Analog Tools in Digital History Classrooms: An Activity-Theory Case Study of Learning Opportunities in Digital Humanities
authentic disciplinary practices
Theory and practice of education
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AbstractDigital humanities is often presented as classroom savior, a narrative that competes against the idea that technology virtually guarantees student distraction. However, these arguments are often based on advocacy and anecdote, so we lack systematic research that explores the effect of digital-humanities tools and techniques such as text mining, Geographical Information Systems (GIS) and network analysis have on learning outcomes. This study applies activity theory in a case study of a history classroom in order to understand how introducing digital-history methodology using analog tools like posters and whiteboards can improve student appropriation of history-specific disciplinary skills. The end goal is to provide clear direction for humanities instructors with varied access to technology as they seek to understand how digital humanities tools might still fit within the larger pedagogical practices of higher education classrooms and within the push toward digital methodologies in traditional humanities classrooms.