Initial thoughts on DH

As I type this blog post on my Macbook Pro, glance at an article on my iPad, then grab my iPhone to text a colleague about a topic from this course, I realize how Porsdam placed well Steve Jobs’ quotes about the marriage of technology and the liberal arts/humanities as the reason for Apple’s massively successful products. Porsdam and others believe the same is true for the growing field of DH. Not knowing anything, even generally, about digital humanities prior to this course, I see from the Porsdam and “Digital Manifestos” readings how the entire field of humanities is going to change as a result of it’s marriage to technology. At first I thought, much like described in the articles, DH would be a toolkit for publishing standard print texts and I did not understand why there was a whole graduate class offered on it. Now I see how the methodology of humanities will be challenged. I thought of history and my professors who just published books. What does it mean for historians’ methodologies if they did not go to the archives themselves, rather retrieved it from an online database. How will historians begin to critique these sorts of DH projects, their limitations, and methodologies? Do historians begin to critique the curation of digital humanities projects as they critique sources used in books? Those were my initial thoughts after reading the “Digital Manifestos” and Cordell, and Porsdam posed some of those same questions in the context of the science versus humanities debate within DH.

In my field, secondary social studies education, we talk about teachers having TPACK: technological, pedagogical, and content knowledge. We say that technology should never be used for technology’s sake, but should be used to enhance the learning experience or allow the learner to engage in activities that did not exist without technological innovations. I perceive that the new DH parallels what I have learned about use of technology in the classroom. The new DH is not simply adding a document to a website, but it is a place for construction and collaboration of knowledge that could not be done with print or traditional mediums. I’m getting weirdly excited about learning the implications for the classroom from learning about DH.