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Free Resources: PBS' Digital Media Resources from Ken Burns's Documentary Series 'The National Parks'

Posted Oct 6, 2009
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PBS has announced that digital media resources from Ken Burns's documentary series, "The National Parks: America's Best Idea," including on-demand video, lessons plans, student activities, and historical archives, are now available through PBS Teachers ( PBS Teachers is the web portal to PBS' preK-12 educational services and a searchable library of more than 9,000 local and national standards-based instructional resources. PBS Teachers and Classroom 2.0 are hosting a webinar on Oct. 7 to demonstrate ways to integrate the "National Parks" educational media and other free technologies into classroom instruction.

Through the "National Parks" resources, educators can create a tour of the nation's historic and natural treasures while teaching students core curriculum lessons and 21st century skills. During the PBS Teachers LIVE! webinar, "Teaching About Place With Ken Burns's 'National Parks: America's Best Idea'" on Oct. 7 at 8 p.m. ET, educational experts will discuss digital storytelling, including geographic and historical projects, and model classroom activities. Educators will learn how to use "National Parks" and ArcGIS, a free, downloadable, 2D/3D geo-exploration and presentation tool, in teaching about national parks and curricular topics. (PBS Teachers webinars are archived and can be played after the initial broadcast date from the PBS Teachers website.) The webinar is sponsored by ABC-CLIO, publisher of reference titles in the field of history and social studies. In partnership with PBS Teachers, ABC-CLIO offers The Making of National Parks, a free collection of resources, including park profiles, biographies, maps, and images, to spark student interest in the creation of national parks, preservation and the dilemmas that come with it.


The "National Parks" educational resources are designed for middle and high school grade levels and cover art, language arts, science, and several social studies disciplines, such as history, geography, economics, and civics. Among the resources to help educators infuse technology into instruction are the place-based digital storytelling modules. Several video screencasts along with printable quick-start guides provide educators with step-by-step instructions on using the latest technologies to create digital storytelling projects, addressing basic to advanced level technology skills. The modules illustrate the processes of geotagging, video editing and special effects, uploading stories to the "National Parks" site to a part of a public collection, and more.


Additionally, the "National Parks" project offers 10 standards-based lesson plans, nine day-trip activities and five Untold Stories discussion guides.


With resources as vast as Yosemite, the "National Parks" also provides a first source of information for student research projects. An extensive collection of images, video, historical archives, biographies of historical figures, and park profiles from the film, as well as links to resources from around the Web are available on the "National Parks" website (


For more information, or to register for the "National Parks" webinar, go to Registration entitles educators to free membership in PBS Teachers. Members receive discounts to PBS Educational Media and access to the PBS Teachers online community, where preK-12 educators can collaborate with peers and save digital media resources.


Source: PBS,

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