have tried to minimize the technology footprint needed to accommodate schools with a range of technology profiles:

  • · All teachers and students must all have access (in class or out of class) to a computer and a reliable internet connection (students cannot rely on phones or other devices like iPads).
  • · Classrooms should have a PC and projector to facilitate lectures and group work.
  • · Teachers should have access to a printer for assessments and potentially some printed content in PDF format.
  • · Ideally, students would have access (either individually or in teams) to a classroom PC. No special computer skills are needed.

Special arrangements for a technology resources can be made with the project team if necessary. All core content will be delivered through the BHP website but some extended/optional content may make use of Facebook or other social media channels (YouTube, etc.) on occasion. We also recommend the use of in class video cameras to capture group work.

How can schools participate in the 2012 Pilot Program?
To apply for the 2012 pilot email: info@bighistoryproject.com. Applicants should have thought through course delivery: teachers, administrative support and slotting prior to applying.

How did you select the current pilot schools? How will you select them going forward?
For the small pilot we reached out to a select group of schools that either had experience teaching a version of big history or an administration and teachers that could support the program and help us refine the curriculum. These “archetype” schools include both public and independent schools ranging in size, student population and location.

For the large pilot, we will be focused on schools that can collaborate to help us further refine and improve the course. We will screen schools for the following criteria:

  • · Demographic diversity
  • · Teacher qualifications and flexibility
  • · Geographic diversity
  • · Administration support
  • · Proven track record of innovation
  • · Willingness to participate in all activities and assessments
  • · Ability to contribute knowledge and expertise to the course

Recruiting timeline

  • · Summer 2011: preliminary discussions with applicants and interested schools
  • · September: School visits and 1:1 meetings
  • · October/November: School applications and plan due to Big History Project
  • · December: 25 pilot schools selected
  • · January 2012: Final agreements
  • · February: First Teacher Training Session
  • · June 2013: Second Teacher Training Sessions
  • · September 2013: Wave 2 Teaching begins

Can schools outside the US and Australia participate?
We expect there to be an “unmanaged” tier of participating schools that can access the content and assessments without the broader range of support offered to specific pilot schools. We expect the course to be English only for the foreseeable future.

Email info@bighistoryproject.com for more info.

What does participation in the pilot entail – what do participating schools get and what are the expectations?
BHP pledges to provide:

  • · All content and courseware
  • · Professional development for teachers
  • · Access to the core project team for support, assistance and feedback
  • · Subsidies to teachers to address out-of-school time required for learning and planning
  • · A collaborative, transparent process that fully supports engagement with the project team
  • · Community development and discussion (e.g. Facebook)

Most importantly, we promise to listen and collaborate. Our singular goal is to get big history in the hands of educators and students, and accordingly, a spirit of partnership imbues everything we do. This goes so far as to potentially cover activities like:

  • · Curating content specific to a school or teacher online
  • · Co-developing custom content to target a specific needs
  • · Personalized PD to address specific deficiencies
  • · Development of special delivery models aligned to specific class times or topics
  • · Engagement with school, district, state or network managers to optimize and fine tune course for specific needs (technology, systems, curriculum)

In return, you pledge to:

  • · Commit to incorporate all BHP courseware, content and assessments into the lesson plan to provide course continuity across pilot schools
  • · Participate in and conduct all surveys and feedback requests
  • · Properly staff the course with 1-2 instructors suited to teach a survey course
  • · Attend both teacher training sessions in person
  • · Develop and submit lesson plans and have them reviewed/ approved prior to course start
  • · Offer the course to 9th or 10th graders for credit as a year long, semester long or summer immersion course
  • · Enrollment of 20 or more students
  • · Participate in BHP steering committees as needed

What’s your approach to assessments and testing?
To ensure students develop their understanding of the course content and themes, big history has course-long learning outcomes. We are using these to design formative and summative assessments, as well as structuring the instruction, activities, resources and technology.

Students will demonstrate their understanding of and their capacity to use multiple approaches to knowledge/disciplines and multiple literacies, by:

  • · Using various approaches to knowledge (i.e., disciplines and “claim testers”) to analyze, evaluate, discuss and justify one’s own and others’ claims about the past and the present.
  • · Conducting interdisciplinary investigations, solving problems or creating hypotheses by creating researchable questions, locating and selecting relevant sources of information and evidence across a range of disciplines, formats and repositories.
  • · Reading, comprehending and critically evaluating multiple sources of information and texts drawn from and presented in a wide range of genres and formats.
  • · Creating, communicating and evaluating to a variety of audiences big history ideas, evidence, narratives and arguments through individual or shared writing, speaking and other appropriate genres and formats.

Students will demonstrate an understanding of and capacity to use big history’s key ideas, terms and concepts in appropriate contexts by:

  • · Creating a coherent narrative of change over time and space from the beginning of time to the present, using big history concepts such as thresholds of increasing complexity, collective learning, and inter-connectivity, and be able to compare this story to others’ origin stories.
  • · Using different temporal and spatial scales (e.g. galaxies and bacteria; 1 second and a billion years), scientific and historical evidence to develop arguments about the growth of increasing complexity in the universe, life on earth and humanity, and to see interconnections between different scales.
  • · Locating their place, and that of humanity as a whole, within the modern origin story and explaining why modern human society counts as one of the most complex things we know.
  • · Reflecting on how big history offers new perspectives on today’s world, and possible futures and further investigations.

How does the course align to existing standards?
There is a strong degree of alignment with the Common Core Standards and we will continue to purposefully engineer our content and assessment strategy to support the following specific standards:

  • · Reading Standards for Literacy in History/Social Studies
  • · Reading Standards for Literacy in Science and Technical Subjects
  • · Writing Standards for Literacy in History/Soc Studies, Science and Technical Subjects
  • · Speaking and Listening Standards for Grades 9-10
  • · The course also qualifies as a UC “g” elective as a College Prep Elective

Moving forward we will be exploring opportunities to complement other local, state and network specific standards to deepen our relationship to partner schools.

What can I do to help?
In this pilot phase there are limited opportunities for the public to contribute. Ultimately however, we would like to incorporate a broader range of community content and facilitate volunteers engaging in the course. The best way to stay up to date on these activities is to join us on Facebook atwww.facebook.com/bighistoryproject

What’s the vision for Big History Project?
We envision big history – via the Big History Project – to be universally available online for free. Anyone from lifelong learners to teachers should have open access to the course and its contents. As a parallel effort we will continue to work with partners to advance the curriculum, assessment strategy, online analytics and professional development to meet specific needs – from school networks to states and even countries.

We will also continue to iterate on the content to ensure it is up to date and current – informed by the best thinking and evidence available at the time and keeping pace with scientific and cultural breakthroughs.

How much flexibility is there in the course to adapt it to specific school needs?
Provided that partner schools participate in the core assessment strategy and make use of the required content, we are open to exploring alternative delivery models and modes. Teachers can incorporate new content to build upon the core theme of big history to make it more relevant to history, science, biology or other disciplines. We are willing to invest in and co-develop those models provided there is an opportunity to deliver them at scale.

How can the course be slotted in a school?
Big history is inherently a survey course and is designed to complement and not necessarily replace any specific program or established course. Accordingly, schools have full flexibility relative to how they slot the course, provided it is credit bearing.

The course is constructed to take approximately 125-150 hours depending on the pace of students and teachers. Accordingly, it can be slotted as:

  • · a standard year long course
  • · an intense semester course
  • · or a fully immersive summer course

The Big History Project team will work with each school specifically to tailor and customize the slotting and course flow for each specific need.

What’s big history’s stance on religion?
Big history takes up the same profound questions that many religions wrestle with — how the Universe, Earth and humanity came to be. The course offers explanations for these questions based on scientific evidence, which we consider important for all students to understand independent of their religious views.

How does the course work with LMS and other technology solutions/providers?
We are focused on providing breakthrough content and a strong curriculum first and foremost delivered over the web. All of our development is ISM compliant, and we can work with partners to adopt big history as either a “cartridge” in an existing LMS system or as a standalone offer. We are NOT focusing on automated assessments or grade-book functionality to avoid overlap with existing school systems.

Will there be a big history textbook?
There are a number of college-level big history textbooks. This course, which is geared toward high school students, is designed to succeed without one.

 

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