Tuesday, September 19, 2006

This weeks readings by Staley, Murray, and Landow really makes one think of the possibilities that new technology lends to historians in the present and future. How traditional writing can be linear, but web sites can be multi-dimensional with non-linear hypertext. It’s funny to think that the popular beliefs about using the web to teach, learn, and conduct research has changed so much over the last 7 or so years. One of my colleagues actually mentioned that his daughter is encouraged to use on-line resources in high school. I have seen some of my co-workers fear technology or just not want to bother with it, but the next generation of historians are growing up on computers, so as they enter the profession a great deal is probably going to change. Is it possible that future generations will think on-line first, books second? Will the use of on-line resources erode research and writing skills that have long been staples of the historian profession? Is this all just a product of a culture that would rather watch the History Channel then read a historical book? It can be scary at first, but there are many advantages that technology gives us. Like the invention of the printing press for which Murray talks about, computers will continue to advance and probably gain more respect as a medium. Staley talks about how different individuals might learn better in different ways. Many of us have probably heard from someone we know, that history was boring to them in school, but computer technology has the ability to spice it up.

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