‘History is a conversation’: teaching student historians through making digital histories

Johnny Bell, Rebecca Carland, Peg Fraser, Alistair Thomson

Research output: Contribution to journalArticleResearchpeer-review

2 Citations (Scopus)


This article introduces a digital history course taught in partnership by Monash University historians and Museum Victoria curators, and explores the opportunities and challenges of history teaching with digital media and of producing good history using the three-minute digital storytelling format. We assess student learning that is applicable to all forms of history-making: the discovery that history can be found in intimate stories as well as grand narratives; the critical use of sources including photographs, objects, archives and oral histories; awareness of subjectivity and the historian’s role in constructing history; the value of focussed and disciplined writing and of developing a distinctive historical voice; the potential and perils of emotional engagement; and the importance of audience. Through web-links in the online iteration of this article, readers can watch the student videos discussed in the text. This article has been peer reviewed.

Original languageEnglish
Pages (from-to)415-430
Number of pages16
JournalHistory Australia
Issue number3
Publication statusPublished - 2 Jul 2016


  • Digital history
  • digital storytelling
  • history teaching
  • museums
  • student learning

Cite this