Entry #13: Teaching the Digital Humanities

In Todays day and age it is hard to think about teaching without using the Digital Humanities. I have a family member who is a freshman in high school and has difficulty hand writing papers or even using a book for research. The only time she uses the library is for the computers. Everything is done digitally.

As technology advances we become more reliant on those new advances to complete our research and teach our students. I am aware that my introduction to this post makes it seem that I am against using the digital humanities in teaching but that can’t be further from the truth. It is my belief that the the digital humanities should be used as a teaching supplement.

I had read the article for class by Jeff McClurken titled Teaching and Learning with Omeka: Discomfort, Play, and Creating Public, Online, Digital Collections and it had explained to me that there are people out there that, unlike me, are uncomfortable with using the digital world to complete research or even submitting a paper. It adds a level of discomfort by opening up the student to a new realm of presenting their research. They have the freedom to choose how to present their findings. They can be imaginative; something that is not very common in History.

That is partially a reason for the discomfort of the public. There is a set way in the field of history and most of the time that is because the discipline has a strict way of completing research and presenting that work to the public. Historians are easily spooked when you take them out of their comfort zone and that is just what the digital revolution has done. The Web 2.0 has advanced the field of study much to the dismay of many people in the field because they are not used to the accessibility that the internet has created.

It is our duty to teach the forthcoming historians how to use those tools to their advantage because without them there is a chance that their abilities as a researcher will suffer. If they want to be a teacher themselves they need to learn the tools offered in the digital realm because without that knowledge there is a disconnect between the teacher, their material, and the students. There are students in high school that don’t know how to write neatly because a majority of the writing that they do is by typing on a keyboard. I have a cousin who is a freshman in high school who relies on the instant gratification from the internet to gather in formation and create a historical understanding of the past. She does not realize that my generation is the first to have limited access to the tools she has on an iPad during class. The differences between todays ideas of history and technology is vastly different because the two are so interwoven now.

The Digital Humanities are something that teachers need to embrace and teach to the coming generations because it promotes individuality in a field filled with a direct path but also it opens up the doors for different way of understanding the world. Digital humanities allow for a world to connect and understand the past.

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