How have digital tools made it easier to teach about and help our audience(s) engage with the past?

FIrst, digital tools enable the teachers to get access to more teaching material and get the chance to communicate directly with other teachers or leading scholars. It can be from these people’s online projects, webinars or just an email. The digital tools can get the students the quality teaching material and resources much faster and with much lower cost.  Now museums and libraries have digitized their material and moved massive archives online.

Second, digital tools bring more possibilities of history teaching. For example, there is a new course called digital history. It teaches students the tools to learn, research and teach history. This expands the scope of both history teaching and the students’ career prospect. Another example is, online teaching. This is especially useful in this pandemic. Online teaching gives students flexible learning time, unlimited learning material which a 50-minute class can not fully include, and more means to present history such as video clips, the latest news reports and social media pages. Moreover, online teaching can bring more interactions between students and the instructor and between the students themselves because students may feel more relaxed by communicating online rather than face to face in the classroom. The digital tools make it easier and thus more frequent for students and teachers to work on one project together because it does not requires people to be synchronous  in time and space.

Third, for in classroom teaching, with digital tools, teachers don’t have to talk all the time in the classroom, instead, they can use digital tools to aid their teaching such as powerpoint slides, videos and an online exhibit of a museum.

Fourth, digital tools can make it easier to check and verify the authority of the information. The massive information of Internet sometimes brings confusion and misunderstanding, as Sam Wineburg said but in my opinion, this massive information also makes it easier to figure out the real answer because you don’t have to dig archives or visit libraries to get the piece of information. The Internet gives access to more information we can use to judge if one things is correct or not.

Fifth, as digital tools give history teachers and curators more options to present the information and interact with the audiences, the digital tools also changed the audiences’ ways to receive information. They are not the passive receivers of what the authority says. Instead, they can actively participate in the process in which history is examined and interpreted. For example, the Internet gives them equal access to the information as it does to a history professor. They can question or further research on the argument of a historical exhibit, make their findings, and exchange the idea with others. This makes it more likely that history teachers and curators will receive feedback from the audiences, make improvements on their teaching or on their projects, have the opportunity to reach a wider audience.

Sixth, digital tools give the audience the freedom to watch an online exhibit and therefore, attract them to stay on the exhibit by letting them see the best part that interests them. Moreover, online exhibit can give more information than that on a physical site. Some museums use online exhibits as a preliminary to their exhibits on the physical site, aiming to attracting people to visit the museum. The digital tools make this strategy possible.

Seventh, digital tools can make help the audience and history teachers discover new facts. For example, by processing massive data, softwares such as Voyant and Palladios can show the information that can not be obtained by human beings who read the database piece by piece. In a sense, the digital tools make research easier and open new windows for historical research.

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *