Bethany Nowviskie

switching codes

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This post should really be a comment on one entitled “Tacit,” by Natalia Cecire — but it exceeds the author’s permitted word length for comments, so — rather than cut too much — I’m publishing it here. Alex Gil has also shared some thoughts, which I find very constructive. The subject is “Speaking in Code,” an NEH-funded summit and planning meeting we are hosting at the UVa Library Scholars’ Lab. This 2-day program is meant to get advanced digital humanities software developers talking with each other, perhaps for the first time, about what may go unspoken in their technical and communal practice, and therefore be difficult for scholars and newbies to access — and then to see where they think energy may lie, within their own ranks, for concrete next steps.

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Hi, Natalia — thank you very much for your post. You’re absolutely right to call me out on the make-up of the list of facilitators for the “Speaking in Code” summit. This is a move I have been known to make, myself. (More than once, actually, usually with happy endings.) So I respect the impulse.

I’m writing to share some of the thought process and fumbling around I went through in the first phase of organizing “Speaking in Code.” Read the rest of this entry »

prism, for play

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This week marks the release of a new version of Prism, a web-based tool for “crowdsourcing interpretation,” constructed over the course of two academic years by two separate cohorts of graduate fellows in our Praxis Program at the Scholars’ Lab.

prism-logo

Praxis fellows are humanities and social science grad students across a variety of departments at UVa, who come to our library-based lab for an intensive, team-based, hands-on experience in digital humanities project-work, covering as many aspects of DH practice as our practiced Scholars’ Lab staff can convey. Read the rest of this entry »

  • Published: Jan 26th, 2013
  • Category: documents
  • Comments: 3

the evaluation

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The next time Chad Sansing tells me he’s written a short story, I think I’ll read it immediately. You can skip my preamble, too, and download PDF or EPUB versions of his sobering, dystopian near-future meditation on American education gone awry — The Evaluation — right now. Other formats, below.

theevaluationvariant3Several months ago, my husband posted a brief, sci-fi vignette to the Cooperative Catalyst, tagging it with phrases like “merit pay,” “standardized testing,” and “school discipline.” I didn’t realize he had continued the story until a couple of weeks ago (a grim Saturday we spent in our pajamas, mourning Aaron Swartz), when he made a CC-licensed version of the full thing available online.

Still, I didn’t read it — at least, not all of it. Just enough to know I wanted to wait for a quiet moment. Tonight, I was reminded of “The Evaluation” by this report of brave teachers at three Seattle public schools whose act of civil disobedience is to refuse to administer and be judged by deeply flawed standardized tests. So I returned to Chad’s story, and was struck enough by it to interrupt his dinner at Educon 2.5, to insist that he send me a plain-text version, for dolling up and posting in multiple formats, right away. You can read it here:

PDF (prettiest)
EPUB (for iBooks and various readers)
MOBI (for the Kindle)
TXT (for remixing)

Chad teaches middle school humanities at a grassroots, teacher-led (ie. not corporate-run), arts-infused charter school in Albemarle County, Virginia — the Community Public Charter, which he helped to found. He writes and speaks frequently about redeeming what he calls an “authentic and democratic” education, for teachers and students alike, from a culture driven by dehumanizing standardized assessment and punitive notions of discipline. You can find him at @chadsansing, Classroots.org, the Co-Op Catalyst, the National Writing Project, Democratizing Composition, and probably a handful of other outlets I don’t know about. He’s the teacher you wish your kids had, every year.

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