Blog Post #9

Pedagogy can be a tricky subject to tackle just based on the fact that everyone is bound to teach differently. This week’s readings made me stop and think just how easy, however, it could be to cater to student’s with different needs if more effort was put in. Too often are students allowed to fail without attempts to help them. I spoke about this on Terence’s blog, but when I was in middle school and high school, I failed almost every math class I had. Every teacher just thought I was dimwitted or lazy until my 12th grade teacher suggest I be tested for a learning disability. Turns out I have dyscalculia. A lot of heartache could have been saved for me if someone earlier had just worked with me to figure out the issue.

When I started college at NOVA, I had a math professor who made the class extremely accessible to me down to having me do the homework on an online program instead of on paper. I wish more teachers/professors would make courses that accessible! (I think Dr. Otis and my other class, American Art, have done an excellent job at this. And I had a professor a few years ago whose online Irish Art course was a joy.)

Google Maps: This tool absolutely could help students who learn visually by providing spatial content for them to situate their lessons on. It could be used to create maps of different time periods and use markers for battles, graves, capital cities, etc. Street View is a thing… perhaps this could also be implemented for historical views?

Timeline JS: This tool appears to make timeline creation simple which would help students actually be interested in the content versus staring at a paper handout a teacher/professor gave them. Interactivity will help with this as well.

Voyant: This tool is a bit more cryptic to actually utilize (in my personal opinion) but with guidance on how to use it, I think it would be useful for analyzing historical documents and extracting possible meanings from them. Of course, the student would still have to critically think about the meaning extracted and decide if it applies.

Wiki Education: I think including the Wiki Education modules is a super interesting choice! This is because yes, Wikipedia is frequently cited by teachers/professors as a source that one should not consult. However, learning how the site’s articles are constructed will be helpful for students because that knowledge comes from somewhere, after all. Not counting false info here. (I actually remember a professor once telling me that you can go to the works cited on Wikipedia articles to find the more professional sources.)

Zooniverse: Much like Timeline JS, Zooniverse could help with interactivity in the classroom by giving student’s real time tasks to complete. This will be much more useful than, as I said before, completing paper packets. I checked out the Embryo Cam project to get a feel for the interface: It’s definitely something that will visually keep students engaged, I think.

6 comments on Blog Post #9

  1. Emily, your blog post is extremely important, both for its assessment of the platforms and tools we learned about this week, but also your discussion of your own experiences in the classroom. As someone in the university world and with a mom who is a middle school principal, I am not surprised by your story but hope for better.
    There is a benefit for DH and its process-learning feature and acceptance of failure. It is a breath of fresh air and a learning curve for us who have been in school forever. Another reason to bring it to the classroom.

  2. Knowing that art history holds your interest, reading your blog post inspired me to think more about how these digital tools might frame art pieces. For instance, what about mapping where different artists created works related to the same theme? Maybe that track would help us think about the similarities and differences in social contexts that spurred art around a similar theme in a similar timeframe.

  3. Thank you for sharing. I think I took that same Irish Art course a few years back too.
    I love Timeline JS, especially because of the visualization and interaction that is integrated into it. It really helps to have a better understanding of narrative through a timeline structure and being able to move through it at different points. I wish I had gotten a chance to try Voyant, it looks like a cool visualization tool. I am a very visual person, so anything that helps to create a visualization of information easier, or more attractive to read, I really enjoy that.

  4. HI Emily, just wondering how the mapping element so frequent in DH felt to you with dyscalculia? I know that struggles with maps and spatial relations can be a symptom of dyscalculia, so I wondering what it was like from a pedagogical/1st person student perspective with these activities. If you are willing to share, of course.

  5. I like how you defined each of the technical tasks we studied during this week. After I read your definition, I started exploring the issue of citing Wikipedia which ended up being a status-update on the Slack-board. I agree with your observation that referring to Wikipedia “as a source that one should not consult” is somewhat unsatisfying. Wikipedia is tooo biiig for disregarding it so quickly and easily.
    I understand that Wiki is not an academic source; however, it can do good in many ways: for teachers, academicians, students, etc.

  6. Thank you for sharing your experience in those classes, Emily. I really hope that we’re at a turning point where designing for full accessibility in the classroom can start to happen with more regularity, and be better supported by institutions.

    I can’t remember if you were in Wednesday’s class, but I definitely rambled a bit about Wikipedia! While it has its share of issues (just as with any other encyclopedic source that tries to condense masses of knowledge into a few paragraphs), learning how to edit and contribute is so important, and can make such a difference! I’ve been involved in some edit-a-thons to improve the articles on women in the history of art, but there are other initiatives that focus on different pockets of history (I’ll be the Egyptologists on there would appreciate contributions from non-fringe theories — maybe the Amarna page could get some love with Dr. Williamson’s recent research?

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