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Snow and Contracts, Contracts and Snow!

Well goodness, snowpocalypse 2010 has certainly thrown the metro area for a loop huh? Regardless, contract were still due and our images group worked our little fingers to the bone in order to get it out on-time, or a few hours early. I have to say our group works very well together and we have a very open line of communication that we have been sharing with Dr. McClurken as well. Just a note to the other groups out there, part of the reason that we are able to have such tight communication is due to the Google.doc that we converse on daily…and I mean DAILY!!!

I did want to wait until we received our comments before writing this blog and I think that the comments were very insightful  and after reading them and then comparing them to the contract I realized that they were spot on. I have since gone back and made some corrections and raised some questions to the group to see how we can improve upon our mission.

I believe that this open forum between group and professor is really a productive way to achieve the goal that this course is reaching towards. By using these blogs and the google docs, we have a more accessible line of communication that is really cutting edge in the classroom.  When I was in highschool the teachers did not have a computer in the classroom…and this was in 99, which is really not that long ago, and now, we are able to communicate with our professors in live time. I think its pretty remarkable. Anyway, those are my “deep thoughts” for the week…maybe I have been locked in my house for too long!

Tools and More Tools!!!

Emily Chang’s “eHub” certainly lives up to its name! I was truly impressed by the sheer amount of aggragate info she has collected regarding digital tools. A few really stood out to me for personal and group purposes.

First of all, the DoAttend tool sounds like a great tool for both our group ( if we would ever want to host an alumni get togther) or my music events. I will certainly use this tool to create a personalized event page complete with eTickets for, as Chang notes “that professional touch”.
The next tool that caught my eye was Wildfire. It seems like a great way to market, well, what ever you want to market for free! You can share this information through networking sites like Facebook and Twitter giving you the ability to reach many people at the click of a mouse.

Another tool that I found interesting was  Silentale, this seems like a great way to aggregated contacts and information from Alums for our project.

The last tool that I wanted to talk about  is Survey.io which will be useful if we decide to survey the Alums. I have used Survey Monkey before and I am pretty sure they are similar, but Survey.io seems a bit more professional.

I have to admit, I really had to pare down the amount of tools that I was going to mention, seriously, you should have seen my post before publishing! I really enjoyed Emily Chang’s site and I will probably visit it again to learn about new tools, because that is just the kind of dork I am…and there is absolutely nothing wrong with that!

Creative Uses for Digital Tools

Over the last few years I have been toying around with many different digital tools. This was mainly because I had built a website using “googlepages”, which was certainly user friendly but had to be manipulated by HTML to get the results that I was looking for, FYI I had lots of help with this project.  Since my group is the digital images group, we have been brainstorming with them to come up with the most user friendly way on the front end and the most efficient way on the back end to build a site of some sort for the alumni.  Its a daunting task to say the least but I do believe that many of these digital tools will prove to be truly helpful.

Tools that we talked about this past Tuesday such as NextGen and the Google Analytics will help to organize our images and track the number of people visiting the site.  A counter widget would be great for upcoming events and launches with the alums, and, on my personal website, I had linked my calendar to the site itself so that it updated the site every-time I added an event to the calendar.

I just wanted to throw this out there, I am not sure if this was truly the purpose of delicious or not but I have all of my news links bookmarked on there so that I can quickly and easily access the top stories of the day nationally and internationally. I also know that there is a wordpress widget that links delicious to your blog. That would be an interesting tool to use if you bookmark certain things pertaining to the blog or blogging subjects. I also like to use RSS feeds to link to other relevant websites as well as keeping all of the sites that I need to access in one place.

It is interesting that you ask the question “What could a blog be used for other than personal reflection?” because my group and I have been talking about potentially using the wordpress blog as an actual site where alums can view and comment on images. It is a rough outline of an idea but certainly a feasible option.

I have to admit that I was quite apprehensive after the Omeka demonstration but after review the Hurricane Digital Memory Bank site (http://hurricanearchive.org/) I may be a believer. This type of program would be ideal for our project because it collects and catalogs images (among other things) and allows interactivity with the viewer which would help us gain information about our images. I do have some concerns with the program though. It is unfortunate that Omeka does not run on the Microsoft or Mac operating systems because we all really need access to the site from home to update and maintain it. I am afraid that the information provided by the alums may languish or back up because we are unable to vet and update the information that they provide. Another concern about the back end of Omeka is how user friendly it is for the builder, is this a drag and drop program or do we need to program in computer language? These are all questions that I intend to ask Patrick after our group meets Thursday evening.

As for the websites, I liked the first one, it was aesthetically pleasing, and I really like how organized it was. The second one I felt was one, visually jarring and two, the homepage seemed all over the place, really not my style, I would like something a little sleeker. The last website is actually the one that pertains to my group project. I hate to say it but it just needs an update and a more efficient way to search it. It takes 5 pages just to get to an image it should be a little easier.

I hope that my “creative” ideas were helpful though I am not too sure that they were very innovative, but I welcome the challenge to continue to learn new digital technology.

An Intro to Digital History

Hi, my name is Caryn and I am a BLS senior majoring in American Studies. I am supposed to graduate this summer after completing my thesis on the correlation between the Labor Movement and Folk Music from 1905-1925.  After graduation I intend to enroll in the Virginia Career Switchers program for Teaching where I will get certified to teach Language Arts and eventually Social Studies for ages 6-12. After years of administrative work, it will be a welcomed change to move on to something that I have a passion for. When I am not studying, working, or going to class, I can be found in coffee shops and bars around the DC metro area playing folk rock music!

I chose this course because I am intrigued by the idea of Digital History. I feel that the future education involves online research, websites, and PDF documentation. This course is a precursor to my teaching philosophy which includes using digital media as a teaching tool to motivate and inspire students. I am looking forward to working on our digital image project this semester, though it seems a bit daunting I believe that we are up to the task.

PS, I am having trouble syncing up to the Google Reader, is anyone else having this issue?

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