Beyond the Textbook: Equity, Engagement, and Primary Sources in the Classroom

The Philadelphia Area Consortium of Special Collections Libraries (PACSCL) is proud to announce Beyond the Textbook: Equity, Engagement, and Primary Sources in the Classroom, a free conference to support K-12 educators in collaboration with archivists and librarians, focused on supporting diversity in the classroom. The conference will take place on October 1, 2022, hosted by LaSalle University. Due to the uncertainties surrounding COVID and to widen access to the event, the conference is planned to include both virtual and in-person programming.

Shermann “Dilla” Thomas, Open Session Speaker!

The conference organizers are thrilled to announce that the TikTok star, Shermann “Dilla” Thomas, will be the open session speaker.  Mr. Thomas has received national attention for democratizing American history through his TikTok videos and social media posts. To learn more about him, please visit:

To Submit a Proposal

Please submit an application and 250 word abstract using this form for consideration by June 1, 2022. Successful proposals will be notified on July 1, 2022.

Proposals are sought from K-12 teachers, undergraduate instructors, museum educators, education studies researchers, archivists, librarians, EdTech professionals, historians, and others with ideas to share about K-12 instruction using primary sources. Interested presenters are encouraged to incorporate a range of primary sources (i.e. physical or digital documents, images, audio recordings, artifacts, etc. that provide firsthand testimony or direct evidence concerning historical topics, events, actors, ideas) that are relevant to different disciplines, from social studies to STEM.

Proposals should relate BOTH to teaching AND to primary sources. Proposals addressing the following topics are particularly encouraged:

  • Anti-racist pedagogy
    • Addressing problematic or harmful language during classroom sessions
    • Preparing primary sources for potential classroom use by moderating or addressing problematic or harmful language/content
  • Influences and impacts on students
    • Trauma-informed teaching
    • Meeting the needs of neurodiverse learners
    • Encouraging students to be knowledge creators
  • Ready-to-use resources for teachers
    • Methods and practices
    • Tool demonstrations
    • Classroom resources (lesson plans, resource lists, etc.)
  • Examples of using primary sources in the classroom
    • Teaching with physical primary sources
    • Teaching with digital primary sources
    • Primary sources in STEM classes
    • Primary sources in K-12 classes
    • Primary sources in ESOL classes
    • Primary sources for neurodiverse students
    • Collaborations between archivists/librarians and K-12 teachers
  • Designing student-led sessions

Presentations may take one of the following formats:

  • Traditional Paper Presentation – one 20-minute fully prepared paper (approximately 10 minutes for Q&A will be added)
  • Self-Organized Session  – 60-minute session consisting of three to five panelists discussing perspectives on a selected topic, including time for comments and discussion (speakers to be selected and moderated by the proposer)
  • Express Talk – a single 10-minute talk (approximately 5 minutes for Q&A will be added)
  • Lightning Talk Session – 30-minute session of four to five 5-minute talks on a given topic, including time for comments and discussion (speakers to be selected and moderated by the proposer)
  • Resource/Tool Demo – 10-minute demonstration showcasing an online digital collection, tech tool, or other resource that sheds light on conference themes (approximately 5 minutes for Q&A will be added)
  • Other: The sky’s the limit! For example, an interactive, hands-on session. Please specify, topic, format, and session length (e.g. 15 minutes, 30 minutes, or 60 minutes)