Wednesday, August 28, 2013

Teaching History in a Digital Age

If I knew about this book sooner and it wasn't so outrageously priced ($70.00) I would have assigned it in my "Teaching History" class this semester. Thanks to Lincoln Mullen's review at ProfHacker I now have Mills Kelly's Teaching History in a Digital Age on my radar screen.  Here is a taste of Mullen's review:

The question of how to teach history in a digital age is often contentious. On the one side, the old guard thinks the professional standards history is in mortal danger from flash-in-the-pan challenges by the digital that are all show and no substance. On the other side, the self-styled “disruptors” offer over-blown rhetoric about how digital technology has changed everything while the moribund profession obstructs all progress in the name of outdated ideals. At least, that’s a parody (maybe not much of one) of how the debate proceeds. I suspect that both supporters and opponents of the digital share more disciplinary common ground than either admits. Kelly is certainly no stranger to the controversy, having provoked a lot of ire, some reasoned discourse, and, judging by student evaluations, some learning with his courses on “Lying About the Past.” But this book is a demonstration that both sides share the same historian’s concern about sources and the past. Kelly tells an anecdote about a student who re-scored 1940s news reels with Mozart’s Requiem and the music from Jaws and how difficult it was to persuade students why historians could not consider such a re-mixed source “better” than the original. Nor does this book promise a technological utopia, since Kelly writes that “technology is never the answer to a teaching problem.”