Yesterday, after giving three consecutive presentations at P.S. 212 in Jackson Heights, Queens, I raced (slowly) on the 7 train to Times Square, and then raced again (slowly) on the 1 train up to Fordham’s Lincoln Center campus for the NYC Digital Humanities Week kickoff event. I was invited to deliver a follow-up presentation to my November presentation at CUNY’s Media Res event, which I write about in an earlier post.
I got to the event rather late and also had to leave somewhat early for a Nassau Community College Alumni Association board meeting, but the presentations that I got to see were all fascinating. Some of them really made me reconsider the way I think about literature, technology, and meaning. It was particularly good to see faculty members discuss their own DH work. It’s inspiring to see that DH is so important to members of all levels of academia. In fact, I even received an email about an hour ago from somebody at the Brooklyn Historical Society about sharing resources for a future project that I mentioned (don’t worry, I saw your email, and I’ll get back to you right after this post!). Altogether, the event was great- a huge turnout (well over 100 audience members), top-notch presentations, and constructive conversations during the workshop session. Next year, I’ll make sure to take an entire day for the event!
At the Media Res event in November, I talked about a map I’d designed of the 1820s and 1840s mid-Atlantic newspaper industry with data on county populations and newspaper, waterway, and railroad locations. That presentation had been mostly about the my findings and the research itself.
This presentation was a little bit different. Since a few months have passed, the actual data findings of the map have diminished in my mind, but the memories of the powerful learning experience it gave me have only grown stronger. So, my presentation at NYCDH Week was about using digital tools- whether mapping software, YouTube videos, podcasts, etc.- to give students the power to create fun, authentic projects that they are interested in and that- in a sneaky sort of way- teach them new skills. One of the most important parts of such projects for me is the fact that students know their work is going to be published, so they develop a (sometimes very unfamiliar) deep investment in the quality of their work.