I teach Information, Technology and Culture at Northwest Missouri State University. Through this course we are working through the implications of what it means to be a human in the 21st century and the technological implications of our lives.
We are investigating how to manage our digital selves and what that means. How do you manage your digital image? What matters to you and why would you edit that life? Are you more than just your search history and your clicks – or do they define you?
I had the awesome opportunity to present at the annual meeting of the Organization of American History yesterday. The panel I was fortunate to talk with was chaired by Elliot West and organized by Robert Chester. They were fantastic to work with and their individual work has inspired new thinking – something that all panels are supposed to do.
This panel offered me an opportunity to situate my work within the Reconstruction story – a place that was reconstructed in a way different from the traditional discussion. There is only one book – as far as I can find – that deals with the Native American experience during Reconstruction, Abel, Annie Heloise Abel’s, “The American Indian Under Reconstruction” and it was written in 1925. This issue need to be re-addressed in general and my work fits nicely into this discussion. Other texts deal with specifics of reconstruction including mining and timber. There are books about this era in the region, but none that compartmentalize the discussion within reconstruction.
Similarly, I am interested in expanding my work to include other groups that affected Indian territory including the U.S. Army. As Catharine Franklin – who was on my panel with me and works on the history of the Army in the West – pointed out, the Army served many roles in the West as both pursuers of Indians and protectors of Indians. I am interested how this worked out with railroads in the West as well.
Lots of work can be done still in this field.
Several years ago Leslie Working and I compiled a list of material for Teaching History with Technology for k-12 teachers. It is widely useful. You can find it here: https://docs.google.com/document/d/1cx8AzkF4V6jXDkq6to6iYswedr_KgraPQFx950YSsqE/edit?usp=sharing
Let me know what you think and have more to add.
Over the last several years, there has been a significant push toward using technology in the classroom. Hopefully it is clear to readers that I am a proponent of using technology. There are all sorts of technologies that clearly assist learning. The use of computers in the classroom can definitely assist learning – for example in teaching typing, the computer can build typing speed through instant responses. Computers can allow different displays and demonstrate complex ideas simply.
I use technology in my own classroom at the university level. I actively use display technologies and interactive technologies with my students contributing. I teach at the University.
However, the use of technology does not automatically increase student learning. Having elementary students type on a computer screen is good, but does not change the learning from writing on a whiteboard or chalkboard. In order for technology to be effective in the classroom, it needs to be clearly connected to the learning objective and outcomes.
It feels like classroom teachers and politicians have devoted significant attention to the usage of technology in the classroom, but there is not a clear connection between its use and increase in student learning at the lower levels. I wonder if we are just interested in the bells and whistles without paying attention to the core needs of both students and teachers. We seem to be lured in by technology and the salesmen of that technology, but it is unclear how that technology is related to learning outcomes and whether learning increases at lower levels if there is a computer and apps.
And I thought I was a major proponent of technology.
Over the past semester my students in the Constitutional History class have been exposed to working on digital history. Some of what they have done includes developing spreadsheets on Google Drive. These can be in turn published in a variety of formats. This is a quick visualization of some of the work we are doing: http://cdn.knightlab.com/libs/timeline/latest/embed/index.html?source=0Ao5FRC6gTrCJdG9kVHI1ak05R0k4TVdQYkZmUTl1TVE&font=Bevan-PotanoSans&maptype=toner&lang=en&height=650
It is with great pleasure that I welcome my new students to my online world. I too, am new at Northwest Missouri State University and am eager to see what this new year will hold for us all.
You can find more information about the things I am passionate about (Digital History, railroads, the academic experience) here at my blog. For more information on Zotero, visit the site at www.zotero.org You can find what I have written about Zotero here and here.
Dale Runyon has made a significant contribution to undergraduate historical work by writing two clever resources for undergraduate history students. His “How to Read for History” debuted in 2008 and is still quite valuable (although we all might tweak the specifics). His most recent addition, “How to Discuss a Book for History” is just as valuable for history students stuck with an assignment and they are unsure how to proceed. These are great and simple articles that should help many of our students.