In Development Through 2023
Originally funded in the seed stage by the Ford Foundation, this initiative has been carefully developed by Songmasters with the input of a stellar Founding Advisory Board of more than 70 individuals and institutions from the worlds of civil society, education, music, media and technology. The American Road’s current and renowned Advisors and Collaborators build upon this foundation and sustain its on-going development.
Each element of The American Road is well-developed and at varying stages of production
- Educational | Curricular Materials
Currently, the materials are organized by seven themes and “eras” from 1890 to the present, and within them, in 6 to 8 subthemes. Each theme will offer 5 to 6 fully developed units, with no less than 4 activities in each unit. Additionally, each theme will offer at least 15 partially-developed extensions for additional local development, and up to 100 “extension ideas” per theme overall. We will encourage teachers to share their curriculum maps for the unit they choose to fully-develop, both for refreshing the material and cross-pollination. At present, pre-digitized versions of several pilot units have been developed by a team of expert teacher writers; others are in various stages of review, slated for completion by early FY2021, depending on further funding.
Our History and Musicology Committees have developed brief, draft essays on the history, music, and social justice issues related to each theme and era. We have also added significantly to collaborating organizations and institutions, especially key educational professional associations and major academic institutions to assist with ongoing vetting of materials in development and professional development post-launch.
- The Music
Currently, more than 400 historically important American songs have been identified by our musicology committee and all are now available to the Project through national archives (primarily Smithsonian Folkways and the Library of Congress) as well private record labels and publishers. Of these, 50 have been identified by our musicology committee for contemporary “covers” to be made by leading recording artists. Nearly 450 “key historical events” between 1890 and now have been identified as historically defining moments. The key events and their underlying themes have been carefully matched with related historically important songs and will continuously be cross-referenced with relevant primary and secondary resources. We have also identified our Executive Music Producer and with his assistance, we are completing the slate of artists to perform key selected “covers.” With the Executive Producer and Musicology Committee, we are creating a comprehensive plan for casting, arrangement and genre of the contemporary versions to connects meaningfullythe educational materials, including civic and community engagement. This will encourage the development of critical and contextual thinking capacities through directed in-class discussions.
- Community and Civic Engagement
Currently, we have formed a collaboration with Points of Light’s GenerationOn, to provide access to 60,000 action opportunities nationwide each year. Additionally, we are exploring a preliminary arrangement to apply the proprietary and patented technology of Privo to provide, manage, and track secure and compliant mentoring activities.
- Media and Events
All educational elements of The American Road are fully digital in delivery and in implementation, while the community and civic engagement elements are designed to be real-world activities. Across all student-involved elements,, this project will use and integrate groundbreaking tech and media to deepen learning, promote collaboration, and strengthen student and community engagement. This includes integration of our materials and features and that of our partners; of potential innovations in AI and AR; and to other advances to make access easy, universal and secure. Currently, we have completed the design of the teacher/student interface for the Tapestry. We have also completed design of this public-facing informational website to provide general information and exemplars of the distinctive digital dashboards to be available to teachers and to students in the Tapestry. The American Road will produce a first-ever interactive gamified “tv” (streamed) program. Using acoustical and music clues, a fun, informative and new form of historical “road trip” is in development. Site selection for national and regional events and broadcasts is underway. We have begun to develop and plan two major national educators’ conferences in the first three years post launch: one in Washington DC, to bring together educators using these materials and the major federal institutions and resources associated with the project to promote meaningful and informed instruction; and a second, slated tentatively to be held at the University of Missouri/Kinder Institute for Constitutional Democracy, to focus on the substantive history, civics and civics engagement content and considerations covered by this curriculum.
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