September 19, 2005
Website Evaluation - Ammon - Sept. 19, 2005
Playing on the common theme that a historian is a detective of times past, the DoHistory.org site offers the visitor the oportunity to 'play the detective.'
Encompassing the intriguing time period after the formation of the United States of America to a few decades into the following Century, the online diary of a common midwife, Martha Ballard, is presented in a fashion that allows the visitor to peruse, discover and explain for themself a 'mystery' and solution found therein. Incorporating basically four different activities, the site offers the visitor the oportunity to look at actual images of the diary, read the online version of a book written about the diary, view a movie based on the diary, and complete two activities that show the vistor how to be a historical detective.
The content of the site includes the online version of Laurel Thatcher Ulrich's book based on the diary, A Midwifes Tale: The Life of Martha Ballard Based on Her Diary 1785-1812. This online book contains competent and coherent analysis on the life and times of this early frontier town, based on Martha Ballard's diary. What's more, Ulrich discusses the importance of the journals hidden stories that have been overlooked by other historians.
The site seems to be intended for high school level and above audiences. While designating a school level, it is by no means limited to educational use. The casual history buff interested in this time period, as well as the historian seeking for innovative and clever ideas for presenting history, would greatly benefit from a perusal of this site.
Available in both book and web form, the journal of Martha Ballard and the book about the journal by Laurel Ulrich are enriched and enhanced by the DoHistory.org site. Visual and interactive applications make the visitor feel apart of the discovery of Martha Ballard's life. The site uses Java applets, QuickTime movies, and unique instances of HTML (forms/input boxes in the activity of transcribing) to provide an instructive and engaging journey into Martha Ballard's life.
Posted by ashephe1 at September 19, 2005 06:59 AM