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Teaching History in the Digital Age

T. Mills Kelly

Publication Year: 2013

Although many humanities scholars have been talking and writing about the transition to the digital age for more than a decade, only in the last few years have we seen a convergence of the factors that make this transition possible: the spread of sufficient infrastructure on campuses, the creation of truly massive databases of humanities content, and a generation of students that has never known a world without easy Internet access. Teaching History in the Digital Age serves as a guide for practitioners on how to fruitfully employ the transformative changes of digital media in the research, writing, and teaching of history. T. Mills Kelly synthesizes more than two decades of research in digital history, offering practical advice on how to make best use of the results of this synthesis in the classroom and new ways of thinking about pedagogy in the digital humanities.

Published by: University of Michigan Press

Series: Digital Humanities


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p. 1-1

Title Page, Series Page, Copyright

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pp. 2-5

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pp. v-x

Historians are always a little nervous about the whole concept of “beginnings,” because we know just how difficult it is to pin down, exactly, when something began. In the case of this book, though, it is not difficult for me to say exactly when it began. During the 1996–1997 academic year I was a visiting instructor in the Department of History at the University of New Hampshire. About a month into the fall semester, we all received a memo...

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pp. xi-xii

This book is dedicated to the memory of my colleague and friend Roy Rosenzweig, founder of the Center for History and New Media (CHNM) and one of the great historians of the twentieth century.1 Had it not been for Roy, I would not have been hired at George Mason University in 2001, and had I not been so fortunate as to join the team at CHNM, I never...


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pp. xiii-xiv

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pp. 1-13

Everyone who teaches has had moments when students do, say, write, or create something that causes us to think about teaching in new ways. Sometimes it is only with hindsight that we realize just how profound the effect was. Other times, what happens is so obvious that even if we try we cannot ignore the impact it has on us. One such moment in my career as...

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1. Thinking: How Students Learn About the Past

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pp. 14-25

How do students think about the past? For more than a century historians have been pondering this question, both in terms of what facts about the past our students ought to know, and just how it is they make sense—or try to make sense—of historical information. While the study of student thinking about the past has not been one of the major fields of endeavor...

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2. Finding: Search Engine–Dependent Learning

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pp. 26-54

As recently as fifteen years ago, historians were trapped in what John McClymer calls a pedagogy of scarcity.1 With only so many historical sources available for students to work with; that is, those in print and those available at whatever archive or library might be close-by, the scope of our teaching about the past was limited to that which our students could reasonably...

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3. Analyzing: Making Sense of a Million Sources

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pp. 55-77

When we think about the future of historical research in the age of the huge digital libraries that are currently under construction, we will face with what I sometimes think of as the Klofáč-Kramář dilemma.1 In the late nineteenth and early twentieth centuries, Václav Klofáč and Karel Kramář were prominent Czech politicians—first in the Austro-Hungarian Empire, and later in Czechoslovakia.2 Because neither man became president...

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4. Presenting: Capturing, Creating, and Writing History

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pp. 78-101

Since Herodotus first began scratching out his Histories almost 2,500 years ago, historians have been writing about the past. Text and history have been inseparable companions for all the centuries since the Persian wars, and thanks to the Chinese, for almost 2,000 years, we have been writing those texts on paper. With a little help from Herr Gutenberg, for more...

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5. Making: DIY History?

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pp. 102-125

A 2010 survey by Robert Townsend of the American Historical Association makes it abundantly clear that historians teaching at American colleges and universities remain profoundly skeptical of the value of using digital media to teach their students about the past. Although wide majorities of those teaching undergraduates have adopted slideware such as...

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pp. 126-130

Because the digital realm is a space of rapid change, this book could never be more than a snapshot of that realm at a given moment. Between the time I began writing in 2009 and the winter of 2011 when I finished the full draft of the manuscript, much had already changed in the world of digital history. Some of those changes needed to be incorporated into the...


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pp. 131-148


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pp. 149-167

E-ISBN-13: 9780472029136
E-ISBN-10: 0472029134
Print-ISBN-13: 9780472118786
Print-ISBN-10: 0472118781

Page Count: 192
Illustrations: 8 illustrations
Publication Year: 2013

Series Title: Digital Humanities