‘People needed to know the history of our state (which was half of the stories we told). The other half want to honor our history as a region so others in our state/nation would know our untold story.’ Kimberly Sergent

In 2020, Makematic and the Driving Force Institute for Public Engagement teamed up with the non-profit educational cooperative KVEC (Kentucky Valley Educational Cooperative) to create two series for the growing history and civics collection Untold.

The Project

We produced two series with KVEC.

Series 1: Untold Kentucky

A series of 10 films that shine a light on moments in Kentucky’s (mostly eastern Kentucky’s) history that had an impact on the United States. The titles range from the history of Bluegrass music, why the Emancipation Proclamation didn’t include Kentucky, and the inventor of the traffic light system, African American entrepreneur Garrett Morgan. Check out the set of activities that will help educators explore the themes in the video on Garrett Morgan.

Series 2: Using media in the social studies classroom

A professional development series to help educators use media in their social studies classrooms. This series is one of the first of its kind and aims to help educators use media effectively in their social studies classroom by putting theory into practice.

Both series were a first for Untold. Our first foray into creating regional history content, and our first ever professional development offering.

KVEC’s Why?

Kimberly Sergent, Social studies instructional specialist at KVEC, was part of the team that worked on the project from start to finish. And it is her words that sum up KVECs why.

‘​For so long, the story of our state centered on bourbon, the horse industry, or tobacco, and I knew from my work with teachers/schools in our region that we were much more than just those industries. Those industries do not include eastern Kentucky’s contribution. Recognizing the diversity of our state and most importantly the lack of equity in the TOLD stories of our state was a concern. Our region, which is the very origins of our state as people came through the Cumberland Gap into Kentucky in the late 1700s, was not being told or honored. People needed to know the history of our state (which was half of the stories we told), but the other half had to honor our history as a region so others in our state/nation would know our untold story.’ 

The Team’s Experience

“This experience was AMAZING. As I researched and confirmed or denied (depending on the source) these stories, I learned even more stories about our region and state; however, the best part was the connections that I had the opportunity to make with local historians, state historians/museums/regional museums, artists, musicians, and my favorite – TEACHERS!

We started seeing how OUR stories made us who we are and impact our communities still. It was humbling to sit at the fit of musicians and local historians who are the keeper of these stories. Instead of finishing with these stories, I now have even more that I want to research and share with everyone.

One of the truly incredible things about this project is that not only was the content co-authored with our team and theirs, many of the region’s superstar social studies teachers helped us craft the videos, and resources that are being developed to be used around the United States.

What’s Next?

Here is what KVEC intends to do with the stories they’ve created.

Microcredentials

Centered around the K2 project and the Using Media in Social Studies professional development video series, KVEC is creating a stack of micro-credentials to give teachers the opportunity to plan with intention and genuinely change their classroom practices to incorporate media into social studies.

Inquiries

The second tier of this plan is for KVEC to work with their design team, local historians, and museums, to create inquiries around each of the 10 videos in series 1. They’ll devise a series of compelling and supporting questions and additional resources to direct the student learning. 

Designing Assessment

And to top it all off, they will be supporting teachers in designing assessments to measure students’ learning by using media and help their teachers use student-created media to support students in taking action in their communities.

It’s already clear, that these two important projects will have an enormous impact locally as well as nationally.

Check out series 1 of the project and other titles in the Untold series here. Keep your eyes peeled for series 2.


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