Digital History and the Public School Curriculum

Dean Guarnaschelli
Creating new curriculum in which today’s technology is showcased can maximize student involvement in the learning process.  Digital History is one facet of the humanities in which students can add a personal note to this experience.  The idea of sharing history is also a powerful learning tool.  There are several elements to the NHPRC project that will surely excite students as they begin the designing stage and they can be described as being part of historical ‘scale’:
  1. Family history is valid component to ‘overall’ history; images that students find representing the neighborhood where they have roots are just as important as written items are in telling their particular ‘history’.  Chronozoom is the perfect match for all media forms.
  2. Students can see their family history as matching a theme that is usually presented on a larger level, such as ‘expansion’.  Some families were part of neighborhoods in Queens that grew through connected areas via bridges and subways/railways.  Today’s travel routes are no less important.  Students can use current subway art as a continuation of this idea.
  3. Music connects.  Students can see their family as illustrating what music (pop or otherwise) reflects on regarding belonging and an identity with ‘home’.  This may be useful for students with shorter family histories.
  4. Themes have potential.  Students who choose to follow a theme can see their family history as being living proof of something otherwise thought to be ‘non-historical’, such as flavors and food trends.  These ideas can shape a neighborhood’s development.
Keep students’ search productive by helping them find a niche for their own family history and provide materials that guide them in making the project one to share.

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