Thoughts

The point of applied historical research is to involve the public. Not only to involve the public, but to get them as excited about history as the historian. I agree with the article “But I want you to think” that all three parts, entice, inform and invoke are need to make a successful website. The part that I find difficult is how you entice your audience. Should we do “focus-group testing, user testing, and marketing”? That is difficult to for digital humanities and I dislike the idea of marketing the idea. History is not product to be sold.  Using students a test group is an obvious answer, but the general public is more than students. How do we get them involved?  The “7 Way Mobile Apps are Enriching Historical Tourism” helped me see what kind of mobile applications are already available to the general public. While informative on the applications, I would like to know how much use these applications get. Are they made and hardly used, are they used by tourists, students, or a local public? A study on who is using the already available applications would open up which ones need more work or what is working best for the user.

In creating an application available for historical information, the last thing I want is a tourist walking downtown staring at their Smartphone rather than engaging with the landscape around them. I am not sure I quite understand the augmented reality concept, but I understand that we take the user out the current landscape to engage another. I see the comparative value for the audience, but the augmented reality game takes away the “think for yourself” part for me. I also dislike the idea that there is just one alternate landscape, for example, the “Civil War Augmented Reality Project” that all you to look back via “pay binoculars” to see Civil War landscape. Could that landscape have been used for anything else since the Civil War? What happened to the landscape during reconstruction, the roaring twenties, or in the era of the greatest generation?

“Haunts: Place, Play, and Trauma” takes an interesting angle to getting the public involved in places and finding the secret information on spaces and letting the user add to it. But I have to ask the question that is posed in Gowalla article “ok, so what does any of the have to do with educations?”  The ideas in the Gowalla article are excellent. I think museums lack interaction with the visitor. Creating applications that not only engages the visitor, but also encourages going to other museums. This is excellent. These could give a much needed revival to museums if provided to the public. It would “market” to younger audience.

For the Play the Past website, I think the idea is great. My favorite part is it allows for
“guest authors” encouraging users to not only engage with history via games, but add their thoughts to it. As for the youtube music video, I loved it! I posted it on my facebook. The comments on the video were intriguing, several high school age students posted their history teachers should them this and debate had been raised about slavery. I think the mask of a username on a website may allow for these high school students to voice their thoughts that they may otherwise be afraid to speak in class in front of their peers. There is no way I can prove they were high school students, but their arguments and answers mirror that of a textbook. So maybe they are listening in class. 😉

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