Asian American Studies Center to create free resource for high school teachers

The UCLA Asian American Studies Center has received $10 million in state funding that will propel the development of a free multimedia learning experience that will equip teachers across the country with materials that can fill a curricular gap about the experiences of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders.

The AAPI Multimedia Textbook will feature an open-access, online platform with lessons for students in high school, college and lifelong learners. Its chapters will highlight the histories, struggles, cultures and contributions of Asian Americans and Pacific Islanders in the United States. It will integrate content developed by scholars from across the country, and engaging learning activities in flexible modules for teachers and students. The materials will focus on high school and college students.

“The textbook will be the most comprehensive, scholar-informed, online history of AAPIs that redefines the American narrative and opens unlimited possibilities for building a just, multiracial and democratic future,” said Karen Umemoto, Helen and Morgan Chu Endowed Director of the UCLA Asian American Studies Center. One of the key features of the multimedia textbook is its curation by members of Asian American and Pacific Islander communities.

The one-time funding from the California budget provides an infrastructure to support broad curriculum development as well as aid the procurement of multimedia materials, build and test a new online learning platform and launch a national training program for teachers and school districts. The center will also evaluate and refine the content for future editions.

The budget allocation was championed by the Asian American Pacific Islander Legislative Caucus.

“This AAPI Multimedia Textbook produced by the UCLA Asian American Studies Center will provide an authoritative and invaluable resource for California high schools and colleges as we prepare for the teaching of ethnic studies throughout the state,” said Assemblymember Al Muratsuchi. “I look forward to continuing to collaborate with UCLA to ensure that Asian American and Pacific Islander history and perspectives are properly taught in our classrooms.”

Teachers will have flexibility

The online platform will allow students to navigate chapters on different topics, periods and places with visual, audio and archival artifacts that bring history to life, Umemoto said. Chapters will be standalone and operate as customizable modules designed for a single class period or a week-long series that educators can “take off the shelf” to teach in their classrooms.

“The work that Dr. Umemoto and the UCLA Asian American Studies Center is doing is more important than ever,” said Assemblymember Mike Fong. “The increase in anti-AAPI hate crimes is an indication of the lack of understanding and appreciation for the contributions made by our community to California and our nation. I am grateful for the support from the AAPI Legislative Caucus, the legislature and the governor, and I look forward to seeing the final product of the AAPI Multimedia Textbook project.”