Stop teaching historians to use computers!

May 8th, 2007 by Tom Elliott

Bill Turkel has started what looks to be an important and potentially influential thread on the nexus of history and the digital. His opening salvo:

Teaching history students how to use computers was a really good idea in the early 1980s. It’s not anymore. Students who were born in 1983 have already graduated from college. If they didn’t pick up the rudiments of word processing and spreadsheet and database use along the way, that’s tragic. But if we concentrate on teaching those things now, we’ll be preparing our students for the brave new world of 1983.

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One Response to “Stop teaching historians to use computers!”

  1. Bill Parsons Says:

    Of course we should not be teaching future historians to use a computer. Part of teaching historiography, however, must be to investigate how information has come to us and how it is accessible. The Internet, for better or worse, has become a source and as historians we must learn the techniques for critically analyzing this source as we would any other.

    Technology is a tool. Sometimes it is appropriate and sometimes not (although I cannot imagine returning to my Smith Corona); part of becoming a professional is knowing what tool to use for the job at hand.

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