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The Civil War Augmented Reality Project – VERY COOL!

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The Civil War Augmented Reality Project

I was recently contacted by a group of history educators in Pennsylvania about The Civil War Augmented Reality Project. The team (see below or the “about” link for members) has provided the following concise description of the project:

Our project, the Civil War Augmented Reality Project, is intended to enhance the experiences of visitors to Civil War sites. It is also intended to increase attendance and revenue for historic sites by offering both “high” and “low” tech experiences to best reach the majority of the population. We feel that our project is fulfilling a need that educators, park workers, technology enthusiasts, and Civil War enthusiasts have discussed in the past: How can historic sites both raise public interest in their institutions though technology, and not alienate the non-technical history fans? We have worked hard on the answer. The objective of the project is to develop and implement augmented reality services related to the American Civil War in Pennsylvania, and to modify soon to be released tablet personal computers to allow the general public a chance to experience the applications.

Full disclosure…my day job is in wireless telecommunications marketing and in the past year I’ve been involved with the launch of Blackboard MobileTM Learn on Sprint (also very cool) so this project resonates with me big time. It’s about making education relevant and fun to all generations but particularly those who grew up using wireless and internet technologies. I’m so excited about it that I’ve created a new category on my links nav bar titled History and Augmented Reality.

I encourage you to visit The Civil War Augmented Reality Project blog which you can access here. Be sure to check out the June 23rd 2010 post, What is Augmented Reality just in case this is new territory for you. It provides a good grounding in the technology and potential AR holds.

Consider donating to the funding of the project. They’ve created a fun, Civil-War flavored funding campaign on Kickstarter accessible here. Be sure to view the video they’ve prepared at this site which really makes the team’s vision come to life. I am most impressed with the AR contest concept conceived around the battle for Little Round Top. The AR app being developed will work on Android devices (this would rock on the HTC EVOTM 4G because of the screen size), iPhonesTM, and undisclosed soon to launch tablet PCs which have cameras. The team points out that while the Apple iPadTM has driven adoption of tablets, it falls short for AR use because it lacks a camera).

The Civil War Augmented Reality Project

Hats off to the team leads for The Civil War Augmented Reality Project which includes:

Jeff Mummert- Hershey High School and York College of Pennsylvania
Art Titzel- Hershey Middle School
Jay Vasellas- Red Lion Area High School and York College of Pennsylvania

Sprint is the trademark of Sprint. Blackboard and Blackboard Mobile are the trademarks or registered trademarks of Blackboard, Inc. iPad and iPhone are trademarks of Apple, Inc.

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Causes of the American Civil War – 4: The Antebellum North

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Dewitt Clinton Train

Dewitt Clinton Locomotive

Methodist Camp Meeting

Continuing the series on the causes of the American Civil War, this post looks at the Antebellum North. The North evolved from its Puritan roots into a culture driven by a strong work ethic. A man was valued by what he could earn and accomplish. The capital of the north was invested in the engines of modernization. Labor moved from agriculture and artisan to factory as modern farming tools improved productivity. Individuals became more dependent on wages. Material wealth was seen as evidence of good, productive, hard work.

As the country expanded, northeastern populations migrated almost directly west. Foreign immigration increased. With modernization came an extensive transportation system including both impressive roadways and railroads.

New levels of wealth were attained by the leaders of the industrial revolution. A new poor working class emerged but so did a middle class that no longer had to produce large families to work the land. Urban centers developed particularly in the northeast.

Methodist Camp Meeting

Watercolor by J. Maze Burbank, c. 1839 Old Dartmouth Historical Society-New Bedford Whaling Museum, New Bedford, Massachusetts Gift of William F. Havemeyer (187) Source: Library of Congress.

Modernization drove social reform including the creation of public education systems in the North and associated high literacy rates. Enlightenment crusades flourished, touching literature and religion. Suffrage and temperance movements formed. Abolitionism became tied with humanitarian reforms driven by Christian crusades.

Elizabeth Cady Stanton

Suffrage leader Elizabeth Cady Stanton and daughter, Harriot--1856. LOC Prints and Photographs Division, LC-USZ62-48965

The North became more and more distinct from the South on many levels, not the least of which was its distaste for slavery. Even so, like white populations in most of western society, northerners considered blacks to be inferior in the antebellum North.

© 2010 L. Rene Tyree

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Fantastic Site – George Mason's Center for History and New Media

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Today I discovered a remarkable site, George Mason University’s Center for History and New Media which you can access here. It’s really about exploring history using digital media. It has three broad sections.

  1. Teaching + Learning
  2. Research + Tools
  3. Collecting + Exhibiting

Not only do I like the site’s premise but it makes available some outstanding tools including Zotero which I downloaded and began using today. It is an extension to Firefox designed “to help you collect, manage, and cite your research sources.” It was very easy to install and is free.

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Another find linked to the site is the “Papers of the War Department 1784-1800.”

On the night of November 8, 1800, fire devastated the United States War Office, consuming the papers, records, and books stored there. Two weeks later, Secretary of War Samuel Dexter lamented in a letter that “All the papers in my office [have] been destroyed.” For the past two centuries, the official records of the War Department effectively began with Dexter’s letter. Papers of the War Department 1784-1800, an innovative digital editorial project, will change that by making some 55,000 long lost documents of the early War Department available online to scholars, students, and the general public. By providing free and open access to these previously unavailable documents, Papers of the War Department 1784-1800 will offer a unique window into a time when there was no law beyond the Constitution, when the federal government hardly existed outside of the Army and Navy, and when a new nation struggled to define itself at home and abroad.

papers-of-the-war-dept

The CHNM site is well worth a visit and some serious exploration for historians and students alike.  I’ll be adding to my links. Highly Recommend.

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