Teach 3.11 is a multi-language collaborative project that helps teachers, students, and scholars locate and share educational resources about the historical contexts of scientific and technical issues related to understanding large-scale disasters, such as the earthquake, tsunami, and nuclear disasters in Japan.
• “What should I read?”
• “What should I teach?”
• “Who studies these issues?”
Many Japan-watchers and analysts of science and technology have been asking such questions since the events of March 11, 2011. Even now, as we pass the third-year anniversary, many questions remain, and there is much left to learn. The same questions come up again in response to other complex disasters, as they strike other parts of Asia and the world. As an independent initiative spurred by the hope of helping people find useful answers to such questions, Teach 3.11 is a volunteer-based online project built in the spirit of international cooperation and solidarity—the same spirit that energizes recovery from a large-scale disaster, in Japan as elsewhere.
As a not-for-profit educational project of the Forum for the History of Science in Asia (FHSAsia), Teach 3.11 has a simple goal: to enhance the collective knowledge of scholars worldwide working at the intersections of history of science and technology and Asia by presenting, annotating and organizing pertinent scholarly work and teaching materials. Achieving this goal depends on volunteer writers and translators including undergraduates, graduate students, post-docs, and professors. Volunteers write and translate summaries of useful books, films, articles, and other resources on history of science and technology topics related to the disasters.
An international effort targeted at a global audience, the project depends crucially upon language translation and social media for connecting people to resources that may otherwise remain linguistically inaccessible. By posting materials in English, Japanese, Korean, Bahasa Indonesia, and Chinese, we hope to make Teach 3.11 as accessible and as useful as possible for fellow educators, students, and scholars everywhere.
Teach 3.11 took shape as an immediate response to events by scholars linked by Cornell University’s Science and Technology Studies graduate program. Beginning on April 14, 2011 through the end of that month, Teach 3.11 posted every weekday at 2:46 p.m. local time in Japan to memorialize the tragedy. A partnership with the Forum for the History of Science in Asia facilitated generation of the suggestions about references, readings, and audio-visual materials to aid teachers interested in pertinent history of science and technology resources in the wake of the disasters. After one year, we continued to prepare future online postings in multiple languages toward the aim of building a collectively produced online teaching resource. Since then, our scope has widened to include cultural artifacts related to the disaster, as well as materials from other disciplines that also address the topic of disasters. As we have attracted volunteers, we have included other languages and other academic communities in our posted content. During our second year, we completed preparations to redesign the web site and center production of the site within Asia, strengthened by a new partnership with the Society for the History of Technology Asia Network. Three years in, new postings continue to appear at 2:46 p.m. Japan time, on the 11th of every odd month.
Our lines of communication are open. Talk to us at teach3eleven [at] gmail.com. Bookmark and check teach311.org or follow us on Twitter @teach_311 for updates. As we increase our digital presence, please stay tuned and help spread the word.
Image: A house floats intact in the Pacific Ocean, washed out to sea by the tsunami of March 11, 2011. Credit: US Navy