In 2017, Pearson K-12 Learning reached out to HAI with a unique challenge: how do you make students feel like they are a part of history? Pearson sought to teach history in an entirely new way and was looking for a partner to help bring their idea to life. Over the next year, Project Imagine: U.S. History took shape. In place of the usual date-driven narrative, we helped to create a digital experience that immerses students in the past through compelling narratives and insightful primary sources.
Helping Students Hear, See, and Feel History
The team collaborated on six U.S. history modules, each exploring a different topic: Immigration, the 1920s, the Great Depression and the New Deal, World War II, the Civil Rights Movement, and the Vietnam War. Each module had several primary-source based immersive experiences, from the Role Play, which puts students in the shoes of a person living through an important moment in history, to the Opinion Poll, which asks them to take a stance on a critical historical question.
Over the course of a year, the team developed 29 immersives designed to help students connect and empathize with people in the past. HAI’s team of project managers, writers, researchers, and subject matter experts—many of whom have backgrounds in education and creative writing—combined rigorous historical research and imagination to weave together diverse primary sources into cohesive narratives.
Along the way, the team considered questions like, what decisions would a Russian woman looking to immigrate have to make? How do you capture the legacy of the Vietnam War through the eyes of the men and women who lived through it? What were the options for a teenager facing hunger and homelessness during the Great Depression? Each immersive highlighted the everyday joys, struggles, and triumphs of ordinary people in history.
In addition to planning, primary source research, writing, and fact checking, HAI drafted detailed specifications for infographics and maps; wrote alternative text for accessibility; and developed activities that tested reading comprehension and built empathy.
"I understand now what my grandfather went through in Vietnam. I know he was a Green Beret and was a tough man. Now I understand things a lot better."- Dion, 9th grade student
Soon, Pearson had a product that it was ready to unveil—one that has received enthusiastic reviews from students and teachers and garnered several awards. Want to learn more? Visit the Project Imagine website to discover this exciting new educational tool for yourself.
Since it was released, Project Imagine has been recognized as an innovative and trendsetting supplement in the field of education technology. It has received rave reviews from students and students and recognized at the American Business Awards, the Texas Computer Education Association Tech & Learning Awards, the EdTech Awards, the Stevie Awards, and others.