Oct 18 2011

Humanities, Technology and Engagement

I’d like to discuss how technology can be used both in the classroom and in museums to get people interested in the humanities, to engage with the subject matter and to encourage further exploration and learning.

My interest in this topic began when I took a museum studies course and the professor required all students to keep a journal. I began a blog that originally focused on the course materials, but the subject matter expanded in scope as I made more connections between topics. I found myself more interested in this class than others I was taking at the same time because I was thinking about it more frequently and had two venues through which to engage with the material – the classroom and the web.

I am currently developing an audio tour for an historic house museum. Before beginning the project, I researched the use of audio tours in museum galleries and found a lot of studies that suggested visitors engage more deeply with their surroundings when they are also engaging with technology – in the form of audio tours or interactive apps. I think this is great and when I taught intro history courses to undergrads I tried to integrate activities using audio or video files and interactive websites into class discussions.

Now my question is can educators use technology to further learning experiences beyond the classroom or museum?

I see the digital humanities as a field that is very connected to the future, that is anticipating technological advances and the ways in which technology will be used in everyday life. I also think it has the potential to generate a greater appreciation of the arts and humanities in our culture.

I think it would be fun to discuss these issues, but maybe also brainstorm ideas for humanities-related mobile apps or games that could be used both in and out of the classroom. This could also be a writing session or if anyone interested in this has the programming knowledge to move this into a hacking session that would be neat, but I’m not familiar enough with app development to take the lead on that aspect.

About the author


I am a digital humanities consultant, with clients ranging from museums, text book publishers and university departments. My work involves digitizing historical documents for online archives, museum catalogs and public history websites.

Permanent link to this article: http://newengland2011.thatcamp.org/10/18/humanities-technology-and-engagement/

1 comment

  1. Jennifer

    I’m definitely interested in the museum aspect.

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