HASTAC III: Emerging Technologies Panel

This Tuesday morning panel, chaired by James Myers, NCSA, featured Julie Klein, Ian Chapp, Anne-Marie Armstrong, and Nardina Mein overviewing digital initiatives at Wayne State University, Michael Twidale and Richard Urban discussing their prototyping of an exploratory system for navigating library collections at the University of Illinois, Jentery Sayers and myself (Matthew Wilson) discussing their efforts in the development and implementation of a digital humanities course at the University of Washington, Lisa Wymore overviewing her teleimmersion projects at UC Berkeley, and Alan Craig demonstrating his efforts (with Robert McGrath) at NCSA to create applications for augmented reality.

At the view from “10,000 feet” (thank you, Michael Twidale and Richard Urban), this panel represents a diversity of technologies as they are employed in learning contexts, whether for supporting faculty and students across the university, in a specific classroom, on the stage, or for the individual media user.

In “Lessons for Teaching with Technology in Humanities and Social Sciences”, Julie Klein, Ian Chapp, Anne-Marie Armstrong, and Nardina Mein, overviewed Wayne State’s Digital Humanities Collaboratory, Digital Library Collections, the LUNA project for digital asset management, and the Digital Learning and Development Sandbox. Of note, for the audience, is their notion of ‘learning objects’, launching in September, which creates a testable object for researchers, educators, and students.

In “Patchwork Prototyping an IMLS DCC Collection Dashboard”, Michael Twidale and Richard Urban discuss their work to address the problem of skimming over a large number of collections (500+) housed in the library system at the U. of Illinois -- of providing a user an Internet-based dashboard to read at a distance across the collection: geographically, semantically, lexically. They are using a prototyping process with diverse users to see what kinds of information widgets should be available to those perusing the collections.

In “Mapping the Digital Humanities”, Jentery Sayers and Matthew Wilson (myself) presented their/our efforts in developing and implementing digital humanities curriculum at the U. of Washington. They discussed three emphases that guide their project: practices and processes rather than products and effects, the materiality of digital objects, and forces and affects rather than points and representations. The course is structured around practices of mapping: using a class blog and a collaborative Google Map. Students are asked to code (using XHTML and CSS), collect objects focusing on the everyday, practice distant reading, and texturize their digital encodings.

In “Traversing Digital Boundaries via Tele-Immersive Environment Exploration of Geographically Distributed Dance Performance”, Lisa Wymore, from UC Berkeley, discussed the use of teleimmersion in dance performance. Here, she is interested in how these digital technologies enable a new choreographic method and allow new forms of expression. Her interest is in the embodiment of virtual realities wherein our bodies enter into the digital landscape as opposed to be represented through avatars.

In “Augmented Reality/Virtual Reality”, Alan Craig, NCSA demonstrated an augmented reality system, whereby texts can be augmented using a system of images that, when recognized by a webcam, creates on the user’s computer screen an additional, 3D image.