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Local History Taught Through Digital Harrisburg

Digital History is opening my eyes to the different avenues that students can use to understand history. As an aspiring Social Studies teacher, this course has given me a new way to make history more enjoyable for both middle and high school students. Two weeks ago, some fellow students and I gave presentations about other digital website projects related to history. I got to review the website titled The Seventh Ward. This website focused on the economic differences between those living in a predominately black Seventhwardcommunity in the Seventh Ward in Philadelphia, PA. The website offered many curricular resources for students to to explore history hands-on.

Teachers’ increased use of the internet to teach students about history has been a strong trend. Technology is becoming the new form of media rather than textbooks. Increasingly more students are using technology as a means of education than past pedagogical techniques. This past semester I had my field placement in the city of Harrisburg. As I sat in the back of my assigned placement and observed how the teacher taught history, I noticed that there was barely any use of technology. Taking my Digital History course has given me a new perspective on the ways this website can be a great resource for teachers to use in their classrooms. This Digital Harrisburg website offers new historical insights to the city of Harrisburg from students who are constantly working with its history. The Omeka website will display exhibits directly related to the city’s past. The “City Social” data can relate to the students identity by connecting them to those who lived in their city, street, or even house. Digital Harrisburg gives the student the ability to explore history; the teacher, the resources.

Harrisburg is a city with a rich history that needs to be explored by both historians and students alike.  As someone who wants to be a teacher, it’s hard not to look at the research, the work, and the knowledge I have gained to see the potential this project has to develop any student’s historical thinking skills and their own personal identity. The identity that can be drawn from the past “City Beautiful” movement is one of cultural renaissance in an urban setting. The identity compels any current and future citizen to understand the roots of the city in which they live. Digital Harrisburg offers teachers the ability to give students a revitalization in their interest in the field of history. Students can then begin to contribute to the narrative, the story, and the drama of the “City Beautiful” movement just by living in Harrisburg.

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