People I meet in education are often surprised to learn that my undergraduate degree was not in technology, or anything related to ICT. In fact, I spent three years at Sheffield University studying History, particularly early modern social history. Having moved into a career based on education and technology, it would be easy for me to dismiss the importance of this part of my learning. However, I have recently realised that the study of History has shaped my thinking more deeply than I sometimes think.
I always think the importance of History is contrast. Learning about the past gives a different perspective, one which makes us question the way things are today, and how they might be. It is a bit more complex than simply ‘learning from our mistakes’, or even some notion of progress towards some greater, more developed state. What I think it does is provide a mirror we can hold up to our selves; to see what has changed, what has remained the same, and why that is. It helps us to see the constants of being human.
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