Teachers’ Zone: Engaging teachers online at the Canadian Museum of History (Breakout 2)


Tuesday, April 06, 2021: 12:00pm - 1:30pm - - Demonstration

Meaghan Dalby, Canadian Museum of History, Canada, Colin Chen, Canadian Museum of History, Canada

Using the case study of the newly created Teachers’ Zone, we will explore the challenges of digitally engaging a teacher audience across Canada. The Canadian Museum of History was called to create a digital education tool that works for our wide and diverse audience. Balancing the varied needs with a clean user experience was a formidable task. Armed with a digitized collection of over 3 million items, that includes objects, documents, audio and video clips, we aimed to present good historical content to teachers in a way that wasn’t overwhelming.

During the development process, we made sure to keep our teacher audience at the centre of every decision. We created a National Teacher Advisory group that gave us insight into the different realities of teaching across the country at different grade levels. We researched, surveyed, and tested almost every element, the result of which is a well-designed, informative, and useful website: the Teachers’ Zone.

We started this project before the global pandemic was a reality. However, it was launched in May 2020, in a very different teaching context from when it was developed. We have been making adjustments, as our audiences’ needs have changed.

Museum professionals who are interested in reaching a teacher audience digitally, particularly as virtual learning is becoming more prominent, will find this demonstration useful.

Canadian Museum of History. National Teacher Advisory Meeting Debrief 2019. February 2019.

Canadian Museum of History. National Teacher Advisory Meeting Debrief 2020. February 2020.

Crow, William B. and Herminia Din. “The Educational and Economic Value of Online Learning for Museums” Journal of Museum Education 35:2, 2010, pages 161-172.

Din, Herminia. “Pedagogy and Practice in Museum Online Learning” Journal of Museum Education 40:2, 2015, pages 102-109.

Engelke, Lynn-Steven. “Engaging Students Online with the Smithsonian: A Case Study” Journal of Museum Education 40:2, 2015, pages 131-140.

Seixas, Dr. Peter and Tom Morton. The Big Six Historical Thinking Concepts. Nelson Education Ltd (Toronto), 2013.

Quorus Consulting Group. Online Education Focus Groups with Teachers. October 2019.