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Tech Resources for Black History Month Lessons: Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr.

The Education Techie writes about tech tools that can help students and teachers. In February, to honor Black History Month, the Techie will be compiling digital resources useful toward creating lessons for this observance. Today's article focuses on Dr. Martin Luther King Jr.

Dr. Martin Luther King, Jr. and President Johnson

As one of the most recognizable and prominent figures in the Civil Rights Movement, Dr. Martin Luther King Jr. is a name every kid in the U.S. is likely to know. Though lessons about him are appropriate at any time of the year, Black History Month provides a good opportunity to use his legacy as a springboard for a broader discussion of tolerance. Information about Dr. King can be used as a foundation for lessons in history, public speaking, political science, writing, art and geography.

By taking advantage of the many digital resources at your disposal, you can create engaging multimedia lessons about Dr. King. Here are just a few that I found interesting.

Virtual Field Trip with Google Earth

Atlanta, Georgia, is home to locations that are historically important to Dr. King's legacy. If you don't live in the Atlanta area, you can utilize Google Earth to take your class to these sites. Using the Street View feature, you can show students King's birth home, his tomb and Ebenezer Baptist Church, where he worked as a pastor. You can also access photos of these locales with the program.

MLK Memorial in Google Earth

By saving each location to 'My Places' in Google Earth, teachers can guide the 'tour' themselves - or they can provide specific addresses for locations so students can explore the sites themselves. This student-guided exploration is probably best for older kids, though some tech-savvy elementary schoolers may be able to handle the navigation. If you don't already have it, you can download Google Earth here.

The King Institute

Sound recordings have allowed many of Dr. King's most famous speeches to be preserved for posterity. The King Research and Education Institute website, hosted by Stanford University, provides a wonderful archive of audio and video recordings as well as written information about the Civil Rights Movement. There is a wide variety of resources on this site, including some recordings of speeches. This would be a great site for middle and high school students to explore on their own for a class project.

Click here for audio and a written transcript of King's 1964 acceptance speech for the Nobel Peace Prize. The audio recording of the 'I Have a Dream' speech is available through this link.You can access a PDF of that text by clicking here. Access the King Institute homepage by clicking here.

Resources for Younger Kids

The lessons of equality and social justice taught by Dr. King are important for even the youngest students to learn. Some resources on the Web are aimed directly at elementary-aged kids. America's Library, a project of the Library of Congress, has this profile of the civil rights leader. The site is easy to navigate and safe for kids to use with minimal supervision. National Geographic Kids has some multimedia resources, like this video, that would be appropriate for elementary-aged children.

Stay tuned throughout the month of February for more Education Techie articles about digital resources for Black History Month lessons.