Learning How to Learn

The texts from last class make a serious argument for why all students should learn how to code, but I honestly cannot see how or why I would include coding regularly into my classroom.

What I do value in my classroom is the question, “What is writing?” but I do not think that having my students code for a project would be the best use of our very limited amount of time and resources. What I wish I had time for is “learning how to learn,” which can be fostered in learning coding.

While I don’t see its relevancy to my classroom, I think it has been a humbling experience as a teacher. I am positive that my students have to struggle with class material from time to time, and getting to be back in that position again is good for me (but why does it have to be coding?!).

The Creators Project website has poetry written in HTML code, considering it its own “language.” “Ishac Bertran saw this linguistic beauty in code and sought to treat creative coding text as what he believes it is: poetry,” which I completely agree with. Again, I just  do not see its place in my English classroom. If it is its own language, then I feel it should have its own class. Many public schools are cutting computer classes believing that these “digital natives” coming into secondary schools do not need it. If coding is its own lanuage, then we could treat it as we do Spanish or French to give it its own amount of time.

Like Meg said, DH needs its own place rather than tapping into different disciplines.





Archiving To Kill a Mockingbird

My biggest struggle in this class and with DH (whatever it is right now) is how can I use this in my class of 14-15 year old students. Archiving is something that I could use with my students, much like Rice and Rice describe in their chapter.

I am thinking of framing the archive in this way:

Purpose: to inform your audience of how To Kill a Mockingbird is relevant today by finding the theme in today’s life and metaphors for characters and events.

Audience: next trimester’s students who will then discuss ethos, pathos, and logos in the videos, pictures, articles, etc. in the archive as a pre-reading activity.

Since To Kill a Mockingbird has this “timeless” quality to it, it would be interesting to see if over time, the things students associate with it also have temporal endurance. I think that the archive they build will also show the book’s temporal endurance, and having students argue the rhetoric behind the archive contributions would be a great experience for them. It’s more than words on page, though that will still be a component of the project.

I definitely want students to be conducting interview with people, especially regarding the themes behind the book. My goal is that students do not go and look for things that have already been associated with TKAM, but to make new connections. For example, students would be interviewing people about courage and then arguing the connections between the interview and TKAM.

I am so excited about this project, and have my work cut out for me. I need to figure out a platform that could sustain a longterm project, has enough storage, and is still easy enough for students to figure out how to edit the pages. I also need to figure out how I want to organize the archive.

Another awesome thing about this project: I have the other 10B teachers on board, like really supportive with this project.

Privacy Has Its Place

**Happy snow day to me! I’m actually getting two days worth of free days from work AND school!**

Last week’s readings about cultural rhetoric threw me back into my Native American literature classes (hey, Michelle!). One of the things we often talked about was how tribes’ traditions have been stomped on repeatedly by outsiders, watered down into simple trinkets (think dreamcatchers), or secret rites have been exposed.

I get that in some instances spreading traditions around to the general public is a good thing. By educating people outside the tribe, they are less ignorant to what goes on inside the tribe, generating a culture of understanding (ideally). In Withey’s presentation “On Not Looking: Ethics and Access in the Digital Humanities, she touches on the fine lines and the detailedness that DHists need to be mindful of. In her own experience, she talks about how she and her team work with an indigenous group in Australia to share some of their values and traditions.

She notes that they come to their exhibit (how odd to have an exhibit on yourself) to tape over tribe members’ faces that are deceased since posting the pictures. They also dictate what can be posted online or how large the pictures can be. The relationship between this group of people and the DH team seems to be a good one: they communicate what can or cannot be shared, how the site content should look and how it operates, and more. However, we are not too naive to know that this is the best case scenario.

I always wondered if there is a “code of conduct” for anthropologists, and this seems like one of those cases that would merit a code for DHists too. DH is such a new field that it is worrisome that someone who calls himself or herself a digital humanist might screw up the field’s reputation by not abiding by the code or invading an indigenous group’s privacy. I guess I shouldn’t be too worried about it since obviously other academic fields have had to navigate this before, but if you look into some Native American departments, they are managed by white people who only know the academic side. Some have misconceptions of their own studies because they only stick to the academic side of NA lit because they cannot really truly know the culture from reading a white person’s perspective of a tribes’ traditions.

That also brings up the question: who is qualified to look at these groups of people? Are people within the groups the ones who should be able to speak about their cultures? Or to what extent should others get to speak on their behalf without it getting to be a long chain of telephone with incorrect deliverances?

I have so many questions that I feel are going to nitpick the boundaries, especially when I start comparing it to other academic fields. It


Be cautious, DH friends.

According to Whom: Defining Digital Humanities

Disciplines need a home. But what do you do with the ones that do not have a home?

Why can’t disciplines get along? And take from each other?

And then disciplines get away from rhetoric


(my sad attempt at figuring out where DH fits in the sign system and this “third space”)

I had so many questions when reading Alexander Reid’s chapter “Digital Humanities Now and the Possibilities of a Speculative Digital Rhetoric.” I’m not sure why, but this one frustrated me the most because I didn’t know what digital humanities was or speculative theory or how everything fits together.

I did get that the humanities needs to be rethought, so I guess I should figure out what humanities are considered now. Steve’s general test of whether or not a discipline is a humanity rings true for most: if it needs a stats class, then it is not a humanity.

After deciding which is which, Reid offers that the digital humanities can be identified only by using methods that math and science cannot support. The issue that is in flux at the moment is “the identification of cultural objects and practices as knowable only through a limited set of humanistic methods” (16).

What Are We Really Preparing Students For?

I just started reading “Made Not Only in Words: Composition in a New Key” by Kathleen Blake Yancey, and she discusses how “never before has the proliferation of writings outside the academy so counterpointed the compositions inside” (298).

I couldn’t agree more.

As a high school teacher, I am constantly having to invest students into the idea that these literary analysis papers will “count” for something outside of school. They get that this is a reading skill, the characters and themes apply to life, yada yada, but I feel that we as teachers do not do a remotely good job of educating them for different genres of writing, especially preparing them for “proliferate” pieces.

Each time I have assigned an assessment, I give them a prompt, but I have never stated HOW the assignment should be turned in. Yancey hits on the point that students write in many genres that are not required–it’s all for the love of writing. Secretly, I wait to see which student will break the mold, and although it’s only my second year teaching, I have not seen anyone do it. Every time I collect the assessment, I get your typical five paragraph essay, questions about introductions and conclusions, what kind of phrases do you want in the paper. How do I break the mold?

As much as I hate the standards and structures of the K-12 education system, I can’t exactly buck it with the kids’ SAT scores, GPAs, M-STEP, and not to mention my own teaching evaluations. I know that in college writing and composition are different, but I don’t know how to change my classroom and then also the rest of my department.

There is such an emphasis placed on how to read literature and informational texts in my department that you forget there are so. many. genres. out there that the kids have never been exposed to.

I feel guilty.

The Literary Maven

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