PROPOSED PROJECT FROM AUSTRALIAN UNIVERSITIES
In a separate development, a group of history professors from Australia have written a project proposal to design course materials "accessible via the WWW to teachers and students in five Australian university history departments". (See Australian History WWW Project). Professors Turnbull and Menghetti discuss the potential problems of moving to this new style of history teaching in their insightful paper The Australian History World Wide Web Project: Progress and Problems.
In addition, there are a number of fascinating projects under way which seek to disclose and evaluate the potential of new information technologies for researchers and teachers in the humanities. You can learn more about some of these projects thanks to Andrew Hassam, of the Welsh Centre for Australian Studies, who has kindly made available on-line most of the papers to be given at the biennial symposium of the Centre, 'Australian Studies and the Internet' in July 1996. (Australian History WWW)
FUTURE IMPLICATIONS FOR THE TEACHING OF HISTORY
In his presentation for the ED-MEDIA 96 conference 'New Tools of the Trade: Using Multimedia in the History Classroom' Professor Schoenherr discussed a number of ways in which computers, presentation software, multimedia tools, CD-ROM, electronic mail, and the World Wide Web can be used to 'revolutionize the presentation of history in the classroom'.
Professor Pasi Ihalainen from the University of Jyvaskyla's Department of History in Finland shares his thoughts on this subject in his paper 'Historian in the Middle of the Information Revolution' (based on a presentaion at an international seminar in Finland).
FUTURE IMPLICATIONS FOR THE TEACHING OF HISTORY (continued)
Another history professor from America imagines a time in the very near future when:
I can provide lecture outlines that will permit students instantly to check supporting documents, read conflicting scholarly opinions, look at graphs and maps, and view pictures of the people, places, and events discussed. Moreover, when all those teaching similar material have our own World Wide Web sites, we can establish links to each other's materials, thereby cooperating to lighten our individual loads.[*]
Drawing from such a potentially rich pool of information can help students to broaden their understanding of the context in which particular events occurred and have the potential to link different and possibly opposing points of view. Such a widening of the historical debate can only serve to deepen our understanding of the complexities of historical issues and should be a welcome resource for the history classroom.
James O'Donnell, professor of classical studies at the University of Pennsylvania, goes even further in his far-ranging and critical look at the teaching of Humanities in the 21st Century (from a recently published interview with Sheldon Hackney, Chairman of the National Endowment for the Humanities). In this fascinating interveiw Professor O'Donnell discusses the economics of simultaneity (the price we pay for our current education system), the ancient role of the 'oral sage' and the 'virtual library', the changing roles of the teacher and librarian (as information brokers), the dialgoue and discourse of libraries, the future of the written word as an 'index to knowledge' (and his surprising findings from published works of the 16th century), and the changing role of the university and other educational institutions in what he refers to as 'the information food chain' in this insightful glimpse into both the 'economics of information distrbution ' and their impact on our educational systems in the coming century.