TIAH Webinars

Technology's Impact in American History (TIAH) for 2019-2020

NCHE, funded by a grant from the Library of Congress Teaching with Primary Sources program, offers live, interactive TIAH professional development webinars free of charge.  Registered participants will receive primary sources and educational materials as pre-readings. Following each webinar, participants will receive a certificate which may be submitted to your administrator to request continuing education credits. 

Spring 2020 Webinars

Space Age Environmentalism: How Photographs of Earth From Space Launched the Environmental Movement

Thursday, February 27, 2020, 7 PM Eastern
During the late 1960s and early 1970s photographs of Earth taken from outer space became important visual elements of the burgeoning environmental movement. The Earthrise (1968) and Whole Earth (1972) photographs taken by NASA during this period soon began appearing on posters, T-shirts, and other promotional materials for dozens of environmental organizations before and after the first Earth Day in 1970. Yet the history of these images suggests a more complex story, indicating that it took time for these photographs from space to become environmental icons. This webinar will trace how Earthrise, and the even better known Whole Earth image, became “green" only later due, in part, to the capture of global ecological data by NASA and its Earth-observing satellites. 

Presenter: Neil Maher
NJIT-Rutgers University, Newark

Past Webinars

Telling the Army's Story, One Soldier at a Time
Thursday, August 29, 2019, 7 PM Eastern

The U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center's motto is "Telling the Army's Story, One Soldier at a Time."  The U.S. Army's history is NOT just military history - it is also social, political, medical, economic, and technological history.   In this webinar, you will explore the U.S. Army's primary archives and conservation center for preserving individual Soldier's stories.  Learn how the USAHEC's extensive primary source materials can be used in any history, social studies, civics, or STEM classroom and about professional development opportunities offered to teachers through the USAHEC.

Presenter: Karl K. Warner III
Programs and Education Historian
U.S. Army Heritage and Education Center

Adapting Civilian Designs to Wartime Missions: The “Eureka,” the “Alligator,” and the U.S. Marine Corps

May 28, 2019 

The Second World War saw some incredible new technologies applied to war making.  American needs spurred wartime research and development like the atomic bomb and radar.  Others such as aircraft and armor flourished in combat operation only after decades of confusion about the capabilities and missions for airplanes and tanks in war.  How did the military take existing civilian design technologies and adapt them to specific wartime needs?  This webinar will examine the unique selections and improvements of two amphibious assault craft by the U.S. Marine Corps:  Andrew Jackson Higgins' "Eureka" boat and Daniel Roebling's "Alligator" amphibian tractor.  Variations of the two craft still exist in the twenty-first century.  They remain fixtures in assault operations, yet they have also been used much more frequently in Marine-supported humanitarian relief operations that benefit civilians in the United States and across the globe, thus coming full circle to the roles for which Higgins and Roebling designed their original craft in the 1930s. 

Presenter: David Ulbrich
Norwich University

"To Promote the P
rogress of Science and Useful Arts":
A Historical Journey of Innovation & the U.S. Patent System

May 23, 2019 

Innovation and entrepreneurship are hallmarks of leadership in a global economy.  To remain competitive, the U.S. must remain at the forefront of new discoveries.  A strong U.S. patent system protects investments of time and money and secures the development and availability of new products and services in the marketplace.  This webinar will take you on a historical journey of American ingenuity to see the invention process in action through the lens of U.S. patents granted - 10 million patents and counting!  Learn how patents, a form of intellectual property, are essential to innovation and accessible to citizens of all ages through the powers bestowed upon them in the United States Constitution.

Presenters: Juan Valentin & Jorge Valdes
United States Patent & Trademark Office

Challenging the Sun: The Invention and Adoption of Electric Lighting 

Thursday, May 2, 2019   

When was the last time you lived without electric lights?  Just 150 years ago, Americans lived their normal lives without electricity as a dependable light source.  Then a series of inventors and their patented inventions changed the world forever.  In this webinar, you will follow the footsteps of Thomas Edison, Lewis Latimer, Joseph Swan, Nikola Tesla and others as electric light moved from the inventor's workbench to everyday life.

Presenter:  Mary Ann Hellrigel
Institutional Historian and Archivist at IEEE


"See Your Spaceport": Tourism at NASA's Kennedy Space Center in the Age of Apollo
March 28, 2019 

Today we take for granted our ability to tour NASA's launch pads and Mission Control Center, but in the early 1960s, NASA centers operated much like - and were often physically adjacent to - secure military installations.  For reasons of national security, the centers restricted access to official visitors only, yet thousands of curious tourists spontaneously appeared at the gates.  How and why did the American public come to have a presence at the Kennedy Space Center?  How did tourism become a key strategy for selling Project Apollo to a nation ambivalent about the value of the lunar landing program?  This webinar will explore these questions and discuss resources to help instructors bring space history into the classroom.

Presenter:  Emily Margolis
Johns Hopkins University

Analyzing NASA-related Primary Sources and Launching Cross-Disciplinary Inquiries 
February 5, 2019

How might a single photograph be a starting point for science, engineering, history, and civics learning? How might a set of newspaper articles instigate investigations across disciplines? Educators are invited to participate in this webinar that emphasizes classroom routines and approaches for kicking off extended, cross-disciplinary inquiries with the help of primary sources. Participants will engage with digitized historical primary sources connected to aviation, American history, and NASA that are available for classroom use. 

Presenter: Trey Smith
Northwestern University


Atomic Voices and the Dropping of the Bomb on Hiroshima 
September 13, 2018

In discussing wars in American history, the focus is often on guns and battles, losing sight of how critical events are shaped by ordinary people such as government officials and soldiers.  Equally, we don’t always consider the impact of modern military technology on civilian populations.  This webinar will look at how the decision was made to drop the first atomic bomb on Hiroshima, how the bombing mission was conducted, and the suffering it inflicted on the Japanese people. 

Presenter: Dr. W. Bernard Carlson, University of Virginia


Searching Digital Archives: Library of Congress and United States Patent and Trademark Office 
August 28, 2018

The Library of Congress and the United States Patent and Trademark Office contain vast repositories of digitized primary sources.  With the proper introduction these archives can be powerful tools in the hands of students and teachers alike.  In this webinar, our teachers will learn how to navigate the digital archives of the Library of Congress and the USPTO in a meaningful way.

Presenters: Cynthia Szwajkowski, TPS Virginia, and Maggie Nunley, University of Virginia


Tesla Versus Edison: Myth and Style in Technological History
August 30, 2018

Thanks to movies, video games, novels, and Elon Musk, Nikola Tesla has, in the past few years, has become a prominent figure in American pop culture.  At the same time, his rival Thomas Edison has come to be seen as a greedy villain.  In this talk, we will explore both the myth and facts around the Tesla-Edison rivalry to understand how inventors develop distinct styles and how those different styles are critical to how societies create and manage disruptive innovation.

Presenter: Dr. W. Bernard Carlson, University of Virginia and author of Tesla: Inventor of the Electrical Age

Government and Aviation in the 20th Century: From the Wright Brothers to the Boeing 707 Jetliner
April 24, 2018 

This webinar showcased content developed by the Dr. Bernard Carlson of the University of Virginia, who led a colloquium on this topic for NCHE at the Kennedy Space Center. in January 2018. 

Massive Firepower Meets the Jungle: Fighting the Ground War in Vietnam

This webinar showcased content developed by the Historian who led the Army Heritage and Education Center colloquium in March, 2017. 

The U.S. and Space: Tensions and Paradoxes

This NASA & Flight Technology webinar will showcase content developed by the Historian who led the NASA & Flight Technology colloquium at the Kennedy Space Center with the Astronauts Memorial Foundation. 


About NCHE

The National Council for History Education provides professional and intellectual leadership to foster an engaged community committed to the teaching, learning, and appreciation of diverse histories.