In 2020, as tens of millions of students across the country shifted to virtual learning overnight and as their teachers sought new, engaging learning materials to hold their students‘ interest - at the Driving Force Institute, we were well-positioned to leverage our expertise and respond to the unmet need of teaching in a digital learning environment. This unprecedented situation further solidified our commitment to transform the teaching and learning of American history.
Increasingly, young people are engaging with and influenced by news from alternate sources. Many teens are digesting important conversations from social media. Much of their learning does not occur in the classroom, from a history textbook, or lecture.
Driving Force Institute is transforming how American history is taught and learned by exploring untold narratives, bringing inclusive history to students and classrooms, that resonates with teenage audiences. Guided by our belief that history is a question, not a statement, we produce and distribute accurate, balanced, and accessible videos on American history at no cost to our audience, two minutes at a time.
Untold is a free collection of short, compelling, history videos and animations designed to
engage new audiences in a new conversation and shine a light on the stories that don’t always make it into the classroom
and question what we think we know about those that do
Not everything worth knowing exists inside the cover of our history textbooks. Untold is here to fill in the gaps and bring new stories to life.
In 2019, a survey conducted by the Driving Force Institute (DFI) revealed a concerning trend: history ranked as the second least-liked subject among high school students, following art. This stemmed from students perceiving history as dull and irrelevant due to its focus on deceased white male landowners. Educators echoed these concerns, craving concise, thought-provoking video content to spark classroom discussions.
DFI’s response was pioneering. We embarked on a mission to revitalize history education through Untold stories—narratives marginalized in traditional education. These narratives shed light on diverse perspectives and historically overlooked voices. Our approach embraced collaborative partnerships with industry leaders, Makematic and DoGoodery, to bring these Untold stories to life.
Our execution hinged on a multi-faceted strategy:
Challenges & Triumphs:
DFI has established valuable partnerships and is poised for growth. Increased funding will allow us to scale our efforts, enhance video development (exploring AI integration), and invest in marketing and capacity building. Moreover, we aim to continue bridging the media literacy gap, ensuring Untold stories can be effectively utilized to enhance lessons.
Untold is not just a history education initiative; it's a movement that embraces diversity, inclusivity, and engagement. By telling Untold stories, we are redefining the way history is taught and understood, ensuring that the next generation is equipped with a broader, more inclusive perspective of our past.
Today, Driving Force Institute stands as one of the nation’s largest educational video resources for U.S. history.
The secret to our growth is collaboration and partnership. In the past year, we have continued to build on our partnership with groups like iCivics, American Battlefield Trust, the White House Historical Association, and the New York Historical Society. This spring, we will launch new partnerships with the International Spy Museum, the American Philosophical Society, and the Bill of Rights Institute, to name just a few.
These partnerships also have been essential to dramatically increasing reach. But the true measure of our reach is our distribution partnerships. Today, we work with groups such as ClickView, Learn360, Scholastic, Newsela, NearPod, Rakuten, and PBS LearningMedia to ensure that learners have access to our content. These partnerships now have us reaching more than 43 million viewers, more than 90% of public school districts in the United States, and 45,000 libraries globally.
We remain committed to bringing new stories to Untold History audiences and providing the highest quality video resources to support continuous learning of U.S. History. Our work will continue to expand as we reach new content partners and keep telling the stories no one has heard about. While we are proud of our success and impact so far, we still have a lot of untold lessons and stories to share.