The Advantages: Integrating Technology into History

Teaching history today is far more complicated than it used to be even a few decades ago. The rapid availability of information and multimedia can make even the best traditional lecture look like a modern-day archaeology exhibit. Though the essence of history and its studies has not changed, the process by which information is gathered, learned, and shared has evolved.

The use of technology in the history classroom provides a number of unique opportunities for students not afforded by previous generations due to financial and geographic constraints. A student who has never ventured beyond their city limits can visit the ancient pyramids of Egypt or the Great Wall of China with a few clicks of a button. These opportunities have the potential to create a new, digital world in which history can emerge for students. Below is a brief listing of the relative advantages of integrating technology into history instruction.

  1. Engaging: Who doesn’t find playing an American Revolution game far more interesting than listening to a lecture? Integrating relevant technology into history lessons can ensure that students remain interested in the material. These experiences may also serve to maintain student attention later when the content is not as interesting.
  2. Personal Perspectives: Technology provides the opportunity to access exhaustive collections of primary source documents which give students insight into a very personal aspect of the content studied in textbooks and other course materials. Frequently secondary source accounts glaze over the intricacies of events and time periods, tending to favor a summarized approach to the content. Online repositories such as the Library of Congress and National Archives open the door to new perspectives in historical studies.
  3. Practice Digital Skills: Any time students can work with technology or online, they have an opportunity to practice their digital skills as well as appropriate digital citizenship. By utilizing popular Web 2.0 tools (such as Twitter, WordPress, or Google Drive) students can practice digital skills just as professionals do in their daily jobs today. The classroom provides a safe environment by which to engage in this practice and learn new methods students may not have normally explored on their own.

Ultimately, integrating technology into history courses makes the content come alive. Students can explore the people, places, and events in new ways as they see fit making their learning experiences much more customized and personal.

References

Roblyer, M. D. (2016). Integrating educational technology into teaching (7th ed.). New York, NY: Pearson Education, Inc.

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2 thoughts on “The Advantages: Integrating Technology into History

  1. I’ve never seen an American Revolution game, but I still have fond memories of the Oregon Trail game that the Learning Company released for DOS… my secondary content area is history, and I don’t think I would have remembered the geography of the Trail had I not played it! So, I totally agree. Have you used iCivics at all? There are so many fun games there that make the Bill of Rights come alive. I also saw a game on gerrymandering somewhere, which can be a difficult concept for kids. Honestly though, I am team games all the way!

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  2. I completely agree that the way we teach history has changed. I feel like when I present information through lecture, it goes in one ear and out the other. Students retain information and care more about information when it is presented to them using technology. I have played the gerrymandering game Sarah mentioned, and I will be honest, I did not understand gerrymandering at all until I played that game. I think technology is something that kids today just relate to, and it is how they are “wired” to learn in a sense. It is a good thing to because the working world is full of technology.

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