Author: Jenna Doolan

Gradual Growth

Looking back on how nervous I was walking into class during syllabus week not knowing what to expect, now makes me laugh. I find it amazing how over the course of a few months, how much I have learned and how my perspective on technology has changed overall. Although all of this new information can be overwhelming at times, it has given me the courage to apply to jobs on campus such as SA Tech and the CIT desk so that even after this class comes to an end, I will continue to learn and broaden my knowledge.

Change is something that I have never been comfortable with and I felt like taking this class was something way out of my comfort zone and a huge risk. I was not sure if I was capable of doing well in it and considering how little of an understanding I had with computers, worried me. With technology constantly advancing I knew I had to become more knowledgable and familiar with the gadgets surrounding me. I have wanted to be a teacher practically my whole life, so what kind of disservice would I be doing to my students by not having them engage with technology? Implementing the use of technology is so important in the classroom because it is an effective approach to connect with students who may learn differently. In high school, I had a teacher who insisted on using one of those old projectors, even though there was a smart board in the classroom. I found it extremely difficult to stay focused and engaged in any lesson and easily got distracted. After that, I promised to myself that when I become a teacher one day, I will create my lesson according to the needs and wants of my students.

Nowadays, there is such a negative stigma surrounding technology and all of the harmful impacts it has on us. Although I am not disagreeing with this statement as social media has been proven to be detrimental to one’s mental health, I feel that because we dwell on the negative, we do not appreciate the benefits that technology has brought us. We do not give enough credit to the cures and treatments that new technology has provided for those with diseases and illnesses. We are too busy focusing on what we do wrong, rather than what we do right. Like anything else, I believe it is essential to find a good balance. I do not think we should rid ourselves completely of technology but instead monitor how much time we spend on social media.

After doing some more research on technology and its impact on mental health, I decided to go on a social media cleanse for a week. I have to say, I felt so out of the loop. Social media is my prime form of communication which made it even tougher to get rid of. I also do not watch the news and get all of my news updates from apps such as Twitter or Instagram. One of the organizations I am apart here at Geneseo, uses the apps Facebook and Groupme to inform us about events as well which made it that much harder to keep up with what was going on. I have to say I am definitely addicted to my phone and giving up social media was not easy. Once the week came to an end, I became more okay with it and actually felt kind of free from it. I believe that a social media cleanse should be something that everyone should do once in a while.

One thing that I know now that I did not know in the beginning of the semeste,r is what XML is. XML is a rigid structure that gives us language to mark up textual data on ways that are specific so that computers can read them. This rigid structure is important because computers do not handle loose data well.  XML enables us to add rigorous structure to textual data. I liked how Professor Schacht compared XML’s structure to the structure of a book. Books are loosely structured data. Although this may seem like such a little takeaway, it is something that I would have never been able to comprehend before. This is a milestone for me since I came into this class knowing nothing.

I am glad that our Walden projects give us the opportunity to explore other websites and applications. This class is not set up like a traditional english class since it includes a lot of hands on learning that is enjoyable and interesting and keeps me engaged during class. I believe all english classes should incorporate some kind of technology aspect to it.

 

Fear of the Unknown

I have to admit when I signed up for this class, I had no idea what to expect. I am an English Adolescence Education major at Geneseo and needed to add another course to my schedule. On the first day, we were asked to define what digital humanities is and I struggled with this question extremely. Digital humanities was definitely not a term used in my everyday vocabulary. The title of this course intrigued me and I was eager to explore what digital humanities was all about since it was a topic so foreign to me. The Monday and Wednesday time slot fit perfectly into my schedule and I thought I should take a risk for once and give it a shot! After going over the syllabus and the course’s expectations, I was extremely nervous and worried that I would not have what it takes to do well in this course since I had barely any prior knowledge about computers. I can type fast and that is about all I can do when it comes to computer talent!

The words binary and coding were very unfamiliar to me. I have never had a good relationship with my computer in the past and felt if anything, my computer has given me nothing but a headache. Whenever something happens with my computer, I often look to google and see if I can figured it out myself. Unfortunately, a lot of the time I cannot and have to go to CIT to help me. Last semester, my hard drive failed on me which was the peak of frustration with my computer. Everyday I was forced to rent out a computer every four hours and I was not allowed to borrow it over night. I am sure anyone could imagine how irritating this could be right in the middle of the semester! I also lost everything on my computer but learned the valuable lesson of how important it is to back up your pictures and other documents somewhere else.

In the future, I plan on becoming a teacher and would love to share my knowledge on computers and technology in general. Technology is quickly advancing and has become so dominant in today’s society, so it is essential for teachers to be able to teach their students how to understand and work with it. Inventions such as the smart board have made a huge impact in the teaching world and new inventions are constantly arising. The newer generations have become so reliant on technology that is important to include technology based lessons so that you can keep students engaged and interested. When I was in high school, we practically had a smart board in every single room and I still had teachers refuse to use them because either they simply did not know how to use them, were not educated on how, or they were old fashioned and did not believe in using it. This made learning much more boring and redundant. I believe that schools should implement programs for teachers where they can learn the best way to integrate technology into their everyday teaching and make the learning experience much more exciting.

Although I do not have much experience with my computer, my iPhone is a completely different story. Similar to most people, I am addicted to my phone. When I wake up I check it, during class I check it, and a lot of the time, it keeps me up late at night. I believe that we do not take advantage of what technology has to offer, instead, we are all just stuck on social media when there is so much more to know and learn.

Almost a month later of being this class and I have learned so much. I love the different approach this course takes. Most english classes are just discussion based and get repetitive and boring, however, this class is hands on and we get time to navigate our computers during class time. It is the perfect balance. Each day we explore new things and I can actually say I learn something new every class period. I never knew applications such as Atom and VirtualBox even existed. I am so glad that my eyes have been opened to other applications, other than your simple basic stickies or photo booth.