Creating History In New Media

Word cloud for the Creating History With New Media course website

I am excited to taking Jeremy Boggs course “Creating History In New Media” to round out my MA in American History. The syllabus is pretty exciting, if a bit overwhelming, mix of tech skills (HTML, CSS and using WordPress and Omeka) with readings in project management and process for web design. If your into this sort of thing take a look at his syllabus.

Over the course of the semester each class member, ideally working in groups, will work a digital history site from bar napkin sketch to launch. I am lucky to have teamed up with Jim Safley, CHNM’s Web Programmer and Digital Archivist,  to work on putting together a smaller scope version of the Playing History project. (If you don’t feel like clicking the link Playing History will be a collaborative directory for educators to find, review, and post lesson plans relating to freely available history games they can use in their classrooms.) Jim and I will be using Omeka as our CMS.

Blogging is a big part of this course. Most of my classmates will be putting together class specific blogs that assume a considerable amount of shared classroom experience. That’s great.  I plan to take a slightly different tack.

While I will be participating in that community, I also want this blog to continue to serve a more general audience of folks interested in my particular take on digital history/humanities stuff. I have two primary reasons for doing this, the first of which is altruistic, and the second of which is a bit more self serving.

(1) I don’t think many history programs offer this kind of course. So if anyone wants to virtually audit it: grab a copy of the syllabus, and subscribe my RSS feed to follow along as we work through it together. I intend to post general class reactions to projects and readings alongside my own reactions, as well as, general information about how our class sessions worked. I think this, in conjunction with the course site, should also provide fruitful food for thought for educators interested in developing similar kinds of courses.

(2) I really think the Playing History project Jim and I are working on is a valuable endeavor and the more folks we can get to react to our planing documents (sitemaps, wireframes, photoshop mockups, HTML mockups, and final product) the more likely we will be able to launch a compelling first iteration of the Playing History idea.

7 Replies to “Creating History In New Media”

  1. Trevor,

    I don't know if you remember me, but I am a 2002 grad from Central, who is not working in the Bronx as a high school chemistry teacher. The project you are working on sounds really interesting and i was wondering if you have more information on it or if any of the games designed to teach history have actually been created. There is another young teacher at my school who I think would be really interested in trying it out if you have anything or know anything that is already developed. I would love to try something, if you know of any of these games that exist for science.

    Good luck with you project
    Bob Harrits

  2. Trevor,

    I will take you up on your invitation for a digital audit of this course. This semester I am taking XHTML and CSS. And I already started experimenting with using WordPress as a CMS. So this class will probably be right up my alley.

  3. Bob,

    Great to hear from you! Last I remember you were starting at NYU. Glad to hear your doing well. We should meet up next time I make it up to New York.

    There are a bunch of great science games. My wife directs science games for the the JASON project, its part of National Geographic. At this point they have two or three games designed for use in classrooms. There is a full 3D 4-6 hour underwater ecology game, Operation Resilient Planet.. There are also some excellent smaller games. My favorite is their roller coaster creator, its about potential/kenetic energy.

    When I did an inventory of existing history games for my last class I quickly came up with a list of 50-100, thats part of why I think this sort of directory would be so valuable. I will dig up my list and write a new post with games I've seen so far and solicit ideas for more games from others on the web.

  4. Sterling,

    Great! I am really excited about Jeremy's book list. It should be a useful semester. I will try to make sure I desalinate course info here.

  5. Trevor,

    Thanks for the enthusiasm. I looked at the course web site and it looks like part of it (presumably the part with the syllabus) is password protected. Do you mind telling what books the class will be reading first?

  6. The password stuff is just for Jeremy to aggregate our blogs. You can find all the readings as they come up on the schedule page.

    McCloud, Understanding Comics.

    Staley, Computers, Visualization, and History.

    Meyer, CSS Web Site Design.

    Cederholm, Bulletproof Web Design.

    Brown, Communicating Design.

    Garrett, Elements of User Experience.

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