I just watched a wonderful TED talk on the significance of the Walls of Constantinople to the West. I enjoyed that this video is both concise and clear. The only criticism I have is that those fleeing Constantinople did not only go to Rome, but to many other major cities. It was not so much the crusaders who brought the culture and knowledge from Constantinople to the west as it was the Eastern Romans themselves. Most of our books call them Byzantines, but they knew themselves as Roman.
Go watch the video. Use it as part of your Church History or Ancient History unit studies.
Consider this: Constantine introduced the organ to the west, so Church music owes much to the Byzantine empire. The Chants of Constantinople influenced church music and resulted in Gregorian chant and other chant forms in the West.
Let us be sure to teach history to our children so that they understand its importance, and that they know the truth of what occurred. The Eastern Roman Empire was the center of culture for nearly a millennium. THEY built the libraries and cities of Byzantium, and it was their work that was co-opted by the Ottoman during the so-called golden age of islam. The Byzantines were creative and CHRISTIAN. They led their time in architecture and when someone points to a dome on a mosque– you tell them they got that technology from the Byzantine Christians.