The first article I chose to read for Tuesday’s discussion was “Strange Facts in the History Classroom: Or How I learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Wiki(pedia)by Christopher Miller. I liked Miller’s voice and personal-ness that he brought to the article. I also like his honesty in admitting to being a “wiki- victim” – having used wikipedia and having had information he found there be published, and also having had that information be wrong. The article is about a class he schemed up to prove to students that wikipedia was not a good source. He had a three part program and felt that surely he could convince students to search for better sources than wikipedia. Alas, Miller’s students had barely heard of wikipedia and did not feel that this source was that bad after all. It took until the final section of the project for students to realize that wikipedia was not a valid single source for research. Surprisingly their findings were that wikipedia was no better or worse than most printed encyclopedias. I think Miller learned from his students and also achieved what he set out to do – taught students to investigate and challenge where their sources are coming from.
The second article Doing History in the Digital Age by Barbara Weinstein had a similar personal tone. Weinstein admits to being a less than digitally savvy professor and describes her evolution into a more digitally intelligent scholar. I think we all can appreciate this article on a personal level after having been educated on the same topic this past semester. She ends with a warning of smart use and control of sources. I think this is a wise warning for any of us.