My name is Greg Hayward and I am a second year history major. I am specifically interested in the digital history course because of it combines my interest in technology, history and maps. I also believe that these are valuable skills for future jobs after I graduate with my degree in history. Outside of history my main interests would be sports and travelling. In January I made my first trip outside of North America when I was able to participate in a history trip to Iceland where I was able to visit an excavation site of a viking longhouse, learn about Norse voyages through the north Atlantic to North America and visit a site called thingvellir, home of the oldest parliament in the world and located in the continental rift between North America and Eurasia.
I also spent the Month of July travelling across Canada by train, learning about my own country’s history and in August ended up getting forced to go back home from Texas by hurricane Harvey. My love of travelling and history come together when looking at and studying maps. I could easily spend hours on google earth or staring at a globe.
I think this class fits well with my personal interests and also gives me an advantage in the future with computer skills that many other history students would not typically have. These database skills and ability to sort through and find valuable information are very useful to have in a wide range of jobs after my university career. When I first learned about this course I thought that it would be a big advantage over other history graduates if I could learn online research skills.
The introductory chapter of the Digital History book highlights both the positive and negative aspects of technology and the internet and I think that it makes a lot of good points. While the internet allows large amounts of information to be accessed by nearly everyone, there is no filter on the internet to separate the reliable and factual information from the completely false, bogus websites that write convincing arguments that are not fully based on fact or properly researched. This may do more harm than good when the general public is attempting to learn through the internet.
In my opinion, the promises and advantages of digital history far outweigh the negative aspects listed in this introduction chapter. Although there will no doubt be a number of people who are misled by unreliable sources, the accessibility that the internet provides will allow many more who would not otherwise have access to historical information to learn and study history than the number of those who will stumble upon a conspiracy website or simply badly researched article that may lead them down an unfounded path of psuedo-history. I tend to lean more in the direction of the technological optimist rather than the negative neo-luddites that were mentioned in this chapter.