Final Synopsis

Our class provided me with my first opportunity to work in a group on a large project for the first time in my college career. I’ve always had friends (business majors) who always complain about their group projects, and who don’t usually appreciate their final outcome. Although our group faced some minimal adversity, our website turned out great, and its something we can appreciate for a long time. My friends have all been forced to endure updates about my site, and they think its something to be proud of as well.

This class made me much more technologically fluent, and I enjoyed the work throughout the semester. I hope to continue running our twitter account, and I’m excited to see how our website may be expanded upon in the future.

Group Update

Our group presentation yesterday at Research and Creativity Day was successful, as we were able to describe the purpose, process, and final outcome of our project. Leading up to our presentation I really wanted to make sure our timeline was complete… Through the help of Dr. McClurken and Jim Groom, I was able to gain access to the Google Spreadsheet used by the previous FredMarkers group. Over the weekend I went through the spreadsheet and fixed all of the FredMarker links, and added our own information into the document (marker names, counties, inscriptions, categories, website links, dates, ect.) Once I completed that, Jim sent me a link with all of our marker information added into the timeline, and Sarah was able to figure out how to properly link it to our website. We still plan on changing the header on the timeline to a more universal title that credits both groups, and that links back to our site.

I also received an email from a writer at The Bullet today, who is writing an article about our project. We are meeting with him tomorrow afternoon for an interview to discuss our website and its significance! I owe my friend who was able to put me in touch with the right people to get this article in motion.

The Twitter account is keeping me occupied on a daily basis, as I’ve been posting at least one historical marker fact per day, along with other tid-bits of information that relate to our work.

Follow us @VAHistoricMarkers

Physical Facilities in Edu.

While reading Barbara Weinstein’s article, Doing History in the Digital Age, I was able to relate with her students complaint regarding the lack of physical facilities of her classroom. Last year I took a course, The History of Latin America, taught by an older female professor who lectured everyday, but used PowerPoint to provide pictures and statistics. Although it was painful to listen to the unenthusiastic monotone lectures, her use of PowerPoint made the class twice as bearable. It is refreshing to know “older” professors are accepting this movement toward digital technology in education, rather than sticking to their traditional methods of teaching. Also, I though that Weinstein brought up a good point saying that digital archives is “a godsend for scholars working in countries where there is precious little funding available for libraries or research collections.” I had never considered this aspect of online databases, and it is fascinating to imagine these research and educational opportunities now available to the less fortunate aspiring scholars out there.

 

Christopher Miller’s article, Strange Facts in the History Classroom: Or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Wiki(pedia), was intriguing, because Miller explained and broke down an assignment for one of his classes at Carol College in Wisconsin. The Midwest is a strange place to me, and I’m glad to know that they use the Internet there ;). I noticed that the article was written in 2008, but was still surprised that only 7 of Miller’s 28 students knew of Wikipedia’s existence. I graduated from high school that year in Chapel Hill, North Carolina and am positive that the majority of my classmates regularly used the website. Once Miller’s students grasped the overall idea of Wikipedia, I wasn’t surprised to hear that they conveyed very positive attitudes about its information. Like Weinstein’s observation about the “physical facilities” of the classroom, Wikipedia provides a similar phenomenon. Pictures, statistics, and lists of references are present on every page, and its not surprising that Miller’s students were immediately accepting of Wikipedia’s information. Though they eventually came to recognize Wikipedia’s downfalls regarding misspellings, Internet graffiti, and misinformation, the year 2008 was vastly different from 2012. Today it is rare to find errors on the website, as it is surely monitored by numerous filters that check for such things.

 

Regarding the VA State Marker project, I feel like our group has begun to hit the home stretch of our work. We recently created a Twitter page devoted to our website, that provides announcements regarding our progress, and daily tidbits of information from random markers. I think that the Twitter page is a good way to get word out about our project, and to inform and educate the VAST amount of people who LOVE historical markers.

 

Follow us at @VAStateMarkers. I hope everyone enjoyed their weekend.

3/27 Reading

In Nicholas Carr’s article “Is Google Making us Stupid?”, he  states that his ability to read has transformed as such: ”Once I was a scuba diver in the sea of words. Now I zip along the surface like a guy on a Jet Ski.” This made me question how the Web has effected my will to read an entire article, as opposed to just reading the headlines. Fortunately, I’ve been using my Google RSS feed since January 19th, and have compiled a fair amount of statistics regarding my trends:

all charts represent the last 30 days

Subscription # Read % Read
Subscription # Clicked

Although most of my attention is dedicated to a sports blog, I still feel like I get a fair amount of reading accomplished, rather than skimming or just observing headlines. Does anyone have any suggestions of something new to subscribe to that jogs the mind more than Deadspin.com?

Black Swan

Dr. Alexander’s presentation on the future of higher education was the first keynote speech that I’ve been to this semester. The audience included President Hurley, Jim Groom, Dr. Greenlaw, a few classmates, and Andy Rush streamed the whole presentation live via the web! Dr. Alexander not only lectured, but also included the audience, as he implored us to collectively answer questions that he posed. He asked us to identify trends that we see in technology, and people put forth answers such as Spotify, Paypal, and I talked about RSS feeds. He also talked about the “black swan” phenomenon, which he defined as any event which happens completely out of the blue that makes a significant change socially, in technology, or culturally. I found this especially interesting, and it reminded me of my friends who aspire to play the stock market one day. Dr. Alexander also asked us to imagine ourselves 10 years into the future, and spoke about how he imagines that libraries and schools will shrink in numbers, as the world becomes more reliant on technology. It is exciting to think of how technology will impact education in the future. Video games will become more pertinent in the learning process, and children will have access to MASSIVE online databases. Overall I really enjoyed the presentation, and it seems like Dr. Alexander is a great guy and admirable scholar.

Digital Portfolio

This past weekend our lacrosse team played Marymount University in DC, and I stayed in the area after the game to meet with a few former players regarding a job interview I have at the end of this month. The guys I met with gave me great insight on what to expect in the interview process, and provided some information that will be crucial to review prior to the 30th. They also convinced to make a Linkedin profile…. http://www.linkedin.com/pub/ryan-montgomery/4a/5a1/404. I thought this was great because not only is it an important networking tool, but I thought that it would satisfy our digital profile requirement for this class…. Now looking back on these other posts I’m beginning  to realize that I need to create one through umwblogs, which is fine as I’ll be able to include more information and customize it better than what Linkedin offers.

humpday

Today’s lesson plan was especially pertinent to my current situation, as I have a job interview at the end of this month. Just last week I scoured my facebook and removed pictures that I felt weren’t appropriate for my possible employers to view. Also I recently created a twitter account and have tried to stay mindful of how I interact with other people.

Lessons:

1) Having no digital identity or footprint on the internet is a negative when potential employers search your name.

2) It is possible to manipulate how people find/view you on the internet.. ex) purchasing a domain name and creating your own website.

3) Be mindful of your digital footprint.. Luckily the stats i’ve accumulated on the lacrosse field fill in the majority of my DF, and my facebook and twitter accounts are buried deep in the pages of google.

4) One way to rid yourself of a negative DF, is to create material that is positive.

5) Be mindful of privacy settings on social networks, and watch out for hackers.

Also I hope everyone has UNC going all the way in your brackets.

Research

Our further research of the historical state markers has been one of the larger aspects of our work so far. Some markers have plenty of extra information to include, while others are so miniscule that seems impossible to locate other facts aside from the inscription on the actual marker.

For example, one of my markers is “Burnt Ordinary”. Wikipedia has a page dedicated to Burnt Ordinary, but the only information it includes is from the inscription on the marker. Also, the only citation it includes is from the website that we have used to identify our new markers.

After a significant amount of digging through the internet, I found that there was a small skirmish at Burnt Ordinary during the Civil War. I discovered this information in the pages of The History of the United States Cavalry, through google books. I was glad to finally find this extra information, but I thought it was especially cool that I found  information that wasn’t mentioned at all on the inscription of the marker.

I’ve also been using Zotero this and my 485 which is SWEET!

Hope everyone is having a great SB.