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History of the Future! Wait...what?

The traditional approach to teaching history is boring and does a poor job of connecting our history to students’ life and experiences. In this era of instant information, it is even harder to justify traditional fact-memorization approach to history. Why do we need to know when the battle of Waterloo took place, if we can just ask Siri?

But rather than nullifying the need for historic knowledge, I argue that technology offers us the opportunity to rethink history education. If there is less and less of a need to remember mundane facts, we have the opportunity to use the history class as a way to promote higher order thinking.

In this presentation I will briefly discuss the historical thinking process, an active and investigative approach to history education. Additionally, I will suggest how mobile and web-based technologies can have a part in transforming history education from regurgitation of rote facts to promotion of critical and digital literacy.

Additional Supporting Materials

Learning Objectives

  1. What is wrong with traditional history education? Traditional history education, at best, prepares kids for a couple of points at pub trivia, and that's IF history is even still in their curriculum...
  2. What is historical thinking, and how is it different than traditional history education? Not all students are going to be historians, but all students can benefit by developing universal skills in their history classes. By learning about the past, it actually is possible to develop 21st Century skills.
  3. How does technology fit into learning history? Math and science are great subjects to use technology, but why not use tech to learn history, too? Social studies has historically been resistant to technology, but by re-thinking social studies educational, we can see that technology has great potential to support critical and digital literacy within the context of the social studies curriculum.



Rob Scordino, Research Associate, University of Texas at Austin

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