Through partnership with the St. Louis Fed’s “Econ Ed” (Economic Education) team, FRASER now offers an easy-to-navigate menu of resources for anyone who wants to learn more about economics, history, or finance—and the teachers, professors, and librarians who help them learn. The new Teaching and Learning with FRASER® collection is only a click away via the Education tab above. Although originally a simple index of curriculum resources related to FRASER themes, it is now a jumping-off point for teaching, research, and education.
Teaching and Learning with FRASER now functions like the rest of FRASER, with full-text documents readable on the page or downloadable for access later. Unlike our more traditional collections on FRASER, however, the Teaching and Learning collection allows you to browse documents by their intended use, not just by title or author.
Our teams have curated open educational resources appropriate for teachers of various subjects at middle and high schools; professors of economics, business, and history; public, school, and academic librarians; high school, college, and graduate students; and anyone else interested in economics, history, or business. In this collection, FRASER users can browse resources based on what they do, choosing a role, grade level, and content subject to see a list of lessons and supplements. Clicking on the title of a resource shows the grade level, key topics, and a brief overview. From there, clicking on the green “View” button takes you to the full PDF, embedded in a page with more context, including any national teaching and literacy standards the lesson aligns with, links to related teaching content, and links to research-ready documents available in FRASER’s library of more than 500,000 items.
Although FRASER has always been used for research by economic historians, it’s only in the past few years that we’ve built a partnership with our St. Louis Fed Econ Ed colleagues to make resources accessible and appealing to teachers and learners at all levels. Originally created to support the Econ Ed team in their 2015 trip to the National Council for History Education‘s annual conference, the first FRASER education page provided only simple text links to curriculum materials from the St. Louis Fed and from our partners at the Philadelphia Fed and Atlanta Fed.
Since then, we’ve worked to bring our library materials to teachers and professors—and teaching materials to librarians—by presenting our materials to more and diverse audiences at conferences and events. We’ve also developed new lessons using FRASER materials (on, for example, the Great Migration and equal credit opportunity) that use primary sources in a way that’s relevant to research and teaching in many fields. Along the way, we realized that FRASER could present many of these educational materials in a library way—just like physical libraries have textbooks, self-help books, and other learning resources available to everyone in the library.
Because our colleagues do a wonderful job of presenting educational materials on the St. Louis Fed’s public website and on the teacher and student classroom portal econlowdown.org, we narrowed our focus to specific audiences and materials:
- Materials in Teaching and Learning with FRASER are targeted to middle school (grades 6-8) and up, so that our library collections can be used alongside curriculum materials for project- and research-based learning.
- We chose only lessons and curriculum materials that are text based, to show them to their best advantage. Some may have videos, slide decks, or multimedia presentations by our educational partners; these are linked in the “Related Items” section.
- All materials have been reviewed for specific inclusion in each category, even though any FRASER user might find a use for any of the educational materials. For example, a public librarian could use a lesson on the financial panic of 1907, but we’ve selected only lessons, handouts, and other materials with a broader public appeal for inclusion in the “Librarians” resource list. (Never fear—the collection is full-text searchable and all materials are listed in the “Browse All Records” tab, so our curation won’t bar your creative uses!)
Our hope is that embedding these curriculum materials in a rich full-text historical library makes it easier for FRASER to meet the needs of modern teaching practices. Easier “jumping-off points” for non-economists are also designed to make it easier for a wider audience of librarians, non-economics teachers, students, and members of the general public to discover that FRASER has interesting and helpful information for them, too.
In a related effort, we’ve heard from our users that students, teachers, employees, and even parents want better skills to analyze data, statistics, maps, and charts. That’s why we’ve been building resources such as the “Historical Inquiry with Charts” toolkit, which teaches strategies for reading, interpreting, and thinking about the presentation of data. Whether or not this toolkit is your first introduction to these skills, FRASER’s wealth of statistical and chart information covering a wide variety of subjects (including everything from monetary flows to church attendance) can provide real-world data to practice on.
We also recognize that some of the treasures of our collection can provide an overload of information. To help researchers of all levels find their way, we have introduced special “Quick Looks.” These one-page documents are suitable for use as classroom handouts or just an easy way for anyone to start exploring a topic. Our first two FRASER Quick Looks feature a simple explanation of inflation, including discussion-prompting inquiry questions, and a short bibliography of the coverage of the Panic of 1907 in the business newspaper The Commercial and Financial Chronicle.
These FRASER changes have made it easier for us to bring in more great content, including the Philadelphia Fed’s series of carefully researched and beautifully illustrated pamphlets on the history of central banking in the U.S.; the Atlanta Fed’s great lessons on the Federal Reserve, including this one on the myths that surround it; and of course a slew of lessons from the St. Louis Fed.
New content is added to Teaching and Learning with FRASER all the time. Does our new educational collection and interface help you use FRASER in your work or studies? Tweet to us @FedFRASER or send us an email to let us know!