Using the Remembering WWI App in the Classroom

Today’s post comes from Kerri Young of Historypinapp developer and partner on Remembering WWI.

Teachers present about using Remembering WWI to help students explore a WWI topic, at a workshop on August 2nd at the National WWI Museum and Memorial.
Teachers present about using Remembering WWI to help students explore a WWI topic, at an August 2nd workshop at the National WWI Museum and Memorial in Kansas City.

Remembering WWI is an iPad and Android tablet app for exploring, collaborating, and engaging with our extensive collection of WWI photographs and moving images, along with contributions from national partners at the Library of Congress, Smithsonian National Museum of American History, and the National WWI Museum and Memorial.

The app commemorates the 100-year anniversary of the U.S. entry into World War I, and is available in the iTunes and Google Play stores.

Creating a profile
For teachers creating a free profile in the app, which allows you to keep track of favorite collections and create your own, make sure to check the box next to “I’m a teacher.” This will help to populate the dedicated “Teachers” section of the app with teacher-created collections only. You may wish to make your Username the name of your class, e.g “Mr. Smith’s Class.”

Ideas from teachers

We built Remembering WWI specifically with teachers in mind, and solicited feedback from teacher testing groups when creating the app. Here are some ideas for classroom use from our participants:

  • Students can explore one collection before a class to get them into the feel and context of WWI and a particular topic.
  • Students can create their own collections using the app and then critique them in front of the class.
  • Teachers can create thematic collections for their students to explore as part of a lesson.
  • “I have several lessons that could utilize existing [National Archives] collections. My students all have 1:1 access, so they could spend time exploring these collections, asking questions about photos, writing stories, etc.” – Carol Huneycutt, 5th and 6th grade teacher
  • “I like the created collections. I could see using that in the classroom, directing them towards one of those and giving them questions to answer.”- Colin McGinnis, middle school social studies teacher
  • “I would explore each of the collections to see which might fit with existing lessons.” – Kelli Andrascik, 10th Grade history teacher
  • “Getting to add captions is great — [I] can add discussion questions instead of just captions and go through them with my students together.” – Anne O-Renick, 7th Grade civics teacher

    Curated WWI collections
    A closer look at ready-to-use curated WWI collections within the app, featuring topics teachers recommended during the design process

Breaking it Down: Teacher Workshop Feedback

In the first week of August we held a teacher workshop with our friends at the National World War I Museum and Memorial and the National Archives at Kansas City to introduce Remembering WWI. Participants had the opportunity to explore the app, and brainstorm with fellow teachers about how to use it in the classroom.

Teachers explore the WWI collections
Teachers explore the WWI thematic collections within the app during the teacher workshop in Kansas City. “Pigeons of Valor” was a popular collection.

We asked participants to provide context around using a specific thematic collection within the app, and how they might build a lesson around it. Below are their results. (Note that all collections linked to on Historypin also appear for reuse within the app itself.)

Topic chosen: Chemical Warfare

App collection examples: Chemical Warfare Training, Military Technology in WWI, Occupation of the Luneville Sector

Learning goals: What tactics did soldiers use to defend themselves? What led to chemical warfare (what role did technology play in trying to break the stalemate)?

Who is using the app? Teachers and students


  1. Overview of WWI in class
  2. Read a document about life in the trenches.
  3. Using collection topics in the app, explore a collection on chemical warfare.
  4. Students create a document, poster, slideshow, or other media to help answer the aforementioned learning goal questions.

Topic chosen: Refugees

App collection examples: Refugees of War – France and Belgium, Refugees of War – Middle East

Learning goals: To connect the past with the present day

Who is using the app? Teachers, then students


  1. Teachers provide a list of collection choices and sources in the app relating to the topic.
  2. Students create presentations, in a slideshow program on the computer or within the app.
  3. Students view other classmates’ collections in the app or slideshow. Students each present on their collection and critique one another’s presentations.

Topic chosen: Minorities in WWI

App collection examples: The Famous 369th, Native American Indians during WWI, Anti-German Sentiment in America during WWI

Learning goals: To what extent were minorities involved in WWI? What roles? Which groups? How were German and other immigrants encouraged to fight against their countries of origin?

Who is using the app? “I would love for our kids to be able to self-explore; build their own project/ideas. But we only have laptops in the classroom [not tablets], so teachers would have to use the app [teachers have tablets] and share it with their students.” Historypin is another option for allowing students to explore WWI thematic collections created for the app.

“We would love our kids to have access to the app so they can learn to do their own research instead of just being fed by their teachers.”

Option 2: “So we [teachers] would use the app to build a collection for our kids. We could also collaborate with other [history, social science] teachers to create one place to share resources on using the app.”

No tablets in the classroom?

Like the participant above, not all teachers have access to tablets in the classroom. As an alternative, you can access all of the National Archives and other institutional WWI thematic collections on Historypin. Use Historypin’s map for geographical discovery of the featured primary sources.

In addition, our DocsTeach WWI page provides additional primary sources from the National Archives and WWI activities that you can use to supplement your teaching in the classroom.

App collections as seen on Historypin, and the DocsTeach WWI page


Become a Featured Participant

As a Featured Participant, we will feature how you’ve used the app with your students on our blog and social media channels, and send you a commemorative WWI app poster to hang up in your class. If you would like to sign up to be a Featured Participant, please do so here:

Need further help?

If you’d like to host Historypin to help run a webinar on using the app in your local area, email

For additional resources specifically for teachers on using the app, visit the History Hub discussion page.

To download brochures and posters for the app to share with colleagues and friends, visit our Remembering WWI app page on

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