I've been in education of some kind for over fifteen years now, and over these
I've always thought it would be interesting to do a history course in reverse. Start with the later events (beginning in present) and have students consider what history might have looked like to lead to these later events, working backwards as far as possible. I always hated that my history classes ended before things got interesting (where "interesting" means, you know, when I am on the scene).
(If you are ever in DC, the Newseum offers some good exhibits to learn recent history.)