As our world becomes increasingly digital, it’s important for us educators to keep up with the latest technology to engage students and help them learn. In our history class this semester, we’ve been exploring the ways in which digital tools are reshaping the traditional classroom.
Many of today’s students have grown up surrounded by technology, so it’s crucial that we adapt to their needs and expectations. At the same time, we need to help those who may not have as much experience with technology to become more comfortable with it. By combining historical methodologies and digital literacy, we can create a more effective and engaging learning experience. As educators, it’s important for us to adapt to the latest technology to engage students and help them learn.
Throughout our class, we’ve explored different forms and styles of digital teaching, discussing what works and why. We’ve also considered what historical teaching looks like and how we can introduce technology in a way that is progressive and meaningful. This style of teaching history enables students to interact with the work and create their own versions, pushing them to enact historical thinking.
One exciting development in the digital teaching of history is the use of interactive timelines. These allow students to see how historical events unfolded over time and explore the connections between different periods and movements. These visual StoryMaps can be seen in both the teaching of history in the classroom but also in museums. This style of teaching history enables students to interact with the work and create their own versions, pushing them to enact historical thinking.
Other digital tools that are reshaping the teaching of history include online primary source archives, digital storytelling, and collaborative research platforms. These archives provide students with direct access to original sources, enabling them to study primary materials, understand the subject matter, and apply their thinking abilities to help influence historical facts over the long term. By incorporating these tools into our teaching, we can help students become more engaged with history and better equipped to understand its relevance to their lives today.
One stand-out source involved Week 4’s Digital Archives & Collections blog post which explored the reading titled titled “Digging in the Digital Archives: Engaging Students in an Online American History Survey” By Carla Vecchiola. In this reading, we begin by considering how students’ creation of mini-primary source gallery blogs can aid in their understanding of historical periods and develop a mechanism for guiding history and its remains. Along with this, looking at pages 108 & 117, when students study primary materials, they better understand the subject matter and can apply their thinking abilities to help influence historical facts over the long term, according to Vecchiola, who begins by showcasing some of her previous students’ work with digital history.
Collaborative research platforms, digital storytelling, and virtual reality are also valuable tools in teaching history. Collaborative research platforms, such as OMEKA group sites, provide students with a chance to create their research on specific questions/topics of history. Digital storytelling, on the other hand, engages students in learning through visual and interactive means. And virtual reality enables students to experience historical events and places in a way that was previously impossible, which enhances traditional instructional methods and creates interactive and engaging visual aids.
The connection between augmented reality and history also expands on the almost physical connection and easy access that students and museum-goers would have. The hands-on experience of interacting with these tools also enhances traditional instructional methods and creates interactive and engaging visual aids or virtual field trips that expose students to new places and experiences.
Lastly, the use of blog posts has proven to be a valuable new resource and class discussion tool. Teachers can use platforms such as Padlet to create class discussion boards for certain prompts, encouraging students to think critically about historical images and topics. In addition, the informal style of writing allows students to increase their technological literacy and practice synthesizing reading for that week and applying or comparing it to current-day teaching styles. In our created lesson plans, I used the tool Padlet to create a class discussion board for a “what do you see/ first impressions” of a primary historical image, prompting the student to continue their growth in historical thinking.
Digital tools are revolutionizing the way we teach history. By embracing these tools and using them effectively, we can help our students become more engaged and informed citizens of the world. It’s crucial that we continue to adapt and stay up-to-date with the latest technological advancements to provide the best education for our students.
Carla Vecchiola, “Digging in the Digital Archives: Engaging Students in an Online American History Survey,” The History Teacher 53, no. 1 (November 2019): 107-134. https://www.societyforhistoryeducation.org/pdfs/N19_Vecchiola.pdf
Langenhorst, Rachel. “Digital Tools for the Social Studies Classroom.” edWeb, December 13, 2018. (Image) https://home.edweb.net/digital-tools-for-the-social-studies-classroom/.
Overly app “Augmented reality in education | Anatomy in 3D” (Video) https://youtu.be/_-M6et9eKdw
Sahota, Neil. “Augmented Reality in Education: The Future of Learning Is Here.” Neil Sahota, February 3, 2023. https://www.neilsahota.com/augmented-reality-in-education-the-future-of-learning-is-here/.