Professor Charlie Evans, Northern Virginia Community College (Loudoun campus), Chancellor's Commonwealth Professor 2012-2014

Lehigh Gap
Recent view of Lehigh Gap north of Slatington, PA.

Why I am starting this project (from my grant proposal):

In recent years, I have been struck by a paradox.  Students enter my history classroom armed with powerful smart phones that they use to connect to a digital world filled with data, and I hand them a textbook--also filled with data--which they hardly ever bother to read.  Students use their phones to connect to traffic reports, look at restaurant reviews, plan a night out, yet they rarely use those phones as tools to work on a history assignment.  Further, students use their phones to connect with each other and to exchange entertainment information, yet they are often unable to collaborate with each other on a history project.

There is another aspect to this paradox of the connected but unconnected student.  Few students, despite successful completion of their history classes, really understand the significance of the historical past.  For most students, history is simply reading a textbook, listening to a professor talk about names, dates and places, and then trying to recall those names, dates and places on an exam.  Sometimes, history is about a “research” paper, but too few history students make a real connection to either the distant or the not-so-distant past.

I propose to address these two paradoxes and to investigate the use of digital applications to help resolve both issues.

Blue Bar

Follow my progress

My original proposed timeline of activities

My original proposed list of digital projects

Tracking my month-by-month progress (I have comments on my activities.)

Summary of my grant activities (and video summary)

My comments (and links to relevant literature) on

My occasional reflections on students and digital technology

I also sometimes post comments on my Experiments in Teaching History blog.