A Brief Tour of Digital Solutions to Medieval Mediterranean Pedagogical Predicaments

Sunday, January 5, 2014: 9:10 AM
Maryland Suite C (Marriott Wardman Park)
Kalani Craig, Indiana University Bloomington
Medieval resources of the digital persuasion abound online, but finding them and then using them effectively in the classroom is often a matter of trial and error. This presentation will engage the panel audience in using digital tools to move students past three roadblocks that often come with a Mediterranean framing of the medieval world. First, students are often unfamiliar with the basic geography of the medieval Mediterranean. The presentation will provide demos of several map tools, including Stanford's ORBIS, that situate students comfortable with European geography in the more unfamiliar context of the larger-scale medieval Mediterranean. Second, students often find themselves separating the large scale of the Mediterranean into smaller, disconnected units. An interactive timeline, like the Timeline Builder at George Mason's Center for History and New Media, can present contemporary medieval events from multiple regions at a single glance and bring Europe, North Africa, Arabia & Persia into a conceptually unified geopolitical space. Finally, it can be challenging to properly embed primary and secondary sources into the contextual framework provided by these mapping and timeline tools.  The presentation concludes with two collection tools, WordPress and Omeka, designed to curate and link related groups of images, texts and multimedia. This last section will also include a sampling of sites that host free online primary and secondary sources for medieval classrooms, and links to all of the tools and resources referenced in the presentation will be available in the "Digital History" section of http://www.kalanicraig.com/.
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