The Story of Knowledge: Diversifying and Contextualizing Knowledge

Join us November 30, 2021 from 4:00 to 5:00 p.m. (ET) for a free one-hour live PD session on teaching students about the development of knowledge—and how context and diversity equip us to think more critically about historical narratives. Eman M. Elshaikh facilitates.

If you haven’t registered yet, RSVP here.

Session Description: Students have a lot of misconceptions about where knowledge comes from, who makes it, and how it changes. They often imagine a lone genius having a eureka moment, but there’s not much diversity in this imaginary story. How can we diversify and contextualize knowledge? In this session, we will talk about:

  • How to expand our understanding of the history of knowledge
  • How to include more people and societies in our telling of the story
  • How to focus on the collective and social aspect of knowledge

We will use a series of illustrated biographies from OER Project’s Big History Project course as a case study, brainstorming techniques to use in the classroom to equip students to tell bigger, better stories about knowledge and critically evaluate limited stories.

Whether or not you are currently teaching BHP, you will leave the session with a useful collection of online materials to use with your classroom.

Pre-Read Materials: Attendees are asked to read the BHP article “Standing on the Shoulders of Invisible Giants” in advance of the session.

  • Attendees are also encouraged to check out this blog for a sense of how the new Islamic Scholars articles fit into the BHP course as a whole.

Facilitator Bio: Eman M. Elshaikh is a writer, researcher, and teacher who has taught K–12, undergraduates, and graduate students in the United States and in the Middle East. She teaches writing at the University of Chicago, where she also completed her master’s in social sciences and is currently pursuing her PhD. She was previously a World History Fellow at Khan Academy, where she worked closely with the College Board to develop a curriculum for AP World History.


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