Not Just Another eBook

Crossroads Connect is Indiana's first digital social studies textbook. In the Fall 2013 semester, eight students from a variety of majors—including public history, English education, telecommunications, and Spanish—participated in a semester-long immersive learning course through Ball State's Virginia B. Ball Center for Creative Inquiry.

Crossroads Connect is more than just an eBook, it is an application designed for tablet computers and is now available in Apple and Android stores. This interactive application teaches students about Indiana's history by using a combination of text, video, music, games, timelines, self-test quizzes, and responsive pictures and captions that engage all types of learners. The digital textbook covers areas such as government, geography, economics and history to meet state curriculum standards.

Perhaps the most unique quality of Crossroads Connect is its narration. Objective narration and multiple perspectives of the history provide students with a better understanding of the subject. History professor and mentor of the immersive learning course, Ron Morris, says the book broadens the scope from a European-centric view of history to include women and ethnic groups that have been largely excluded from traditional history texts.

One example of Crossroads Connect's use of multiple perspective learning:

George Rogers Clark’s legendary winter campaign to take Fort Sackville in southwest Indiana being told from viewpoints of various participants in the Revolutionary War, including slaves, British soldiers, French and Spanish residents, Native Americans, and women.

Divided into four individual units, Crossroads Connect makes learning easy. 

Visit crossroadsconnect.usto learn more or download the app.

What The Experience is Worth

Heidi Noneman, a Whitinger and Bold Celebration Scholar and Ball State student involved in the project, explains that current teaching methods of Indiana history in fourth-grade classrooms rely heavily on paper texts. She continues to explains that paper texts often fall short of providing a quality education to students by offering static material, cost inefficiency, and catering only to visual learners.  Crossroads Connect and its digital software and content can be updated more quickly and more cost efficiently. This will allow educators to provide the most current historical knowledge and theory.

As part of the immersive learning process, students work closely with a mentor and community partners to receive a learning experience that results in real-world solutions. Crossroads Connect students partnered with cultural and historical agencies, government officials, and elementary school teachers throughout the state. These professional connections are likely to benefit the careers of the students.

Click here to learn more about Heidi's immersive learning experience.