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  • Humanities Stepping into the Digital Age

    U.S. News - 01/12/2014

    Visualizing History

    The task of making historical subjects appealing to today’s students is far from easy. However, according to technology blog i09, one professor has leveraged modern technology to accomplish just that.

    Ben Schmidt, an associate professor of history at Northeastern University, used publicly available data sets originally compiled by 19th Century oceanographer Lt. Matthew Fontaine Maury and available online at the National Oceanographic and Atmospheric Administration’s website to create a visualization of 19th-century shipping routes – one of the most important factors in migration, language development and other factors. In addition to the major nautical routes that helped define international trade during the 1800s, the visualization also includes data on weather patterns, such as the trade winds, that affected the import and export of goods around the world.

    It would seem that technology is revolutionizing virtually every facet of higher education. The work of professors such as Schmidt and schools like UCLA prove that even the most scholarly and traditional disciplines can benefit from a 21st-century makeover.

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