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Digital Pedagogy Series

“Using Computer-Based Tools to Analyze Academic Writing with Students”

Laura Aull, Wake Forest University

Friday, October 18, 2013; 2pm

Institute for the Humanities, 202 S. Thayer, #1022

This talk will introduce freeware tools, activities, and sample projects that showcase features of undergraduate academic writing and invite students to analyze their own writing vis-a-vis patterns in a range of writing from informal texts to advanced academic essays.

We invite graduate student instructors, faculty, and others in the community to this and the other workshops in the Digital Pedagogies series. Space around the table is limited, however, so reserve your spot in advance!

“Digital Pedagogy in Practice”

Lisa Spiro

Friday, November 1, 2013; 2pm

Institute for the Humanities, 202 S. Thayer, #1022

Lisa Spiro, independent researcher and consultant, will talk about how and why to integrate digital approaches into teaching. Instructors will get a chance to work with a variety of tools for data visualization, mapping, and other digital strategies.

Digital Currents: Analytics, Architectures, & Archives Mini-Conference

Tuesday, November 19, 2013; 12-3pm

Institute for the Humanities, 202 S. Thayer, #2022

What implications do media infrastructures have on the way way we work, interact, and live? The Digital Currents project welcomes scholars with a diversity of disciplinary perspectives to discuss the complications of our digital present at this mini-conference at the Institute for the Humanities.

Panelists: Mary Gray, Microsoft Research & Indiana University, “Crowdsourcing Piecework: The Geopolitics of Digital Labor”; Lisa Nakamura, University of Michigan, “Evil Media: The Market for Primitive Africa in Internet Vigilante Trophy Websites”; Molly Wright Steenson, University of Wisconsin, “Data Places”

“Exploring, Remixing, Analyzing: Teaching History with Digital Media”

T. Mills Kelly, George Mason University

Friday, December 6, 2013; 2pm

Institute for the Humanities, 202 S. Thayer, #1022

T. Mills Kelly is a specialist in the scholarship of teaching and learning in history. His most recent book, Teaching History in the Digital Age, was published by the University of Michigan Press in 2013. He is also the author of more than a dozen articles on the intersection of historical pedagogy and digital humanities. In this workshop, he will present digital tools and techniques applicable to the teaching of history. Interested instructors and faculty will have a chance to try out some of these approaches.

View all events at www.lsa.umich.edu/humanities/events

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I developed these questions for students to use  when reading, blogging, or otherwise preparing for class discussion.

Just as literature itself always inescapably reflects and enacts power dynamics, so does children’s literature, including educational texts, picture books, and advice to parents.  Values of some sort are always transmitted along with the information and/or entertainment.  This is sometimes easier to see in historical works at some distance from us, although sometimes their very strangeness can make analysis difficult.  When writing or reflecting on literature published anytime, but especially before the Twentieth Century, it may be helpful to reflect upon the following.

  1. What is historical place and time of this text?  What do you know about this period in terms of main political events and its culture? What were the attitudes and beliefs of this time period?
  2. How does this work seem to reflect that historical context?  In what ways (if any) does it seem to deviate from it?
  3. How is it similar to/different from other works (literary or otherwise) from this period?
  4. Who was its target user and /or intended audience, and in what setting it would probably have been used? You may have to make an educated guess; some examples are more obvious than others.
  5. What sorts of language technologies or communication forms are emphasized in your document and what kinds are downplayed or ignored? What does it teach children about reading and/or education, either the how (medium & method) or the what (content)?
  6. What does this work teach children about the world, and their place within it?  What are the limits of this world or sphere?  Is domestic, urban, national or global?  How might the culture of this world be described?  That is, how does it operate, what are its rules, who has power within it, etc?
  7. Look back over your answers to the questions above. Based on these answers, along with anything else that strikes you about the text, how would you describe the cultural politics of your document? That is, who might be empowered in this literature and who might be marginalized?
  1. How does engage the imagination of the child-reader? What fantastical elements are apparent, and how does that fantasy operate in relationship to their real world?  Does it follow similar cultural rules or does it deviate entirely?  What might be the purpose of this alternate reality?
  2. Look closely at the language used.  (Language includes descriptions, images, metaphors, vocabulary–WHAT is being said as well as HOW.)  How do you think this reflects the text’s values?
  3. Is there anything that surprised you about the text?  Did anything strike you as particularly unusual? What might account for this strangeness?

This is a long list of questions, but it is surely not inclusive.  What questions do you think it would be useful for students and other readers to ask when encountering the otherness of children’s literature?

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