Online Professional Learning for History Teachers

Who Built America badges is an online professional learning program designed to help middle and high school history teachers incorporate disciplinary literacy practices, rich social history content, and literacy supports into their instructional design. The program gives teachers access to skill-building tutorials, peer discussion forums, and opportunities to design, teach, reflect on, and revise lessons and units with feedback from WBA History Educators. WBA’s self-paced process grants teachers autonomy to engage in professional learning that directly connects to their classroom practice.

Credentials earned on the site reflect the work teachers do and the skills they master, not just the number of hours they spend. WBA History Educators provide teachers with direct feedback on their work, ensuring professional rigor and a personal connection in what otherwise could feel like an impersonal digital experience.

Why Badges?

Who Built America Badges are part of an emerging field of digital badge systems that can help people learn new skills and demonstrate them to unlock job, educational, and civic opportunities. Launched with an award from Digital Media and Learning Competition 4 (funded by the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation), WBA Badges recognize and reward thoughtful lesson design, professional engagement, content expertise, and the ability to nurture students’ disciplinary literacy skills—in short, the skills and habits of great history teachers.

Who We Are

Founded in 1981 at the City University of New York, American Social History Project/Center for Media and Learning (ASHP/CML) believes that students are most motivated to learn history when they see people like themselves and their family members in the past, and begin to understand its relevance to the present and to their own lives. We develop materials and approaches to help teachers do that, while also offering professional development to help them build students’ abilities to read, write, and think critically.

ASHP/CML has gained an international reputation in the fields of public history and history education. As one of the few history organizations with a full-time staff composed of scholars, artists, media producers, and educators, ASHP/CML’s Who Built America? books and documentariesdigital and online projects (including podcasts), and our professional development seminars combine rigorous humanities content with innovative methods of presentation. Cited as a model for public humanities programming, ASHP/CML’s projects and programs have received numerous grants and awards.