The world is his classroom, and lifelong learner extraordinaire Brian Hurd ’87 ’01 transports his middle school students to the far-flung places he studies and explores.
“All my travels are kind of like a workshop,” said Hurd, who has visited all 50 states and 34 countries, and along with wife, Terry (Rennquist) ’72 ’83, has taught six annual one-month summer sessions at a middle school in China. He brings global history and culture to life through technology-rich interactive textbooks, artifacts and writings.
“Teaching is what I do, and who I am,” he said. The students he has taught for 12 years at Mary of Lourdes Middle School in Little Falls are the beneficiaries of his passion for turning the fruits of his rich travel life into effective teaching tools.
“I put a lot of effort into it,” Hurd said, referring to his value-added teaching methods. He uses unique multimedia, interactive textbooks that contain linkable glossaries, narration, zoomable images and other unusual features. “I’m one of a few middle school teachers who’ve written books that are used in their classroom.”
Incorporating technology that has been out since 2012, Hurd has created six electronic, interactive textbooks. “It’s amazing technology,” he said. “I kind of weave into each unit what I’ve learned.”
His textbooks, are available also to other educators through YouTube, Apple ibookstores and Amazon have a common style. Each has a title that includes “101 Keys to Understanding…” For example, The Last Full Measure: 101 Keys to Understanding the American Civil War, can be previewed at (https://itunes.apple.com/us/book/the-last-full-measure/id510119518?mt=11). His textbooks are being sold in 51 countries.
Hurd’s eclectic background and interests have enriched his personal as well as his professional life. Probing the culture of the places he goes with his former journalist’s eye and curiosity gives him, his students and the readers of his “Travels with Brian” blog (brianhurd.us) a rare glimpse into the people, events and traditions that have shaped history and will affect the future