My graduate students have weighed in on the topic of “digital classrooms” in their class blog. Their postings are very instructive because they offer the view of the next generation of historians on where digital media will (and won’t) take us in the teaching and learning of history. As I read their contributions to the blog I was struck by the sense of comfort that they had with digital media, but also with the continuing unease many felt for the shift away from the more traditional methods of history teaching.
I share some of that unease, raised as I was in the Joe Friday school of history (“Just the facts, sir”). Every week I worry that my students will emerge from my course without the facts they need to qualify as educated in the subjects I am teaching. But then I kick myself in the rear (no mean feat given my lack of flexibility these days) and remind myself that facts can be looked up–it is the ability to work with those facts that is most important.