UNT's Portal to Texas History digital educational initiative gets boost from Texas Bar Foundation grant

Friday, May 14, 2021 - 10:16

DENTON (UNT), Texas — The University of North Texas Libraries’ Portal to Texas History program received a grant from the Texas Bar Foundation to support development of educational materials for UNT’s Texas History for Teachers initiative. 

The educational initiative will use technology to empower social studies teachers across the state to provide students with lessons that evoke a deeper and more meaningful engagement with the Texas past.

"The long-term vision is to produce a full Texas history curriculum, mapped to the Texas Essential Knowledge and Skills standards, that combines the very best of historical knowledge and educational pedagogy, freely accessible to any Texas history teacher,” said Andrew Torget, UNT associate professor of history. “In so doing, we hope to transform Texas classrooms into a national model for integrating best-practice instruction into social studies curriculum."

With this grant, the UNT Libraries will purchase video equipment and hardware to support production of videos that will introduce each of the 15 educational units. Additional videos will highlight topics of special interest such as the Alamo.

“We’re thrilled by this gift from the Texas Bar Foundation, as these videos will be crucial for setting the tone for each new unit, as well as providing a historian’s perspective on iconic moments in our state’s history to teachers in the classroom,” said Dreanna Belden, assistant dean for external relations in the UNT Libraries. 

The new website developed for this project will launch in July, replacing the Portal’s existing educational website, which has been used heavily by Texas history teachers since its inception in 2006. The vision for the new website builds on the excellence of the curriculum created in the past, while dramatically broadening the scope and depth of what is offered to enrich the teaching of Texas history.

“We appreciate the support of the Texas Bar Foundation for the unique educational opportunities offered by the Portal to Texas History,” said UNT Libraries Dean Diane Bruxvoort.

Since its inception in 1965, the Texas Bar Foundation has awarded more than $22 million in grants to law-related programs. Supported by members of the State Bar of Texas, the Texas Bar Foundation is the nation's largest charitably-funded bar foundation.



The Portal to Texas History at the University of North Texas is an online collection of Texas history and culture. The Portal includes more than 1.5 million historical materials from newspapers and photos to maps and letters. Each month, there are more than one million uses from around the world of the rare pieces of the state’s cultural and historical heritage collected from the Portal’s partners at museums, libraries and archives across Texas.

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