gatesnotes
The blog of Bill Gates
gatesnotes
The blog of Bill Gates

The Big History Project: Teachers, Come Take a Look at the Online Course

Sign In
 
My Profile & Settings
Log out
GO
Filter By
Posts
Videos
Your search for "", with selected filters, does not match any posts. Please try again with a different search term or reset filters.

Popular searches include: Books, Malaria, and Future of Food.
RELATED ARTICLES ON
Please complete your account verification. Resend verification email.
This verification token has expired.
Your email address has been verified. Update my profile.
Your account has been deactivated. Sign up to re-activate your account.
View all newsletters in the newsletter archive
You are now unsubscribed from receiving emails.
Sorry, we were unable to unsubscribe you at this time.
Logout:


Become a Gates Notes Insider
- or - Sign up with email
This email is already registered. Enter a new email, try signing in or retrieve your password
Send me updates from Bill Gates
Sign Up
Join the Gates Notes community to access exclusive content, comment on stories, subscribe to your favorite topics and more. We will never share or spam your email address. For more information see our Sign Up FAQ. By clicking "Sign Up" you agree to the Gates Notes Terms of Use / Privacy Policy.
Account Settings
VIEW & EDIT PROFILE
Your Information
First name
Last name
Save
Cancel
Email address
This email is already registered
Save
Cancel
Please verify email address. Click verification link sent to this email address or resend verification email.
Password
Save
Cancel
Send me updates from Bill Gates
You must provide an email
Your Interests
Saving Lives
Energy Innovation
Improving Education
Philanthropy
Book Reviews
About Bill Gates
Deactivate Account
Click the link below to begin the account deactivation process. Deactivate account If you want to permanently delete your account and remove its content, please send us a request here.
Ok
Gates Notes Insider Sign Up FAQ

Q. How do I create a Gates Notes account?

A. There are three ways you can create a Gates Notes account:

  • Sign up with Facebook. We’ll never post to your Facebook account without your permission.
  • Sign up with Twitter. We’ll never post to your Twitter account without your permission.
  • Sign up with your email. Enter your email address during sign up. We’ll email you a link for verification.

Q. Will you ever post to my Facebook or Twitter accounts without my permission?

A. No, never.

Q. How do I sign up to receive email communications from my Gates Notes account?

A. In Account Settings, click the toggle switch next to “Send me updates from Bill Gates.”

Q. How will you use the Interests I select in Account Settings?

A. We will use them to choose the Suggested Reads that appear on your profile page.

Forgot your password?
This email is already registered. Enter a new email, try signing in or retrieve your password
Reset Password
Change your header photo
your image
 
Change
your image
Uh Oh!

The image you are trying to upload is either too big or is an unacceptable format. Please upload a .jpg or .png image that is under 25MB.

Ok
First name
Last name
Enter a first and last name. For example, "Richard Feynman"
Bio
0/160 characters
Edit Profile
Account Settings
Save
Cancel
Suggested Reads
Reset your password.
Set New Password
Your password has been reset. You will now be redirected to the sign in page, or you can click here
Ok
Get emails from Bill Gates
Send me updates from Bill
You must provide an email
This email is already registered
Continue
We will never share or spam your email address. For more information see our Sign Up FAQ. By clicking "Continue" you agree to the Gates Notes Terms of Use / Privacy Policy.
 
your image
Uh Oh!
The image you are trying to upload is either too big or is an unacceptable format. Please upload a .jpg or .png image that is under 25MB.
Ok
Welcome FirstName!
You are now a Gates Notes Insider
Update Your Profile Information
First name
Last name
Save
Cancel
Email address
This email is already registered
Save
Cancel
Please verify email address. Click verification link sent to this email address or resend verification email.
Send me updates from Bill Gates
You must provide an email
Select Your Interests
Saving Lives
Energy Innovation
Improving Education
Philanthropy
Book Reviews
About Bill Gates
Continue
Confirm
Are you sure you want to
deactivate your account?
Deactivating your account will unsubscribe you from Gates Notes emails, and will remove your profile and account information from public view on the Gates Notes. Please allow for 24 hours for the deactivation to fully process. You can sign back in at any time to reactivate your account and restore its content.
Deactivate My Acccount
Go Back
Your Gates Notes account has been deactivated.
Come back anytime.
Welcome back
In order to unsubscribe you will need to sign-in to your Gates Notes Insider account
Once signed in just go to your Account Settings page and set your subscription options as desired.
Sign In
Request account deletion
We’re sorry to see you go. Your request may take a few days to process; we want to double check things before hitting the big red button. Requesting an account deletion will permanently remove all of your profile content. If you’ve changed your mind about deleting your account, you can always hit cancel and deactivate instead.
Submit
Cancel
Thank You! Your request has been sent
Become a Gates Notes Insider for access to exclusive content and personalized reading suggestions
Sign up to receive occasional updates from the Gates Notes
Sign Up
Privacy Policy
It looks like you're using an older version of Internet Explorer which may not display all the features on this site. Upgrade Now » close
Welcome, teachers
WATCH VIDEO
Discover Big History

The Big History Project: Teachers, Come Take a Look at the Online Course

After two years of development, we are ready to share our progress on The Big History Project. As you’ll remember, the Big History Project looks at 13.7 billion years of history—from the Big Bang to modernity—with a goal of revealing common themes and patterns that help students better understand people, civilizations and our place in the universe.

The Big History Project is in the second year of a pilot program designed to create and refine a world-class curriculum and online experience that will ultimately be freely available to schools worldwide. More than 80 partner schools are enrolled in our current pilot program.

So, now that we’re into our second year, any educator can request credentials to our online courseware and take a look, as well as use and share any of the content you like.  You can also apply to join our 2013/14 pilot program, which is the last year of the pilot before the course opens up to the public.  

As you might remember, two years ago I met with David Christian on a trip down to San Diego. I had just finished taking his online course on big history and really enjoyed it. In fact, it was—and still is—my favorite course of all time. It resonated with me because it seeks to do something audacious, but important:  lay out a “complete” view of history spanning all the way back to the Big Bang.

The meeting with David was very productive, and after a discussion we decided to figure out a way to make big history available to high school students. Traditionally, the course had been taught at the university level, so we knew we were in for a lot of work making the curriculum and content work for younger students. But by working with some amazing teachers and pilot schools, I think we’ve put together something really special, and now we’re ready to make it available to others.

We are still in a pilot phase. Our goal is to support both teachers and students participating in the course. We also want feedback on how it needs to be improved. But the online experience and content is far enough along that many different teachers can benefit.

The content is really exciting. It mixes traditional video lectures with animations, texts and infographics. Our hope is the variety of formats helps to keep the course exciting and engaging while also helping students to absorb the material. A lot of it is visually beautiful, but more importantly, the content is built to bring the concepts to life and nurture both critical thinking and literacy skills. Big history helps develop the kind of literacy skills that are highlighted in the Common Core Standards now making their way into most every U.S. state curriculum.

You can get a sense of some of the content here. One of my favorite pieces is one on horses. “The Little Big History of Horses” looks at the evolution of the horse, and how, once domesticated, it helped advance human communication and transportation, accelerating global change. It’s a great example of the way big history treats subjects differently by going back much further in time.  

Students in our pilot program generally report a much higher level of confidence relative to work in more specific science and history courses, and our evaluation of student work suggests strong growth in some key areas—like literacy skills. These outcomes are core to the course. Ultimately we want big history to provide a strong foundation for students, equipping them with the skills and knowledge needed to excel in more advanced courses.

We also want more partners and test sites. Any teacher or administrator who explores the site and thinks that the course could work well for them can apply for our 2013/14 pilot program. We have lots of ideas about how the course can grow and get better—ranging from new content to more advanced class management functionality on the website—and it will be up to the schools and teachers in our last pilot program to really help us think through these ideas to get it right. It will be the last year of the pilot before we make the course broadly available to anyone for free.  

Later next year, we will be making the course content available to the general public online. But for now, we’re focusing only on teachers and administrators.

I loved this course.  I hope you will too.

Become a Gates Notes Insider for access to exclusive content and personalized reading suggestions

Read previous versions of the Annual Letter


Discussion
comments powered by Disqus