Introduction to Digital History in Education

I am @thehistoryhead and my name is Kathy Carroll.  I have been teaching both English and history at the middle and high school level in a variety of public and independent schools in Dallas, Texas, since 1993.  I hold a Master of Humanities from the University of Dallas.



Currently, I teach at St. John’s Episcopal School and serve as social studies vertical team chair.  Along with my colleague, Tom Parr, I use the creative and connective power of digital technology to help students to become historians themselves through the medium of documentary film.  Students spend a year collecting an original oral history as well as additional primary source materials in order to research, script, edit and produce a short documentary film shown at the St. John’s Documentary Film Festival.  In fact, today is the final day of presentations for students who have been working on individual projects throughout the year.

Through my coursework in Digital Public Humanities at George Mason University, I have developed a digital archive and exhibit space that will eventually house the entire collection of films and provide guidance for other educators who want to embark on a similar project with their own students.

I am also a contributor to two digital history education collaborations developed in association with RRCHNM at George Mason.  Working on the first project in 2015-16 helped me to understand the transformative power of teaching history in the digital age.  This summer I will travel to France on a second project to develop curricular materials inspired by the lives of two World War I veterans.  One died two weeks before the war’s end and is memorialized at the Meuse-Argonne Cemetery in France; the other went on to live a full life as an actor in films of cultural significance and is buried at the Dallas-Fort Worth National Cemetery.

My learning goals for this course are to continue to hone my critical understanding of best practices and tools of historical pedagogy in the digital age, especially how secondary history education needs to adapt to meet changing digital scholarship opportunities in the 21st century.  In many ways, I think that progressive thinking about reinventing education coming out of places like the New Tech Network and the Buck Institute has a great deal to offer the field of digital humanities.

My ultimate professional goal is to remain in education as a teacher equipped with the digital and pedagogical skills necessary to guide students on journeys that develop historical thinking skills.  My goal is to provide opportunities for students to practice those skills using digital tools to explore and analyze primary source information.  I would also enjoy the opportunity to work more directly in developing digital education projects using primary source content for a museum or other cultural institution.

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