“They just seemed less connected to the material than I wanted them to be.”
This article promoted an interesting idea for a history classroom, create a hoax on the internet, that is believable, and see how long it would take for someone to realize it is false. Author Kelly Mill’s teaches a History Methods course at her university and was struggling to find ways to help her students really learn the material. Although her students were providing excellent feedback about the course and providing detailed work; they just seemed less connected to the material than she would have liked. This is an issue that plagues classrooms everywhere, including the one we are in right now! People always get distracted or aren’t engaged with things because they have other things going on. Despite the course being riddled with learning exercises, interesting readings, and engaging hands on activities, students were unable to make the connections needed to really “do history.” Her solution to this was to teacher her student show to lie, specifically with the creation of a hoax online. Students created a believable hoax to prove that not everything you read online is truthful. Besides trying to make the class exciting, she wanted to teach students how to properly identify sources in history that are true. This project provided great results with many academics commenting on them that they believed what they had written.
“I believe that the study of history ought to be fun and that too often historians (I include myself in this category) take an overly stuffy approach to the past.”
This quote from the text stood out to me especially, as it is how I feel about history. I want to make my future classroom a space that students find fun and exciting, and somewhere they want to be. This is the struggle with classrooms around the world today. The students are lacking certain understandings of material due to the lack of engaging, interesting activities that stimulate higher thinking. Mill’s approach to making history fun and not stuffy was interesting to read about as it was different than any other activity I have done. The fact that she used false hoax’s to help students engage better with primary and secondary sources; specifically identifying their trustworthiness. Her class was still lecture focused, along with normal activities, but the major focus was student analysis of sources to create a false hoax. This made me wonder, what similar activities can be performed that will facilitate higher thinking among students? As in, where can I find these activities to use in my future classroom?
“Too often these days students search for plausible information using the “type some keywords into Google and see what comes up” method.”
This was a good point made by Mill’s in her article, this means that students just look up information and base their results on what popped up. This offers barely any trustworthy information as search engines only show key words in their results, not reliable sources. The sources that pop up first and the ones students usually use, offer no critical analysis of material. I wish Mill’s would have elaborated here with an example of a student who fell victim to “zombie facts.” I think that if she would have provided an example of a “zombie fact” or a source that is an example an untrustworthy site would have been beneficial. Many readers are visual learners and while Mill’s article offered many contextual evidence, having a visual aide would have further cemented her claims.