Technology Strategies
for teaching
Russia and its Neighbors
Kate Althaus
CSEEES M.A. RUES candidate
UNC Chapel Hill
6BO contains thousands of short videos featuring people of all
ages, backgrounds, ethnicities, and nationalities speaking about
various aspects of their lived experience in their native tongue
(most also have English captions).
Application in the classroom:
Students are each assigned one
speaker from the Russian, East
European, and Central Asian region
to watch. Afterward, they will
research the community he or she
is from as well as the average
statistics for someone of that
demographic. Students can then
share their findings with the class,
and compare and contrast life in
each region with each other, as well
as with our own here.
Excellent resource for:
• Comparative studies of global
• Examining attitudes toward
one topic (such as the
environment) across
civilizations and age groups
• Understanding global
• Helping students become
comfortable with other cultural
 Countless graphing options
 Interactive timelines
 Easy, free download to computer for
offline use
 Ability to save custom graphs
 Best resource for offering a comparative
statistical analyses of nations
Application in the classroom:
• Students can select the graph variables they think will be best to test
• Before viewing each graph, students can predict which nations might be the
highest, explain why certain nations have similar patterns
• Pause interactive timelines during years where a nation experienced a
noticeable jump in numbers, and ask students to hypothesize about this
jump using historical knowledge
• Examines the entire history of the Soviet
Union through multiple lenses
• Easy-to-read passages
• Excellent image resource
• Short primary source videos(w/English
captions) organized topically
• Feature which allows viewer to add section
of interest to a stored “syllabus” for quick
17 Moments of Soviet History
Prokudin-Gorskii Collection
Nearly 3,000 stunning images of
everyday life in Russia taken by the
official tsarist photographer, Sergei
Prokudin-Gorskii from 1905-1915.
Brumfield Collection
Landscape photos from across Russia, with
subjects ranging from beautiful Russian
Orthodox cathedrals to dismal Soviet-era
remnants. Taken by American professor
William Brumfield.
Lesson: TheBerlinWall
context: Constructed in 1961, the Berlin Wall was
designed to keep residents of East Berlin, which had
become Soviet territory postwar, from fleeing to the
west. Because this wall divided a city, it not only has
political and historical context, but geographical and
environmental as well. In addition, it directly
affected both German and US history, which allows
it to be relatable on a multitude of levels.
TheBerlinWall: content
A few videos of older
German men discussing
the impact of the Wall
on their lives
Newseum: The Rise and Fall of the Berlin Wall
Excellent virtual exhibit on various aspects of
the Wall and its impact on the people of East
and West Germany. Newseum also contains
an assortment of front page stories regarding
its construction and fall that are great
primary sources to look at, and to compare
each country’s coverage of the event
ABCWorldNews: Peter Jennings
covers the Berlin Wall as it falls,
shows the amazingly energetic
and peaceful environment, and
discusses the power of freedom
HistoryChannel: The Berlin Wall Deconstructed
Quick video overview of the construction, existence, and
deconstruction of the Berlin wall. The History Channel website
also contains a number of other, longer, videos on the Wall.
Lesson: Chernobyl
On April 25, 1986 in the town of Chernobyl, Ukraine, the
world’s biggest manmade disaster in history occurred when reactor No. 4
at the Chernobyl Nuclear Power plant failed during testing, causing the
reactor to explode and deadly amounts of nuclear waste to be released.
This nuclear fallout was made worse by the fact that the Soviet
government chose not to report it for 4 days after, going so far as to
encourage the residents of Chernobyl and neighboring towns to resume
their daily lives during that time.
This disaster, which immediately caused over 3,000 deaths, still looms
over the Ukrainian, Belarusian, and Russian peoples’ heads today in the
way of toxic farmlands, contaminated rivers, decaying ghost towns, and
the largest amount of cancer and rare disability patients in the world.
Chernobyl is a grave example of human impact on the environment, as
well as of ecosystems, geography, social uprisings, and government
policy. It is particularly relevant today, as the recent nuclear catastrophe
in Japan has left many wondering and discussing the costs, benefits, and
risks of the use of nuclear power in our world.
Chernobyl: context
Excellent blurb on the events of
Chernobyl, along with photos,
external links to primary documents,
and a quick primary source video
(w/captions) taken via helicopter
immediately after the explosion
6BO: Video of older
Ukrainian woman
discussing life in her
village post Chernobyl
TimmSuess: photographer who recently
went to the area and took hauntingly
beautiful images of the now ghost town
NatGeo: complete Chernobyl lesson plan
which offers good ideas on how to effectively
convey the significance of the disaster
depending on subject matter and age groups
Timeline: Museum of
Soviet Timeline
Chernobyl: context
Paul Fusco:
Writer and photographer who created
virtual exhibit on the children of Chernobyl
residing in Belarussian orphanages and
asylums today.
Warning: Images are very emotional and
graphic, and may be too much for certain
grade levels to handle.