This topic contains 4 replies, has 4 voices, and was last updated by  Sean Kheraj 1 month ago.

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  • #3661

    Sean Kheraj
    Keymaster

    How can public historians use digital technologies to enhance civic engagement and activism while also accounting for the so-called “digital divide”?

    #3674

    rheajaipersaud
    Participant

    Gaining work experience through the public history co-op has furthered my understanding of this weeks readings. When conveying historical information through various online platforms, we can sometimes forget about who we are leaving ‘out’. Relating to earlier discussions where accessibility was one of main pros for technology it can also lead to exclusion as well.

    The ‘digital divide’ as Hurley calls it, is when there is a disparity between those who can access the information and those who can’t, in this case this would pertain to people who come from lower socio-economic communities where internet is not prevalent; except for the local library- and those in the elderly community. When organizations push their material in a digital direction to create more engaging platforms, sometimes those who are left out are not considered. As a public historian it is important for me to engage with ALL audiences not a select few who can access my material. Utilizing technology creates more education possibilities because of the intersectional aspects of 3D Models, artifacts as well as maps of the spaces where the object came from in connection with the historical significance.

    After this course, I think most importantly to enhance civic engagement will be through the education process. Creating avenues for digital literacy will further allow me to also foster a ‘self learning’ experience between my audience and myself. I think this reflects the pedagogical shift between ‘object based epistemology’ mentioned by in Pastplay where the history was gained just from that sole object.Technology now allows us many oppurtunities to contextualize our artifacts and places like never before.

    #3682

    veronicapetta
    Participant

    Andrew Hurley explains that when the term “digital divide” emerged it was based on socio-economic conditions of users and their access to new digital technologies. However, this term has since been redefined to solely examine the patterns of usage. Without over generalizing, internet and digital technologies are omnipresent; computers are integrated into schools, laptops and individual iPads are provided for some if not all classrooms, smart phone advancements, and public libraries have easily accessible computers for users. Therefore, this aligns with Brenda Trofanenko’s article and her discussion on the use of digital technologies by museums. The overarching concept of a museum is to display that the past occurred through the use of objects and text. In this traditional perspective, the former serves the purpose of validating the past and the latter provides context to the objects. Museums are also building that flourish education and learning. Digital forms of museum exhibits are a way in which modern society is using this overarching of validating the past to explain how museums and physical exhibits are things of the past. This is how the digital divide is accounted for in civic engagement with digital technologies. Public historians, through the use of digital technologies, are providing the public with means of learning about the past from exhibits of a museums that may or may not be in close proximity to them. They are providing information to the masses reaching a global audience. The ability to interact with the past enables users of these technologies to understand what truly happened, like the various virtual reality examples Hurley discusses throughout his article.

    #3691

    Yuan
    Participant

    Hurley highly emphasised the idea of digital divide in the article Chasing the Frontiers of Digital Technology. It relates to the socio-economy that caused various opportunities in accessing the internet and digital technologies. While digital technologies are prospecting new ways for current and future historians to proceed projects in more unique approaches, it is also essential for public historians to take a moment and think who did they miss in the targeted audience? What are the alternative approaches left for those who can not access digital information? And how much of the impact when delivering historical information is through digital technologies? Participants in civic engagement are people; thereby, people in different age groups, reside in different countries, and of course people with different economic income. As suggested by authors from both readings this week, possible approaches for historians to increase engagements by using digital technologies is; for instance, the virtual city software and digital way to display museum; by arraying larger group of audiences, public historians are enhancing civic engagements.

    #3699

    Sean Kheraj
    Keymaster

    Excellent responses! These are some of the most high-quality responses to the online discussion for the course.

    These issues surrounding the concept of the digital divide and public history are, of course, ongoing. I’m curious to see how the concept will change in the future. What will the “digital divide” mean 10 years from now?

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