HASTACers, I would be so grateful to hear your responses to the following post:
What digital tools have you used research and/or teaching that you really like?
What are your top three tools for either teaching or research, and why?
What skills with technology should humanities students (grad or undergrad) absolutely have by the time they graduate?
Examples of tools (for lack of a better word) might include Omeka, SIMILE timelines, Oxygen, Twitter, Anthologize, blogs, CommentPress… the list goes on and on.
In my own research and teaching, I’m still figuring out which tools to use and how to use them. Two that I’ve used include free movie-making software and the publishing platform, Scalar:
With very little instruction, my composition students have had success using iMovie and Windows MovieMaker to create slide show videos to illustrate a personal essay. I give them very little instruction about how to use the software. In addition to requiring them to use technology that might take them out of their comfort zone, this assignment helps them become active users of images rather than passive receptors of them. I do not require my students to publish their videos on YouTube, but I do create a disc that collects all the videos together, and this serves as a small record of the class.
In my own research, I’ve been fortunate enough to use Scalar, the publishing platform for humanities projects under development at USC. It is not yet available for general use. Scalar makes it easy incorporate multimedia, create tags, and create a contextual argument (visual, textual, or both) that sort of floats in the background of the main argument. Scalar also allows authors to create multiple paths through the project’s argument rather than restricting the project to a single linear trajectory, as does a book or article. Scalar also makes collaboration easy and allows for outside comments. Though creating a project in Scalar is time consuming, so are most digital projects. I’ve posted several blogs about Scalar here.
I’m planning to expand my video assignment and hope to make my current Scalar project (it’s about William Carlos Williams and Einstein) public for comment soon. I will post updates about both as they develop.