There is a lack of engagement and meaningful learning in pre-college education when it comes to History. This problem is compounded by a lack of funding, support, and innovation in history and social studies classrooms across the nation. As the humanities continues to lose emphasis and resources in favor of standardized testing, there is a real danger that the knowledge, insight, and analytical skills developed through a deep and engaging history and social studies education will be lost for future generations. In addition, too many classrooms are using the ‘Great White Men’ history curriculum lens, ignoring the vast range of fascinating historical discovery and insights that can be found in the stories of women, people of color, working class communities, and other marginalized voices from the past. These approaches don’t provide for deeper and connected learning of historical concepts and do nothing to create enthusiastic lifelong students of history.
However, research and interviews have shown that creating a vivid connection to history is essential for understanding and contextualizing our lives and humanity’s present and future challenges. As history and social studies are increasingly de-emphasized in classrooms or taught solely as fact and date memorization, there is a clear need for new and exciting supplemental experience to help foster the next generation of informed, nuanced, and historically-conscious problem solvers.
In order to solve for this, Post from the Past seeks to make learning history a compelling, authentic, and accessible experience. They provide a mysterious monthly subscription-box service that personally connects learners with historical humans – everyone from great leaders to everyday people from a different time. It is a multi-sensory experience: learners receive a package from an unknown person containing documents and mementos of their life; then, as they explore these artifacts, they hear their voice emanating from the box to tell pieces of their life story. Learners can go online to do more research, discuss with others, and solve the mystery of who this historical sender was.
After winning the New Challenge, Post from The Past was also selected as a member of XRC Labs NYC and the NYC Media Lab Combine program where they continue to refine and iterate their concept, working on technology and product design for an upcoming beta launch.
Joanna Chin, Interaction Designer at Gallagher & Associates, Parsons School of Design graduate in Design + Technology masters program
Bryan Collinsworth, VR Developer at Viacom, Parsons School of Design graduate in Design + Technology masters program
Parsons School of Design
In Progress (Start Date: 5/1/2017)