Challenges in Teaching: Historical Thinking and Digital History

Umeå/Stanford conference on History Education May 5-6, 2014

History teaching in a digital era poses new possibilities and challenges. Today in a digital 'convergence culture' history is an important part of contemporary culture shaping historical consciousness. Present developments pose partly new challenges for critical thinking, but also new possibilities of shaping, making and understanding the past in not least multimodal ways. Digital media can for instance be used to promote historical thinking and multiperspectivity in history teaching.

Thinking like a historian is a vital competence to understand the past and the present. Today syllabi of history worldwide emphasize how historical thinking is an important competence to maneuver, not least, the enormous flow of information. In a global world of information this conference will address how history teaching can be used to prepare students for higher education and contemporary challenges.

The starting point will be examples from research and materials for teaching and testing historical thinking, media critical thinking and multiperspectivity. Presentations and seminars will be devoted to dialogue and exchange of experiences on how history teaching can be improved by using not least new digital media.

Participating researchers include:
Thomas Nygren, Cecilia Lindhé, Björn Åstrand and Anna Foka, Umeå University
Joel Breakstone, Mark Smith, Brad Fogo, Jolie Matthews and Brian Johnsrud, Stanford University
Martin Stolare and Johan Samuelsson, Karlstad University

The conference is organized by HUMlab, Umeå History and Education Group and Stanford History Education Group, and funded by the Wallenberg Foundation and Umeå University.

If you have any questions regarding the content of the conference please contact Thomas Nygren at

Please specify special dietary requests to:
Emma Ewadotter:

The conference will also function as a preparation for in-service teacher conference the following day, May 7 10.00-15.00. Funded by the Wallenberg foundation and Umeå University researchers from Umeå and Stanford will meet teachers and present the latest research on historical thinking and digital aids in history teaching. If you are interested to participate also in the teacher conference you are very welcome. If so please notify Thomas Nygren. Read more about the teacher conference here.

A warm welcome to Umeå!