Back in the late 1990s – the days of Web 0.5 – I was a pioneer of sorts when it came to thinking about how new media might be changing the way students thought about the past. I got started with research on new media because I had an itch that needed scratching…What I wanted to know was whether or not the work I was putting into my website and into creating web-based assignments for my students was remotely worth it. I decided I needed to do a little research to see what I could learn about how my students used the digital learning materials I was creating for them and whether their use of those materials was changing their thinking at all.
As often happens with “little research projects,” the work I did that year transformed my career in that it opened me up to an entirely new way of thinking about teaching and learning. And because the results of my project found their way into an online journal, which then won an award, which then led to a job at George Mason University’s Center for History and New Media, I was suddenly an expert of sorts on digital pedagogy.