Earlier this week I introduced you to Byron Thomas, who is considering joining the Sons of Confederate Veterans. It looks like the research that will be necessary to establish his connection with a Confederate soldier will have to wait as Byron needs to write an essay on Robert E. Lee. Now being enrolled at a state university in South Carolina one would assume that Byron would ask a librarian and/or the history department for references. Instead, Byron is asking the good folks at the SHPG for their recommendations. This is a train wreck in the making and wrong on so many levels.
We’ve seen this group in action when it comes to doing history. If this is for a history class, Byron is going to be eaten alive by his professor.
Here is a wonderful example of what happens when we fail to train students on how to utilize the Internet. We all know it can be a powerful tool when used correctly, but the vast majority of students have little training on how to search for information and evaluate individual websites. We also need to train our students on how to do historical research. It needs to begin in middle school, if not before, and continue right through college. If Byron’s professors are simply assigning history essays without any training than they deserve to have to read what is likely to be produced as a result of what we see here.
And what we see here is basically the equivalent of approaching strangers on the street and asking them for reliable sources. How sad.[Byron, if you are reading, start with these references from the Virginia Historical Society. Your library is likely to have most of these titles. Talk to your librarian and not the SHPG. Good luck.]