This spring, as part of an introductory course in archaeology I am teaching, I will be asking the question: What impact can using a social media or digital platform have on: (1) a student’s confidence in his or her ability to use, evaluate and organize digital materials; and (2) a student’s ability to effectively use the digital materials when dealing with archaeological course material? This project is part of the Future Academic Scholars in Teaching Fellowship, an NSF-funded initiative that aims to develop and improve the pedagogical skills of doctoral students who want to teach at the undergraduate level. During this fellowship, I examined how to integrate the teaching of digital skills in a regular class as part of the curricula in the same manner that writing and research skills are integrated into many courses. Digital competency is an increasingly important skill for undergraduates to develop as they enter the job market. By incorporating digital tools into subjects that traditionally seem non-digital, such as archaeology, students learn both the technological methods and the content. This presentation reviews the research into embedding technology into an archaeological course, the project development and implementation during the Spring 2015 ANP: Introduction to Archaeology course, and the results of this project. By integrating digital learning into the classroom, we can improve their abilities to evaluate, use and organize digital materials, as well as improve their confidence to use what they have learned in creative ways to answer a wide range of social science or humanities questions.
This presentation fits into the HASTAC category of technology and education, but also the broader theme of challenging the use of technology in social science and humanities disciplines. Archaeology is, by nature, an interdisciplinary field, pulling methods, theories and approaches from across the sciences, social sciences and humanities. The use of technology within this field is increasingly important for a range of reasons, from using digital mapping tools, social media networks, text-analysis of historic documents, and more. It is important that as we prepare the next generation of archaeologists, but also students in general, that we help them develop digital competencies and confidence to use these tools in creative and flexible ways. This presentation addresses a specific project that assesses whether implementing entry level social media tools into an archaeological classroom improves digital competency, and what the potential future implications might be.