Published Date

January 1, 2018

Resource Type

AHA Resource, For the Classroom


Archives, Digital Methods, Military

AHA Topics

AHA Initiatives & Projects, Graduate Education, K–12 Education, Teaching & Learning, Undergraduate Education



Teaching with #DigHist was an AHA Today series geared toward instructors at every level who are thinking about using digital history projects in their classrooms. Each month, John Rosinbum, a high school and college instructor in Arizona, reviewed a digital history project, explore what sorts of historical questions it could help students answer, and provide learning-outcome driven, ready-to-use assignments.

“Teaching with #DigHist: Introducing a New Series on Using Digital Projects in the Classroom,” AHA Today, 23 August 2016



Andrea Davis (Arkansas State Univ.) repurposes Zotero—a popular research and citation management tool—as a course platform to teach historical research and writing skills to undergraduates.

“From Learning to Cite to Learning to Write: Using Zotero in the Classroom,” Perspectives Daily (9 October 2018)

Sample Syllabus: Practice of History (PDF)

Decolonizing the US History Survey

John Rosinbum explores a plethora of digital history projects that can help teachers integrate native voices and experiences in their US history survey classrooms.

“Decolonizing the US History Survey: Integrating Native Voices and Experiences through Digital History,” Perspectives Daily (16 August 2018)

Voyant Tools

Students in Max Kemman’s digital history course at the University of Luxembourg use Voyant Tools to analyze a large dataset, in this case, the Hillary Clinton Email Archive from Wikileaks.

“Digging through the Hillary Clinton Email Archives: Using Voyant Tools in the Classroom,” AHA Today (7 June 2018)


Students in Julia M. Gossard’s Western Civilization course use Northwestern University Knight Lab’s TimelineJS to create a digital chronology of the history of food.

“Food in the West: Using TimelineJS in the Classroom,” AHA Today (29 March 2018)

Instruction Packet (PDF)

Operation War Diary

Susan Corbesero (The Ellis School) discusses using the crowdsourcing project, Operation War Diary, to help students learn about the First World War. The project contains over one million digitized images of war diaries from British and Indian troops.

“Students in the Trenches: Using Operation War Diary to Teach the First World War,” AHA Today (1 February 2018)

Sample Assignment: Operation War Diary Project

Sample Graphic Organizer (PDF)

Teaching with Digital Archives

John Rosinbum looks at a spectrum of digital archives available on the web today and explores how teachers can use them in the classroom.

“Teaching with Digital Archives,” AHA Today (30 November 2017)

Sample Assignment: Visualizing the Past

List of Crowd Transcription Projects

Google Maps

Julia M Gossard (Utah State Univ.) uses the widely available Google Maps to assign a mapping project to her students. The assignment allows students to think carefully about the economic, political, religious, and ideological connections between Europe and the rest of the world in the early modern period.

“Mapping the Early Modern World: Using Google Maps in the Classroom,” AHA Today (23 October 2017)

Sample Instructions: Mapping the Early Modern World

Sample Worksheet: The Historian’s Toolbox: Source Evaluation


Lindsey Passenger Wieck (St. Mary’s Univ.) explains how students in her history classroom use Carto to create maps. The exercise helps students become critical consumer of maps and media, while designing and implementing digital projects that communicate historical content.

“Blending Local and Spatial History: Using Carto to Create Maps in the History Classroom,” AHA Today (25 September 2017)

Sample Classroom Assignment: Creating a Dataset

Sample Classroom Assignment: Creating Maps Using Carto

American Panorama

John Rosinbum uses American Panorama, a digital atlas created by the University of Richmond’s Digital Scholarship Lab, to teach students about the economic, cultural, and territorial transformations that changed America during the 19th century.

“Exploring the Brutality of Expansion: Tracking Changes in the 19th Century with American Panorama,” AHA Today (24 July 2017)

Sample Classroom Assignment: New Perspectives on 19th-Century America

Sample Classroom Assignment: Analyzing Visual Depictions of America’s Expansion


John Rosinbum uses Gapminder to help students review broad historical trends, hone data literacy skills, interrogate the primacy of the nation state, and reflect on the ways they learn.

“‘Wait… What?’ Continuities, Changes, and Critical Thinking with Gapminder,” AHA Today (30 May 2017)

Sample Assignment: Contextualizing Gapminder

SNCC Digital Gateway

Lauren Tilton (Univ. of Richmond) uses the SNCC Gateway to teach students about grassroots organizing during the Civil Rights Movement.

“‘Come Let Us Build a New World Together’: The SNCC Digital Gateway,” AHA Today (24 April 2017)

Sample Classroom Activity: Contextualizing the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee

Sample Classroom Activity: Reading Primary Sources Related to the Student Nonviolent Coordinating Committee

Viral Texts

John Rosinbum uses Viral Texts to teach students about how newspapers can function as sources, not just for important historical events, but also for gaining an understanding of the broader cultural context in which those events took place.

“Before BuzzFeed: Going Viral in 19th-Century American Newspapers,” AHA Today (27 March, 2017)

Sample Assignment: Comparing Media: “The Past is Never Dead. It’s Not Even Past”

Sample Assignment: Charting the Virality of a 19th-Century Article

The Making of Charlemagne’s Europe

Guest contributor Kalani Craig uses the Making of Charlemagne’s Europe to teach medieval history through historical charters.

“Using Charters to Teach Medieval History,” AHA Today (23 February, 2017)

Sample Lesson Plan: Rethinking Modern Assumptions about Property Value

Sample Lesson Plan: Exploring Connections between Charters

The Colored Conventions Project

The primary goal of the Colored Conventions Project is to recover an understudied aspect of the 19th century reform movement—Black conventions. Rosinbum uses the resources available on the project’s website to teach his students about activism and the lives of African American men and women in the 19th century.

“Uncovering Activism and Engaging Students: The Colored Conventions Project,” AHA Today (12 December 2016)

Sample Assignment: Annotation, Contextualization, and the Colored Conventions Project

Voyages: The Transatlantic Slave Trade Database

John Rosinbum uses Voyages: The Transatlantic Slave Trade Database to teach students visualization, contextualization, and other historical thinking skills.

“Teaching the Slave Trade with Voyages: The Transatlantic Slave Trade Database,” AHA Today (31 October 2016)

Sample Assignment: Visualizing the Transatlantic Slave Trade with Voyages

Sample Assignment: Tracking a Slave Ship with Voyages


John Rosinbum uses ORBIS, a program that allows students to interact with maps of Ancient Rome, as an easy entry into digital history projects for students.

“Teaching with ORBIS: Maps, Environments, and Interpretations in Ancient Rome,” AHA Today (19 September 2016)

Sample Assignment: Charting Your Journey with ORBIS

Sample Assignment: Comparing Spatial Depictions of the Roman World

Teaching with Food History

John Rosinbum discusses how when combining economic, cultural, and social histories in an engaging way, food history shines during year-end reviews.

“Teaching with Food History: Digital Collections, Activities, and Resources,” Perspectives Daily (4 June 2019).