Physical Facilities in Edu.
While reading Barbara Weinstein’s article, Doing History in the Digital Age, I was able to relate with her students complaint regarding the lack of physical facilities of her classroom. Last year I took a course, The History of Latin America, taught by an older female professor who lectured everyday, but used PowerPoint to provide pictures and statistics. Although it was painful to listen to the unenthusiastic monotone lectures, her use of PowerPoint made the class twice as bearable. It is refreshing to know “older” professors are accepting this movement toward digital technology in education, rather than sticking to their traditional methods of teaching. Also, I though that Weinstein brought up a good point saying that digital archives is “a godsend for scholars working in countries where there is precious little funding available for libraries or research collections.” I had never considered this aspect of online databases, and it is fascinating to imagine these research and educational opportunities now available to the less fortunate aspiring scholars out there.
Christopher Miller’s article, Strange Facts in the History Classroom: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Wiki(pedia), was intriguing, because Miller explained and broke down an assignment for one of his classes at Carol College in Wisconsin. The Midwest is a strange place to me, and I’m glad to know that they use the Internet there ;). I noticed that the article was written in 2008, but was still surprised that only 7 of Miller’s 28 students knew of Wikipedia’s existence. I graduated from high school that year in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and am positive that the majority of my classmates regularly used the website. Once Miller’s students grasped the overall idea of Wikipedia, I wasn’t surprised to hear that they conveyed very positive attitudes about its information. Like Weinstein’s observation about the “physical facilities” of the classroom, Wikipedia provides a similar phenomenon. Pictures, statistics, and lists of references are present on every page, and its not surprising that Miller’s students were immediately accepting of Wikipedia’s information. Though they eventually came to recognize Wikipedia’s downfalls regarding misspellings, Internet graffiti, and misinformation, the year 2008 was vastly different from 2012. Today it is rare to find errors on the website, as it is surely monitored by numerous filters that check for such things.
Regarding the VA State Marker project, I feel like our group has begun to hit the home stretch of our work. We recently created a Twitter page devoted to our website, that provides announcements regarding our progress, and daily tidbits of information from random markers. I think that the Twitter page is a good way to get word out about our project, and to inform and educate the VAST amount of people who LOVE historical markers.
Follow us at @VAStateMarkers. I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend.