Tool Category/ies: Creativity  

License Type: Free


Overall Rating





Digital Vaults is called an online exhibition. It is an online interactive exhibit conceived as a portal into the National Archives. The site uses visual records such as documents, photographs, and other media, and illustrates how these materials can come together in unexpected ways to tell the story of the US.



Rating: 3/5

Reviewed by: Gary on 11/22/2011

Most written content would be ideal for students in history or social studies courses, from upper elementary through high school. The greatest limitation is the fairly small number of total records, and particularly the number of records in a given subject area. Some things are dealt with a bit more thoroughly, such as the assassination of John F. Kennedy.

I could see the website's use for either an open-ended kind of an assignment in which a student would be asked to look for records on a subject of their choosing, probably beginning with this website but then recommending that they take a look elsewhere on the internet. A more directed approach might be to find a few subject areas that are dealt with a bit more thoroughly and work assignments associated with these into the appropriate topic area in the classroom.

What are the advantages of using this tool in a teaching environment?

The website is quick, easy, and requires no special equipment or knowledge to use and provides some interesting records worthy of being studied. As a creative tool, the poster and movie processes are pretty easy to follow.

What are the disadvantages of using this tool in a teaching environment?

The big disadvantage is there are really very few records specific to any given subject area. The poster process is not bad, though much more could be done with other photo image manipulation programs like Photoshop. Likewise, the "movie" could be created in something like Photostory. Since you would have the archives of the entire internet as the raw content for such creative products, by comparison the existing Digital Vaults website is quite limiting.


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