Exploring the World of Thomas Day (EWTD), is an award-winning, interactive multimedia on CD-ROM for grades 4 and up. Produced with major funding from the National Endowment for the Humanities (NEH) and after five years of Research & Development with scholars, teachers, and students, this teaching-tool features important themes of the 19th century African-American experience while it involves the student in the detective work that real historians engage in when they seek, find and interpret primary source documents.
Program Application and Educational Companion
Exploring the World of Thomas Day is a new, exciting interactive multimedia CD-ROM-based educational experience that’s easy to install on both Windows and Macintosh platforms. (Windows 98 to XP and Mac OS 8.6 – X) It contains the Program Application (CD 1) and a comprehensive Educational Companion (CD 2).
Fun & Informative
This highly involving application enables students to learn firsthand the most fundamental–and fun–part of being a historian: the detective work involved in tracking down historical evidence and using it to solve questions about the past!
Aligned to the National History Standards for 19th-century African-American historical content and to the “historical thinking” standards, this product has been called “an interactive documentary”, “a simulation of doing historical research,” and a “really cool game.” In fact, all of these terms apply! Students search 40+ primary and secondary sources for clues that hold the key to understanding the world of a free black furniture maker named Thomas Day, who lived in the South in the dramatic decades before the Civil War. Along the way students encounter – in short video clips – 19th century youngsters who know Day. They challenge students with puzzle-like missions to explore Day’s Family & Community; his Shop & Marketplace; and the Laws & Society with which he lived.
Exploring the World of Thomas Day has been designed for maximum ease of use. Teachers report they can use it effectively with minimum preparation time. Students quickly figure out the “rules of the game” and navigate the application easily and quickly become absorbed. In fact, you may find, as other teachers have, that the bell will ring and they won’t want to leave!
Finding Evidence in Documents in “Searchboro”
Students search for historical evidence in Searchboro, a virtual research landscape of the types of places historians do research. They find primary sources on shelves, in file drawers, on microfiche and in old trunks in locations like “the Courthouse”, “the University” ,”the Archives,” and even in the attic of “the Descendant’s Home ” and a “Furniture Museum.” They also come across secondary sources like video clips of video interviews with historians and newspaper articles and ads.
Searchboro: Where students find primary and secondary sources about the past
Mini-Video “Documentaries” and “Archibald’s Dilemma”
As students search for historical knowledge and gain research and critical thinking know-how, they meet several teens who know Thomas Day. The first one they meet is an Apprentice to Day named Archibald Clark, who urgently needs their help. Solving Archibald’s dilemma is the motivational device or ” game goal” that keeps students focused on accomplishing missions and challenges that require them to think critically and apply knowledge gleaned from the historical evidence they have uncovered in Searchboro.
Educational Companion CD 2
Developed with teacher input, The Educational Companion CD includes a Teacher’s Guide with a Tour and tips for use with various computer set-ups. It also provides a “Teacher Resources folder” that contains: a document database with full text of all 40+ documents used in the application; worksheets for different student skill levels; assessment guidelines; answer keys; national standards; lecture notes; a detailed time line; a glossary; map; and suggested readings and websites.