My Journey into Digital Literacy

Friday, March 01, 2024

As someone who wants to pursue a path to law school, a couple of year ago when considering my choices for college majors, I took some time to evaluate my academic strengths. After much thought, I decided that my true strengths always lied in reading/writing and my ability to communicate my own thoughts and ideas to others. I ended up going with English and Political Science, which was something I felt confident in. In truth, I never thought I was naturally inclined toward math or science. As time went on and I became someone who was trying to avoid all things that I considered math or science related, computers fell into that category in my mind.

Don’t get me wrong- I use my personal computer daily, but that usage extends to surfing the web or using some of the simple applications installed on my device. I took a coding computer course in the 6th grade for a term that I truly disliked and felt confused the entire time; whether or not I truly struggled on the class material or simply had the attention span of an 11 year old with a computer in front of them I could not tell you, but that was the deepest I had really ever looked into computers and I didn’t move forward with warm and fuzzy feelings about the experience.

However, this course has changed my perspective a bit, and has made looking deeper into my computer feel much less intimidating. As someone who has used computers almost my entire life, sometimes it’s easy to forget what these machines are truly capable of. Specifically as an English major, I never thought much of the importance of digital literacy until I started taking this class. Learning how to navigate my computer using the command line and different shortcuts has really been eye-opening for me.

In this digital age, I find being able to truly navigate and utilize our technology is crucial in almost every field, including the humanities. For example, being able to create a daily journal using markdown not only helps me organize my thoughts more efficiently, but also allows me to easily share with others.

Before this course I don’t recall learning much specifically about scholarly editing and its unique dedication to preserving and presenting texts from the past in a way that allows for a deeper understanding and interpretation of historical literary works. Unlike other forms of editing that may involve altering/improving texts for modern audiences, scholarly editing aims to respect the original intent and context of the author. It involves extensive research and attention to detail to ensure the accuracy and authenticity of the text being presented. This reminded me a lot of a course I took last semester where we made individual research projects about the now closed Geneseo Migrant Center and went through many of their archives using photographs, poems, letters, and plenty of other documents in order to authentically and respectfully piece together their story for modern audiences. I wasn’t 100% aware that what I was doing at the time was scholarly editing, but I certainly see it now.

This course has begun to open my eyes to the importance of digital literacy and the possibilities that technology holds, even for someone like myself who has typically shied away from the world of computers. I have found a newfound appreciation for the impact that technology can have on my academic and personal pursuits, and I am excited to continue learning and exploring the intersection of technology and the humanities.