I have jumped into Twitter this year as part of my Masters coursework (after a hiatus or should I say hibernation), and while I still have a way to go with sharing succinct reflections, I love the PLN aspect of the platform. I came across a link to Elijah Meeks (@Elijah_Meeks – Stanford University) and his article/posting: Digital Literacy and Digital Citizenship (2013). I picked up on his keywords ‘digital citizenship’ which is my focus topic for the upcoming digital essay. Yet, I was intrigued because I had never heard of the term digital humanities. What was it? Elijah stated he worked for the Library – another hook and then there was reference to secondary schooling. So, I kept on reading. Elijah defined digital humanities as “the use of computational methods and tools for the study of traditional questions” or “It’s the application and integration of buzzwords and acronyms into humanistic inquiry”. Reading through his infographics and visualizations, I immediately thought of course readings related to the need for our students to develop computational thinking. Other course concept such as open source, geospacial (geographic information systems) and gaming also seemed to link to what we have been exploring. However, I was definitely lost at the ‘spatial analysis and the data visualisation’. As an elementary librarian, I can appreciate the context, but could certainly not apply it. I will be forwarding on this resource though to the secondary humanities department (who will most probably know all about this).
I liked how Elijah made the concept of ‘digital humanities’ accessible to our secondary students. It is fun, inherently collaborative, overlaps with STEM, takes advantage of the growing accessibility of computational methods, and incorporates the power and meaningfulness of information literacy.
Another totally different aspect of coming across ‘digital humanities’ was the clear indication that our students are learning for jobs that haven’t even been invented yet. Yes, digital humanities is here, but it is indicative of what is ‘around the corner’.
And, as Elijah Meeks concludes:
“By bringing the digital into the humanities, we provide a space to question the effect of these pervasive techniques and tools on culture and society. Digital humanities, as those of us who have taken part in it are aware, is extremely self-conscious and self-critical, it lingers on definitions and problems of its scope and place, and it especially turns a jaundiced eye to technological optimism of all sorts, even as it attempts to integrate new technologies into the asking of very old questions. At the high school level, it provides for a more literate, sceptical student, which would prove beneficial in every aspect of society.”
And I am in definite agreement. We need to be helping our students to become those reflective, sceptical citizens.
Meeks, E. (2013, February 11). Digital Literacy and Digital Citizenship. Stanford University Libraries. Retrieved 18 May 2015, from https://dhs.stanford.edu/algorithmic-literacy/digital-literacy-and-digital-citizenship/