Paths to Literacy

for students who are blind or visually impaired

Big History

illustration of Big History timelines, with photos of Bill gates and participating teacher

Bill Gates enthusiastically presents… The Big History Project, an organization dedicated to “bringing big history to life” for high school students. Big History Project, LLC. defines “Big History” as a conceptual approach to teaching in the context of common themes and patterns between the people, civilizations, and the world we live in. More than just a timeline approach to world history -- though it is that as well -- Big History explores the relationships between events and individuals, and uses critical thinking to connect sciences, humanities, sociology, arts, and more! Big History is a cross-curriculum approach for upper grades that uses student-led lessons and collaborative teams to build the project-based learning skills students will need in the workplace as well as in higher education.

Using world-renowned educator leaders like Henry Louis Gates, Jr., Sal Khan, and Janna J. Levin, The Big History Project will be delivered online, reducing materials costs for over 75 participating pilot schools. The project’s robust content covers 13 billion years of history in two major sections: “Formations and Early Life,” and “Humans.” Lesson plans, teaching guides, and multi-media are also provided. The project aligns to Common Core ELA standards, and is “Easily tailored to specific state standards and instructional approaches,” according to their project materials.

In October of 2013, The Big History project will become public, with six hours of content at no cost to schools. Participants will pay back the program through their contributions and feedback to improve the program. This is a chance for educators who work with students who are blind or visually impaired to suggest adaptations and accessibility enhancements, and to recommend content regarding the diversity of experiences for people with disabilities throughout history and around the world. The project team is invested in refining and developing The Big History Project over the next two years before transferring administration to an education partner.

Nov 2013 UPDATE:  The Big History Project is now available to everyone - completely free, open, and online! 

To get involved with The Big History Project, and learn more about its mission, use the contact information below

Big History Project is sponsored by Bill Gates, separately from his work

with the Bill & Melinda Gates Foundation

Posted on September 3, 2013
Updated on: February 8, 2018