In class a couple weeks ago we started to have a discussion on TEI and XML. At the start of this conversation I had no idea what those acronyms stood for or what they meant. I came to learn that TEI stands for Text Encoding Initiative and XML stands for eXtensible Markup Language. Even after learning what these acronyms stand for I still don’t really understand what they mean or why they are important. We started talking about how TEI and XML add a rigorous structure to data and they take the shape of a tree, like a hierarchy. I still don’t completely understand what this means, but I found a connection between this and my Literacy Education course I’m taking this semester. We discussed how our ebooks and books in general also take the structure of a tree. The title could be seen as the trunk because it’s the base of what you’ll read later on and then as you go up the tree things get smaller such as the paragraphs, sentences, words, and individual letters. We also have to take into account the punctuation, spacing, and all individual bits of data. While creating our ebooks it’s important to represent that data and be able to recognize it. I found a relation between this and my literacy course because on the first day of class the professor showed us a picture of a bunch of symbols and asked “What do you need to know in order to read this?”
Some of the answers that we came up with were what each symbol stands for, what sound is associated with each symbol, what the difference between one symbol and two of the same symbols together sound like, and you have to read left to right. There are five pillars of early literacy that are essential to learn in order to be successful in reading and writing. They are: phonological awareness, phonics, fluency, vocabulary, and comprehension. In my literacy course we focused on phonological awareness and phonics. Phonological awareness is the general appreciation of how language can be divided into its components. For example, we speak in sentences. Sentences can be broken down into words and words into syllables. Just like TEI and XML having its own bits of data that people have to recognize and understand to be successful, children have to recognize and understand the small bits of language in order to read and write.
As I said in my first blog post, I had no idea this course was going to consist of understanding how our computer works and things such as coding. I guess I didn’t even know it was going to be a Digital Humanities course. Therefore when I walked in on the first day I was taken back and a little worried the content would be over my head. However, after taking the time to listen in class I have added new knowledge about technology to my brain that I never thought I’d learn or want to learn. I still don’t know all there is to know about technology, especially with the command line in Virtual Box, but one thing that I have learned that has been particularly interesting is Timeline JS. In class we learned how to add in different information, images, and links to additional sources to create a timeline through Timeline JS. The first thing that came to my mind as a future educator, is how I can implement this into my future classroom. Timeline JS would be perfect for a Social Studies lesson where the students could take information they have learned, such as the years of major wars fought around the the world or dates of major events during the Civil Rights movement, and input the dates on Timeline JS to create their very own timeline. It can also be used for other subjects. For example, english teachers could have their students make a timeline of important events that occurred in a book. I used to do this in school, but it was on paper. Technology has become such an important aspect in education today and it’s only going to progress further, so the more we can incorporate it into our schools, the better off our students will be in the future. Timeline JS has also benefited me in being able to fulfill the Walden Project. I now know how to create a timeline to show the stages of composition of Walden in relation to other events in Thoreau’s life and important events taking place in the world around him. I feel fortunate to have gotten the opportunity to take this course because I now have a new understanding of how technology works. I’m looking forward to using this new information as I move forward in my career and teaching my future students about Timeline JS.
I’m not going to lie, I was that person that raised their hand on the first day of class for taking the course because it fit into my schedule. I knew I needed a recent English course for my concentration and I thought to myself “I’ve grown up in the digital age. How hard can this course be?” To be honest, I didn’t really know what to expect when I signed up, but I definitely did not think it was going to be another Humanities class. Last semester I had to take the Humanities requirement for my major. Let’s just say it wasn’t my favorite class. All we did was read old literature that kind of made sense and then discussed it in class which made me even more confused. Don’t get me wrong, I enjoy reading and that’s partially why I chose English as my concentration, but old literature is not my forte. Anyways, my point is I had no idea this was going to be another Humanities class and it made me a little nervous. I became more stressed when we started to discuss with our partners about our knowledge with computers and my partner mentioned coding. I thought “OMG! I didn’t even think about that being an aspect of the digital age.” As a result of my personal experience with Humanities, I didn’t even think that it could have a relationship with computers because my course was so “old school”.
Before this course, I had the basic, and I mean basic, knowledge of computing. I’m talking about knowing how to use Microsoft Word, Netflix, and iTunes. I remember getting my computer the summer before I started my freshman year of college and not knowing what to do on it. First of all, I had to learn how to navigate a Mac because up until then I had only used Windows. After getting a basic understanding of how to work my Mac I thought I was so cool. It was my very first personal laptop and it was the newest model so I was feeling special. I would just lay in bed and stare at it because I didn’t have anything to do on it because it was summer and there was no school work to do on it. At any rate, that’s how low my general knowledge of computing was. I guess this is because my parents have never been into technology so I never grew up with it. We always had tvs and a computer at home, but they always had the basic cell phones and they didn’t allow me to have a cell phone or a tv in my room until junior year of high school. However, as I worked my way through my community college I started to use my computer more and more and definitely became more comfortable with it. My sophomore year my Future Educator’s Club traveled to Tampa, Florida for the CEC (Council for Exceptional Children) Conference. There, we listened to a keynote speaker who was the author of the book Life, Animated. He told the story of his son, Owen, who has autism and how they overcame their journey by watching animated Disney movies. Our club brought this book and information back to school and did a book study on it. We also managed a number of events for Autism Awareness Month. I was in charge of creating an interactive activity for our viewers. I chose a sight called “Poll Everywhere” which allowed me to create polls that related to autism and the audience could answer these polls on their phone or laptop. We had a good amount of people show up for our events and they were very successful. Moral of the story, over time I have become more and more comfortable with working with my machine and I think that’s why I was open minded when registering for this course.
Don’t get me wrong, I’m still not a genius when it comes to computing and I still don’t really know what coding is. However, the more I sit in on this course and learn more about it and how far it has come since what we read about in The Information, I feel honored that I have the opportunity to learn such a concept. It’s not necessarily an interest for me and I’m not sure how I will use it in the future, but it’s cool that I’m learning something that was a foreign language to me before and something I never thought I’d learn while going to school for Education.