In this activity, write a blog post that addresses the following questions:
Now that you have had a chance to think carefully about teaching students or museum visitors about the past, think more about the project ideas you have in mind. Choose one of the possible projects you’ve been thinking about and write a brief response to these questions: How will digital media and/or digital tools be important to teaching my target audience one of the essential lessons I’ll be focusing on in my project? What, specifically, about the digital environment will influence what you do and why?
Since my project will exist entirely online, in conjunction with no particular museum or historical site, I think the hardest part about my project will be people even knowing that there’s a project. However, I feel that, with the Internet being the Internet, it’s better to put something out there than not at all, especially to combat lots of misinformation floating around online. It’s easy for many sites to compile listicles of common misconceptions, so I want to go beyond that and consider why certain misconceptions are misconceptions. For instance, why do we believe that World War II soldiers were universally hailed and given parades upon their return home? Well, adulation of World War II veterans propagates the narrative that World War II was “good” and its generation was “The Greatest Generation.” (Thanks, Tom Brokaw.) Movies and TV (not from the time, but recent ones) also lend to this mythology. In a way, that explanation is more interesting than simply saying, “There were no parades, goodbye.” I want to show historical documents from the time, like the film The Best Years of Our Lives, which–coming out in 1946–is a contemporary view that directly contrasts with how we view the homecoming of World War II veterans 70+ years later. The beauty about the digital world is that I can include video clips (though copyright may thwart some of my efforts), photographs, and textual evidence that can immediately head off criticisms of “well, I saw in Saving Private Ryan…” Viewers will hopefully abandon their misconceptions when presented with evidence, especially when they realize they don’t have any evidence other than the thrice-removed anecdote and terrible period piece film.
I don’t have any fancy plans for my webpage, but I want to do more than a center-justified photo and Times New Roman text underneath it, with some hideous yellow background to match. (Don’t worry, I’m making fun of myself as much as anyone else; I “designed” websites like that in the fourth grade.) I don’t want the webpage to be a gallery of images (that’s too much like my “Price of Freedom” exhibit reboot); I want to present a compelling article with lots of side-links. I want all the misconceptions on one page, then each misconception can have its own page where it presents how the misconception came to be, why it’s false, and the importance of correcting such misconceptions beyond being pedantic.