Sunday, October 8, 2017

Digital Humanities Club: Weekly reflections

Each week Rae'Jean Spears, a graduate student working with our digital humanities club, produces reflections about the activities.

Week #12 reflection:
Twelve weeks of the East St. Louis project have come and gone. Throughout all of the changes with the Digital Humanities Club over the semester, the experience has proved to be a great one. From working with students who thought technology was “boring” or “only for men” during week one of the club to having students excited about coming back from winter break to continue working with audio editing speaks volumes within itself. From the excitement conveyed through the students, I can only wonder if we’ve begun to cultivate one of the creative geniuses of the future.

Week #11 reflection:
The East St Louis project went well. It seems as if the initial excitement of being able to mix poems with music has worn off. While the students are still excited, they are not as easily moved by their recordings just “sounding cool.” Instead, this week I noticed that they were a little quieter and spent more time paying attention to the details of the recordings. If this pattern of concentration on detail continues, I am sure they can produce some quality samples by the end of the year.
Week #10 reflection:
Each week of the program I walk away saying it was the best week so far; but this week of the program was definitely the best so far. Last week, the students had an opportunity to choose what instrumentals they wanted to see included as options for this week. The result: pure excitement. The East St Louis students were so excited that the SIUe students working in the same library as us stopped their schoolwork and began inquiring about what we were doing with the program. After this week, I am certain that if the students walk away with nothing else from this program, which I am sure they will, they will walk away confident of their ability to create art that is worthy of being praised.
Midterm reflection (excerpt):
So far, the Digital Humanities Club has proved to provide teachable moments for both us and the East St. Louis students. While the students have been learning about Audacity and how to edit audio files, we have been learning to be willing to adjust based on the desires and needs of the students.
Week #7 reflection:
This week’s meeting with the East St. Louis Charter school was great. We had a girl join the group of boys we have been working with every week. She brought a new energy to the group and shifted the atmosphere. The key thing that stood out to me was her willingness to actually show her excitement at her ability to create new audio files. I’m looking forward to seeing what she will continue to bring to the group.
Week #6 reflection:
This week’s meeting with the East St. Louis Charter school went well. They seem to really be enjoying having the freedom to be creative with the auto samples. It seems like they have different interests so it would be interesting seeing them have to work together to create something. I look forward to seeing how their creativity will be stretched when given a specific task to complete.
Week #5 reflection:
This week’s meeting with the East St. Louis Charter school was maybe the best we have had thus far. The students were able to take audio samples and edit them however they saw fit. It was really cool to see how each student chose to alter the poems. I look forward to watching students express their creativity in similar ways in the weeks to come.
Week #4 reflection:
This week’s meeting with the East St. Louis Charter school went well. A few new, young scholars from the Charter school joined the program and offered new insight to ideas we had already been discussing. For example, one of the young men shared how he wanted to work with animations when he got older so that he could create videos on social justice to circulate on social media. I’m looking forward to continue to having conversations such as these with students and learning how they see themselves as future change agents.
Week #3 reflection:
This week’s meeting with the East St. Louis Charter school students was interesting. We were given the opportunity to talk to a couple of the students one-on-one and get their honest opinions about the program thus far. I noticed two things: we shared similar long-term goals for the overall project, and their idea of technology revolves solely around computers. I’m interested if these understandings of technology will broaden outside of computers as we continue.
Week #2 reflection:
This week’s meeting with the students from the East St. Louis Charter school went well. The students were given an opportunity to discuss technology in ways that they don’t normally do. I noticed that while we are in very technically advanced society, there is not much knowledge or engagement with technology outside of cell phones. I’m interested to see how students’ perception of technology and how they can incorporate it more effectively in their own personal lives will change over the semester.
Week #1 reflection:
Our first session with the students for the East St. Louis Digital Humanities Club was great. We completed an audio scavenger hunt where the students were given the opportunity to learn new skills with using audio recorders. I really enjoyed how the students immediately tried to add their creativity to the activity by suggesting other questions that they could add to the list. I'm interested to see how they will continue to use their voices in offering suggestions and creative input throughout the semester.

The East St. Louis Digital Humanities Club

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