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Digital Pedagogies

digital pedagogiesThis image, shared from an article at, contends that the digital pedagogue is a particularly open minded individual posited toward inspirational expansion. I, myself, find that I engage with digital interfaces in my classroom and teaching. However, my range of motion therein is limited. That is to say, I know how to make assignments available to my students in a digital realm, but in some ways it ends there. This short quote highlights the principles of the digital humanities that scholars like Jesse Strommel contend are the strengths of a digital pedagogy model in the classroom.

This article highlights four of Strommel’s main points regarding the digital humanities and pedagogy:

1. It centers its practice on community and collaboration

2. Must remain open to diverse, international voices, and thus requires invention to reimagine the ways that communication and collaboration happen across cultural and political boundaries

3. Will not, cannot, be defined by a single voice but must gather a cacophony of voices

4. Must have use and application outside traditional institutions of education

These four principles show how digital pedagogy is less about technology, but more about what technology may have been teaching us since it has come to the forefront of our critical and social engagements in the digital age. This sense of community, openness, plurality, and use not only stands to shift the atmosphere of a classroom, but also aligns with the way we look at (and what we look for in) Literature.

Perhaps, the coolest tool we can gain from conversations surrounding the digital humanities is quite simply a pedagogical model that is both timely and timeless.


hypterxt lib.pngNoah Eisen and Robert Rose find that literature can be analyzed in a hypertextual manner by studying meaning embedded in reoccurring words and phrases in a novel. The Hypertext Library includes many classic books such as Charles Dickens’ Great Expectations, George Orwell’s 1984, Jane Austen’s Pride and Prejudice, and even Mary Shelley’s Frankenstein.The pair encourages readers to treat every work as its own link and to “click it to see where it leads.”

I choose to search how often the word “rain” and “snow” occurred in Frankenstein. Each word resulted in 15 matches in the text. “Weather” occurred 9 times. “Clouds” occurred 13 times. There’s so much more and I got a little carried away, but it does reveal interesting ideas presented in the novel.

Explore your own favorite novels

Visualizations for the Data Rich

This awesome tool takes visualization up a notch in sophistication. Palladio was designed by DHers at Stanford University and it allows complex data to be converted into maps, graphs, lists and galleries. The next time you’re working with big data sets, consider Palladio as a go to visualization tool.

Drama Online is an exciting online tool that “allows you to create ‘Part Books’ and compare words and speeches between acts with your chosen combination of characters.” From there, the software compiles the information into accessible graphs and charts for further analysis.

Check out this one on Frankenstein.

Digital Zombies is in some ways a game, and in other ways it is a digital tool for teaching historical research methods. Headed by Professor Juliette Levy at UCR, this project deals with topics such as human-kind’s control of nature and, naturally, zombies. Students develop creative projects and accomplish various tasks by performing research in physical and digital collections. The goal is to get students to think differently about their own historical research methods, as well as different perspectives enabled by digital platforms.

Interestingly, the term “digital zombie” is a name for someone so involved with social media and digital technologies that they become fixated with a “faux reality.” It is also used to describe students who only use sites like Wikipedia and Google to do research, often using digital sources indiscriminately, without ever coming in contact with physical sources.

Mind Maps

Mind mapping is a creative way to organize one’s thoughts. This skill that many of us learned in elementary school can still be useful in higher education. I often encourage my students to try different brainstorming methods beyond a free-writing exercise that often seems to be the go-to in writing classrooms. However, with the increasing reliance on electronically submitted projects I fear the process of scanning a hand drawn mind map, and converting it into a .pdf keeps students away from exploring this as an option.

Ideament is an app created to bring the mind mapping exercise into the digital world. It allows users to create a mind map, save and export as a .pdf, and also toggle between an outline and a flow chart/mind map; all through the convenience of their iphone or ipad.

Big Digital Deal

The Living New Deal, part of the Berkeley Digital Humanities Project, provides digital mapping for over 10,000 public works made possible by President Franklin D. Roosevelt’s plan for American recovery from the Great Depression. The Living New Deal site offers views of art, architecture, and infrastructure that the second tier of Roosevelt’s legacy enabled. Interactive maps of Works Project Administration projects spread across the United States document the whereabouts of these post offices, water towers, public parks, and libraries that are probably unknown by many and in danger of being forgotten altogether. Sewer systems and streets, bridges and dams, are also a part of the many more practical facets of this set of laws and executive orders that made the U.S. government the single largest employer at the time. Many airports and national parks are a direct result of New Deal work incentives and projects. The site places an importance on the role the WPA played in the art world by sponsoring Willem De Koonig, Mark Rothko, Jackson Pollack, and Milton Avery to name just a few. The Diego Rivera-inspired murals are worth the visit to The Living New Deal’s site, as you may also learn there that the New Deal is literally responsible for the ground beneath your feet.

*image of Rudolph Weisenborn’s “Contemporary Chicago” courtesy of

In an effort to keep internet users focused,   offers help on how to keep oneself from becoming distracted. 

For example, SelfControl is an app that blocks sites for a certain amount of time that you set for yourself while working on a project.

Caballo notes that “According to research, it can be more difficult to be productive in a quiet space.” Thus, she offers music sites that provide a wide array of music from Today’s Hits, all the way to peaceful melodies without lyrics.

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