The Digital Age

By Shalian Shaw

The first words that come to the mind of most after hearing these words, ‘Digital Age’ are the internet and technology. The digital age does not only benefit the younger generation who seemingly can’t live without technology and use it in everything they do. It facilitates primarily new forms of learning and communication to anyone, anywhere.

‘Digital Humanities’, to my understanding, can be vaguely described as using technology and its  advances to study and understand traditional humanities work. It is using new age programs to investigate subjects in humanities. Humanities itself can be defined as the study of human society and culture.

Technological advances are making it progressively easier to conduct digital research and learning. Although helpful, we are also faced with a few difficulties by these advances. With the abundance of information being circulated, researchers face more searching and analyzing to obtain what they are looking for. Credibility and relevance are issues all users of the internet have to face.“Thinking About Google Search As A Colonial Tool” an article by Joshua Adams delves into how the search engine google influences what researchers find credible and relevant.

An article “A Bill of Rights and Principles for Learning in the Digital Age” by Sean Michael Morris and Jesse Stommel examines the rights all learners should exercise. One right which I believe to be instrumental is the right to privacy. All students should have clear knowledge of the intended use of their personal information and the right to withhold the publishing or spreading of that information . The article also highlights the principles that programs should adhere to in order to produce the best learning for students. Of the many, one significant principle is that of global contribution, which emphasizes that information should be obtained from various places and fields which in turn exposes learners to a wider range of knowledge.

In this digital age, many opportunities have been created for people worldwide to learn and obtain information through technological advances. With this learning however, many things must be taken into consideration by both those releasing and absorbing the information. I am sure that these points expressed will help me in understanding the digital humanities course and they will also be kept in mind in all learning I shall be partaking in.

Technological Benevolence – by Kodie Jean-Jacques

I don’t mean to insult you, but you are guilty. You are guilty of being ungrateful. Many small details in our lives are overlooked. Not only that, we don’t realize how fortunate we truly are. Everything we consume, everything we make use of and all the privileges we enjoy are the fruits of people’s labor. Take for example – I was eating chicken, rice and peas a few days ago. I slowed my chewing for a brief period, and I pondered in silence.

I thought about where the food came from. I deduced that people would have to harvest the rice, process it, sell it and then somebody would have to cook it. The only thing I did was consume it, and, quite frankly, it was pleasurable. The same process would have to be done for the peas. As for the chicken? Hmph. The bird would have to be raised from a chick and taken care of for 12 weeks until it is slaughtered. Entertaining these thoughts made me realize how much work is put into the things I consume. Even the seemingly small pleasures such as information accessibility.

When Dr. Esprit broached the subject of “Digital Humanities” to the Create interns, I was quite reluctant to believe that there was an entire academic discipline dedicated solely to putting information on the internet. However, I was dumbfounded when I delved into what these cyber-magicians actually do.  

Digital humanists do much more than disseminate information on the internet. As a matter of fact, according to nextconf.eu, “They use technology to redefine the way people achieve their goals and enable people to achieve things not previously possible.” They employ databases, online events, digital 3D models and knowledge sites to empower people. Digital humanists may be a part of massive projects such as Wikipedia or much smaller projects such as the Salman Rushdie Archive.   

Permit me to share my views on technology. From a college student’s perspective, technology is great. It enables us to get information on billions of topics. It makes our day-to-day activities much more efficient and, lastly, it connects people in a plethora of ways. Despite there being obvious benefits to using technology, my economics lecturer always exemplified the principle that everything we do has an opportunity cost – the loss of other alternatives when one alternative is chosen. Don’t be fooled. Using technology is no anomaly. 

From my personal experiences, I have found that using technology dampens my creativity and retards my work ethic because everything has been made so ‘easy’. “Why do this when somebody else has already done it and I can just mimic their actions?” This question does sounds silly, I agree. However, I ask this question to myself quite often and I’m sure I’m not the only practitioner of this habit.  

Rewind your thinking back to my chicken, rice and peas analogy. What if we all grew rice and raised chickens? World hunger would be a thing of the past. Of course, it is highly unreasonable for all of us to be farmers. However, the principle applies to knowledge. What if we produced knowledge rather than merely consuming it? Imagine how much more information would be available to us if every person who had internet access was committed to sharing information with each other.  Whether we get the information from an 80-year-old book, or a personal experience or even a documented conversation with a knowledgeable person, we could be sharing it.  I learnt from a document published by Rafael Alvarado that – something as simple as mapping locations with Historical significance on Google Maps could assist thousands of people with their own research and self-advancement.

Inches away for us but a world away for many

By Tracey Daway

My oldest and vaguest memory has always been blurry to detail but has always been centered around help.  Helping other people has been my biggest motivation in life.  I’m not a superhero, nor am i a self made billionaire, yet, so it is very impractical and unreachable to want to save each person on this planet.  However, each person on this earth was made equal, although when you talk about birth you have to mention life and life is unfair.  Life is unfair, many persons today are born into unstable social, economical and financial situations they cannot get away from.  To escape the evils of this world one first needs to understand their situation, recognise it for what it is and make a plan to elevate to a better situation.  The problem with that is how few people realise their situation and how dangerous it can be simply from a system of oppression and lack of education. 

 Education is the key to life and success, whether that be a traditional education or a non traditional one.  Digital humanities in my opinion is the ‘glue’ that brings together education and people, it bridges the gap created by many societies around the world that prevent thousands, possibly millions from achieving a decent solid education.  It makes it possible and reachable for any individual, regardless of race, ethnicity, age, gender, financial background, social standing and sexual orientation to access a world of knowledge at their fingertips.  Digital humanities is a tool, it gives access to a network of knowledge, individuals and creators who are invloved in various humanity based areas, such as Literature, Sociology and Psychology to name a few.  It allows persons to consume aswell as create an share their own personal knowledge and insight.  

Technology has benefited humanity in many ways, it make learning a more engaging, interesting and flexible activity and therefore is able to reach a wider population of learners and students.  This is well known that each student learns and receives information taught differently, be it auditory, visual or sensory, technology makes learning attainable to a wider population and it assists many teachers in the classroom to cater to multiple methods of teaching.  Watching television does not allow me to leave a comment, or change it into my own words nor talk with the creator.  Social networks allow me to not only consume knowledge but create and produce my own.  Interacting and engaging with other people on the social webs allow me to think in ways i never would consider had i stuck to traditional old school education and learning methods.   However, with positives there will always be negative.  While technology assists those of us with different learning abilities it weakens our fellow learners who are already struggling.  With writing for example, penmanship was a staple traditional subject taught in schools across the globe and in the wake of technology coming into the classroom this traditional subject is being seen as old fashioned and medieval to some extent by many school students and even teachers who go as far as to remove it from the curriculum.  I do believe that in the future society will find a way to balance the old and the new as technology advances, not all that is dated should be lost and not all that is found should be kept, I’m Tracey Daway and this is just a brief collective of my thoughts on the articles i have read.

EOL, Earth Online

By Kaila-Ann Guiste

Digital Humanities is using computational methods and complex tools to study humanities or examining something using digital resources.
From the article “Thinking About Google Search as a Colonial Tool” by Joshua Adams, I understood that ‘colonial’ intended to convey the trend of ownership of something not ‘claimed’. Digital technology provides new ways for powerful business people to own culture and digital representation of marginalized groups is determined by these people. Google is more of a commerce effort than a public resource. With full knowledge that it influences thinking, it sets priority to its mission as an ad broker before actual research material. Google helps publicize other businesses this way.
I felt like he could have used a different example other than ubuntu and come to the same conclusion therefore I think he used the delicate topic of eroding a culture to give his point more attention and to express disapproval for modern-day erasure/distortion or commercialization of culture.
Nonetheless I agree that what he said was true; search engines have a very significant hand in shaping thinking both positively or negatively but are often used to reinforce oppressive social structures. It seems that business people think that any significant term or artifact without a trademark can be claimed and controlled, twisted and even robbed of its origins for their benefit. This also leads me to wonder how much of these types of things happen unnoticed.
It is quite unnerving to think that such a large piece of my everyday life has such a well-hidden purpose and that it has indeed shaped my thinking. I experience it when I search for something and get a website or company instead. Right there my first impression is molded to what the company presents and content with that I may not look deeper and find the actual meaning.

How has culture of technology helped improve our ability to read, write and think? How has it made those things more challenging?
The culture of technology makes resources that aid the development of those abilities readily available. In terms of composing, works of various genres are available that can be studied to improve one’s skill. It also gives access to a variety of opinions and ways of thinking and material, evidence to expand how one thinks. Technology has had a massive impact on thinking. It has expanded the depth of how people examine ideas and approach problem solving. I think however, that it has made having a personal opinion challenging because influential people can easily distort why I thought what I used to think before they emphasized their opinion. Furthermore, I may be heavily persecuted for an unpopular opinion because of how many people of many backgrounds that can access it. Then there is the fight to keep my views or to adjust to what everyone else thinks, and maybe deciding which one is “right” or worth acting on. In addition, it may pose a challenge to people who do not have access to technology and are not granted the privilege. These people’s abilities may seem stunted in comparison to people who interact with technology regularly creating a gap.

Education in the Digital World

By Serena Maxwell

The internet has undeniably had a significant impact on human life throughout the years. From basic communication to the way we learn, the evolution of the internet has changed the way in which human beings interact with each other and their environment .One important area of human life which has been greatly altered by the development of this modern technology , is education. Prior to the creation of the internet, individuals wishing to pursue an education would be restricted to the physical classroom environment. However with the aid of the internet, one can now enjoy the benefits of online learning. Online courses have successfully been able to create new opportunities for self development of people from across the globe.
Although the development of online courses can yield many benefits to its users, there is still a wealth of information yet to be fully understood as it relates to the full effect of online learning on the students and teachers. The article ‘Hybrid Pedagogy’ used the example of a television in 1950’s or a correspondence in the 1920’s. I believe that the aim of this reference was to emphasize the fact that technology is constantly evolving and as it relates to online education these advancements should introduce new revolutionary ways of learning rather than utilizing ancient principles. Due to this , these individuals have created a bill of rights describing the responsibilities and rights of people participating in online learning.
These rights include the right of people to gain an education regardless of age, race, cultural background , sexual orientation or religion. I truly believe that each of us possess unique talents and abilities and thus should be given equal opportunity for intellectual growth and development. Other important rights include the right to privacy, that information about students are not divulged without their permission, the right to own intellectual property as well as quality and care, among others.
Additionally, in order for online learning to be successful, there are certain principles which should be followed. Online learning platforms should not only be established in the United States but from the wider world. Students from all over the world should be able to share ideas and work together in the learning process. Other principles mentioned in the article were persistence, experimentation, civility, play and innovation, to name a few. Each of these principles, if applied in the online community will aid in fostering a successful educational environment.
As I progress on my journey at Create Caribbean, particularly while taking this digital humanities course ,I hope to learn more about the technology which has become such an integral part of daily life and its evolution. As an intern at Create , I look forward to making new discoveries as well as broadening my thinking and educating myself on the various aspects of life.

The Ice Age of The Digital Age

by Kieron Clunes

Ones and Zeroes. Who would’ve thought that a hundred years down the line, that these two fundamental concepts would later become the driving force in the development of the world we live in. To the educated and fortunate, the presence and influence of technology in our society is fairly common knowledge. We now have the ability to let millions of people know exactly what we had for lunch. We now surprisingly are quite entertained by what Jenny from down the block had for lunch. But all this is great, and all this is the product of technology.

But is all this relevant? Shouldn’t something so powerful be used for something a tad more important than Jenny’s fruit bowl? I believe so and I think the whole world is literally at the beginning of this revelation. A revelation I like to call the ice age of the digital age.

We now have groups of scholars working together to bring to light the ability for us as humans to learn, understand and appreciate the many cultures and exciting histories of the world through the digital space. We call this amalgamation of computational concepts (literally the ones and zeroes referenced before) and the culture/history of the entire world, Digital Humanities.

As my knowledge of this study grows deeper, I intend to apply what I learn to the world around me. I feel as if this area of study is one that is very relevant and important to the future growth of human society as a group of people growing with technology. I feel like we are running the risk of loosing touch with the rest of the world when it comes to history and culture and I see digital humanities as an area of studies that will later on shape the world as we know it.

The Digital World

By Alaina Mathew

When the phrase ‘digital world’ comes to mind, I first think of the internet. Connecting, researching, communicating, learning and sharing information with the use of digital tools and devices. We live in a society that is almost completely dependent on it. When faced with the term Digital Humanities however, I think of the teaching of kindness and disciple with the use of computing and other forms of technology to understand how the world functions. After watching the video by Elijah Meeks, I was unable to obtain a full understanding of the term, and found it difficult to grasp what it truly is.

I’ve learnt that the digital age is not just necessary for teenagers who spend countless hours on the internet, but it creates opportunities for any and everyone. Online learning through digital pedagogy allows for easy access to individuals world wide. The internet makes it possible for anyone to become a student and a teacher and it also creates many learning opportunities . An article by Sean Michael Morris and Jesse Stommel outlines the rights and principles for learning in the digital age. The right which stood out to me was the right to be teachers. This right explains that teaching is not limited to only specific authority such as professors, but it sheds light on the fact that learning is collaborative and we all learn from each other. We learn through interactions and having open minds to various subjects, not by feeding off of information given by a lecturer in a classroom setting.

In his article, Joshua Adams brings forth The point of how search engines influence our views on the relativity and importance of online information. It points out one of the flaws of our online experience. When researching certain topics, search engines often adjust topics to fit the demands of their audience (what is seen as popular and ‘trendy’) instead of what is truly important. A problem arises when rare, but important information is excluded from ‘popular’ suggestions and is made difficult to locate.

The internet is an incredibly large place and it is impossible for an individual to know everything that it entails. There are many aspects of the internet that will remain unknown to me, but for now, I intend to educate myself, on certain topics dealing with the internet and other technologies. I am also eager to learn more about online opportunities and how I can be proof that the internet is not just a place where social media exists but a place where learning can be achieved.

The power of the Internet

By Daina Joseph

Growing up I’ve never really had a keen interest in the internet, however, I cant say the same thing today. I have come to the realization that everything that we do in our day to day lives can be linked back to the internet and digital devices. Due to this it only makes sense that individuals are educated on the importance of software which is made so easily accessible today.

Like any large operation, the internet has its own group of people who work to further develop it and take care of any flaws that may occur. These are the very same people who made online classes available to everyone. Not online does the internet provide online opportunities to everyone, it also encourages individuals to learn about and practice their rights where or when it is necessary.

Online classes is a huge convenience to individuals globally. Although it may have it’s flaws, you cant deny the fact that it allows individuals the opportunity to evenly disperse time for different daily activities. It permits them to choose classes that are most suitable to them. It also saves them the extra time, energy and money as they don’t have to worry about wasting gas or having to leave your home in some cases.

Before signing up to be a create intern, I had no idea what I was walking into. However, after reading different articles on Internet development, I took note that I still had lots to learn and that the little that i do know is considered basic next to all that is the internet.

I genuinely look forward to working with my fellow interns and expanding my knowledge on different concerns in my country as well as the digital world. Who wouldn’t want to know as much as possible about problems that their country or the rest of the world faces daily anyway?

Welcome DSC and Duke Students!

Welcome to the shared blogging space for the collaboration between Create Caribbean Research Institute’s Digital Humanities Research course at Dominica State College and the Modern Caribbean History course at Duke University. This digital space will allow students to reflect on relevant topics and their own progress on the Carisealand project, which is the collaborative final project for both courses.

Details about blogging format and schedule will be provided by your course instructors.