Reflecting on Twessays

Hi guys! I hope ye all had a good summer. I am delighted to be blogging after the long summer holidays and the first thing I am going to be blogging about this year is Twessays. In this blog I will be reflecting on the two twessays and a small bit on the  critical responses I completed last year as a part of my assesment for my DH1001 module – Concepts and Collaborations in Digital Humanities 1.

The twessays were my favourite part of my DH1001 module last year because I loved how it forced me to put all my thoughts and feelings on a certain topic into 140 charachters. That way I  would have no room to waffle and I felt people could clearly understand my opinion on each topic in the twessay.

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For my first twessay I had to talk about openness  I remember finding the process of writing this twessay very difficult as I wasnt too sure exactly where to start off but i eventually decided to have two angles to it – open access and also expressing your talents.  The freedom of information was one of the very first topics we covered in DH1001 last year and learned a lot about people like  the late Aaron Swartz who devoted the majority of his life finding for freedom of information. I  decided to mention the bits about ”expressing your talents” and ”be true to who you are” just to give my twessay an edge over my classmates’ twessays. Looking back at that particular part of my twessay I regret saying  it as it wasn’t really relevant to the assignment and sounds like something a charachter from a Disney Channel tv show would say. If I had the opportunity to redo that twessay and critical response I would have probably talked a bit more about copyright and people like Aaron Swartz. Despite the last part, I still enjoyed writing this twessay and had a lot of fun doing it.

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For the second twessay I had to talk about how storytelling was evolving. I found this twessay easier to write in comparison to the first one as I was more interested and had more knowledge about  storytelling in the digital age in comparison to open access. In my twesasy I talked about how stories are being told to a broader audience due to being digitalised. I said this in my twessay because potentially millions of people’s stories can be heard online throughout social media such as facebook or youtube as those websites command such a large audience. In my critical response I talked about this in more detail and how much storytelling has evolved from print media. Looking back, I was quite satisified with this twessay and felt it did the assignment justice.

To conclude, I really enjoyed completing the twessays last year. I really thought they were a cool and interesting concept for an assesment. Also, I hope I will be fortunate enough to have to do  twessays as a part of my assesment for DH2001 module – Concepts and Collaborations in Digital Humanities 2!!!!!!!

Au revoir 🙂

Senan

 

Textual Humanities

 

For my final First year digital tools and methods assignment I had to choose a publicly available text that I was interested in and analyse it using visualisation tools. The publicly available text that I used for this assignment was Shakespeare’s  plays. I first encountered Shakespeare’s plays throughout my time in Secondary school. Whilst I studied Romeo and Juliet and Othello in great detail for my state examinations, I also gained a brief insight into other Shakespeare plays such Hamlet and King Lear. I chose to analyse Shakespeare’s plays as the visualisation tool that I used for this was Voyant 2.0.

 

Voyant Tools is a web-based text reading and analysis environment. It is designed to make it easy for you to work with your own text or collection of texts in a variety of formats, including plain text, HTML, XML, PDF, RTF, and MS Word. Voyant Tools is currently run by Stéfan Sinclair from McGill University and Geoffrey Rockwell from the University of Alberta.  (Voyant Tools Website)

Whilst I learned about several other different visualisation tools throughout my Digital Tools and Methodologies module such as Raw and Bookworm, I ultimately decided to analyses some Shakespearean plays with Voyant 2.0 due to the fact that the piece of text could be visualised in many different formats.

Since Shakespeare’s plays are quite a popular piece of publicly available text already on Voyant 2.0, I decided to use the Cirrus option in which words appear in a cloud shape on screen, with more prominent words appearing bigger in the cloud. I clicked on Othello in the document length section first because it was my favourite Shakespearean play. Words which appeared throughout the cloud include love and death. A person who might not have previously read Othello might be surprised  to find that these words are just some of the most mentioned but one has to understand that these words help build the foundation of the play. With love and death being constantly seen throughout the play due to the different relationships and countless demises of several key characters I can completely understand why they are so prominent on the cloud.

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The second feature I then used was called the knots feature. The knots feature is similar to a graph feature but instead of graphs it creates knots instead. For this feature I used five characters from Love’s Labour’s Lost. I had never heard of Love’s Labour’s Lost before or any of these characters for that matter. Ferdinand was the character which had the most amount of knots and I later discovered that he was the main character in the play. I found this feature to be very interesting as it was something that I had never really come across before and I could actually see the construction unfolding right in front of my eyes.

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I then moved onto the links and decided to switch from Othello to Hamlet. The links option shows a main word which appears in blue.  In the context of Hamlet ,it used the character of Reynaldo who worked as a servant to Polnius who was the chief councillor to the King. The link option also contains green words which are linked to the main blue word. The green words which were linked to Reynaldo included Polnius, good and lord which are all words which are very much associated with him.

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The very last format I used to analyse Shakespeare’s plays was the trends option. The trends option allowed me to use all of the Shakespearean texts on a line graph.  This was my favourite option to use as it provided a chronological frequency of all of Shakespeare’s plays. This made it easy for me to find out which years he wrote each of his plays and also provided me with information regarding the popularity of his plays such as the fact the Twelfth Night was his most searched trend which indicates that it might be his best one whilst A Midsummer’s Night Dream was the least searched trend which might indicate that it is his worst play.

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To conclude, I have found Voyant 2.0 to be an excellent visualisation tool. With it’s variety of different features it made visualising text data to be very easy and also quite interesting at the same time.  It has made me see the different patterns that have emerged throughout Shakespeare’s plays and it has also given me a more in depth understanding of which characters and themes that are more appealing towards people in general.

Hope ye all have a great summer 🙂

 

Senan

Bibliography

Sinclair, S. & Rockwell, G. (2016) Voyant Tools Help. Available at: http://voyant-tools.org/docs/#!/guide/trends [Accessed 12th April 2016]

OpenStreetMap

 

For this assignment I had to use OpenStreetMap for a community – engaged project to compile spatial data for public use and I chose to do a Humanitarian OpenStreet Map Tasking.  As a part of Humanitarian OpenStreet Map Tasking, I had to mark many different features such as roads, rivers, footpaths and buildings onto 3 tiles in a humanitarian place which hadn’t been mapped before and also validate a tile which someone else had previously contributed to.  As part of the assignment I mapped Task #13 Sentinel Asia Mini-Project: Vu Gia Thu Bon River Basin, Vietnam.

OpenStreetMap was originally founded by Steve Coast in the UK in 2004 (Sterling,2014). OpenStreetMap allows people to edit maps in by marking different features into the map. All the contributions that are made are saved on the website adn can be seen by other mappers who have the ability to validate your work. In OpenStreetMap when you validate someone’s work you review it to make sure that it is up to standard. Also, with OpenStreetMap data a user is free to download some or all of the map offline. This means that it’s possible to sue OpenStreetMap data to navigate without giving your location away to anyone at all (Wroclawski,2014)

I was quite apprehensive about trying out OpenStreetMap as I thought it was going to be rather difficult. However, when I began the assignment I found it to be quite enjoyable and surprisingly easy.  As a part of the OpenStreetMap process I set up an account and then chose to do Task #13 Sentinel Asia Mini-Project: Vu Gia Thu Bon River Basin, Vietnam. I then clicked on the contribute button and used the ID editor to insert all the different features into the tiles. I found the ID editor to be very useful as the user interface is quite similar to Google maps which a lot of people have had experience with, the aerial photography made it easy to see the features quite easily and it was very user friendly as well. For the three tiles that weren’t mapped I marked several different features such as houses, rivers, roads and pathways.

For this assignment I also validated a tile which was previously completed by a user called JeremyEX4. I found the validation process to be quite an interesting experience. Here I was quite new to the whole concept of mapping and I was inspecting the mapping of a person who I didn’t even know. However, after validating the mapping of JeremyEX4 I learned why validation is necessary for OpenStreetMap. Mapping a whole tile can take quite a bit of work and sometimes you can miss out mapping certain features which is what I felt happened with Jeremy EX4. From reviewing his tile I could tell that he put a lot of hard work and effort in mapping his tile and had several features in it as well but with my assistance I noticed that he missed out on marking one stream which following my review, I inserted and completed the validation. Validation is necessary in order to get map a tile to the best possible standard.  I felt that validation gave me more confidence in my mapping abilities and improved the mapping skills of JeremyEX4 by showing where he made an omission in the tile.

I believe that I will in the future  use OpenStreetMap for perhaps a research project as I feel that mapping has become one of the essential tools in Digital Humanities.  The usefulness of mapping  for research purposes was really brought home to me when last week when I attended a talk in University College Cork  given by a Digital Arts and Humanties PHD student named Penney Johnston. Her presentation  involved mapping the oral history of Cork’s  North Main Street. Whenever you clicked on an area in the street a person’s face would appear and they would tell their experience of  the street . One particular aspect of her talk that  stood out for me  was that she mentioned how whenever she thinks of place she would automatically thinks of space as well. What she said, I felt perfectly described the whole concept of mapping as there is so much space in each place. Mapping helps to identify the space by inserting the many different features into each place.  I would hope to work on a similar type project in the future.

To conclude, I have had an extremely enjoyable time using OpenStreetMap. I feel that I have learned quite a lot throughout this assignment and have grown in confidence as both as a mapper and Digital Humanitist. I definitely feel that I will be using OpenStreetMap soon and I would highly recommend that everyone should try it out.

A bientôt 🙂

 

Senan

 

Bibliography

Sterling, G. (2014) ‘Founder: OpenStreetMap Already As Good Or Better Than Google Maps’,Available at : http://searchengineland.com/founder-openstreetmap-good-better-google-maps-already-192089 [Accessed 8 March 2016]

Wroclawski,S. (2014) ‘Why the world needs OpenStreetMap’. Available at : http://www.theguardian.com/technology/2014/jan/14/why-the-world-needs-openstreetmap [Accessed 8 March 2016]

Google Docs Review

 

For this semester, I have started a new module called Digital Tools and Methods. As part of an assignment I have to review a Digital Tool and I have chosen to do my review on Google Docs! Google Docs was originally made available to Google Apps users in February 2007.  Google Docs is an online space on Google Drive where you can edit and share documents, spreadsheets, presentations, forms, drawings and tables. Google Docs documents can be public or private. They can also be shared with anyone that has a Google account, e-mailed, or downloaded in various formats, including conversations to PDF and other formats not identical to the original.  Google Docs brings the documents to life with smart editing and styling tools to help easily format texts and paragraphs and you can choose from hundreds of fonts, add links, images and drawings (Google docs website)

I first encountered Google docs back in November 2015 when I was placed in a group with four other people in my course to do a collaborative writing piece for another module – DH1003 (Introduction to Student Learning). As a part of the collaborative writing process we all had to complete individual writing pieces and upload them onto Google Drive and then to Google Docs to form one group edited text.  I was amazed at all the different features of Google Docs when I used it for the first time with my group such as how it corrected grammatical mistakes which my fellow classmates may have made, how it is always automatically saves so there was no need to worry about losing our work and how you can collaborate in real time and actually see it happen. The other people in my group also found Google Docs very beneficial as it allowed us all to work on the edited piece together even though we were all in different locations.  I also couldn’t believe the fact that it was for free!

For the purpose of this assignment I recently decided to go back to Google Docs  but as I had  more time  on this occasion I decided to do a more in depth exploration of it this time round and I couldn’t believe some of the other features on Google Docs I found  that I hadn’t noticed when initially used it  .  Firstly I was able to use it on any kind of device! The first time I used google docs  my group and I just used our laptops and didn’t use iPads or any other kind of technology but this time around I decided to try it  on my iPad and was amazed that I could still use all the same features. Secondly, it allowed me to download my Google Document into a wide variety of formats which I previously didn’t know about such as PDF and HTML. Thirdly, it had a voice to text built in! Instead of having to type every single word onto my document I just had to speak to the computer and it typed up every word I said. I found this to be quite fascinating and also a very time saving experience.  But perhaps my favourite feature has to be the add – ons which allowed me to post a document to my blog which is advantageous for my college work as I do a lot of blogging for my course.

Throughout its nine years of existence Google Docs has proven to be very popular throughout the world and more than ten million people had access to Google Docs through Google Drive in 2012 (Crook,2012). I feel it has become very popular throughout the years due to the many accessible features it has which help benefit further research development.  The fact that all of these features are completely free of charge makes it more appealing in comparison to other sites such as Microsoft Office where you have to pay to use their features. These different features are so unique and have given millions of people the opportunity to do conduct their work in an exciting and fresh way.

To conclude, I truly feel that Google Docs has got to be one of the best digital tools of this generation. It’s accessibility, simplicity and wide variety of features have given it a unique factor which has made it stand out amongst other digital tools. It also doesn’t really have any flaws in my opinion which makes it a perfect example of a digital tool. I certainly feel that Google Docs will keep developing in the near future and will go down in history as one of the best digital tools of all time.

Best Wishes 🙂

Senan

Bibliography

Google Docs, Available at : https://www.google.com/docs/about/ [Accessed 8 February 2016)

Crook, J. (2012) ‘ Google Drive Now has 10 Million Users: Available on Ios and Chrome OS’ Available at : http://techcrunch.com/2012/06/28/google-drive-now-has-10-million-users-available-on-ios-and-chrome-os-offline-editing-in-docs/ [Accessed 8 February 2016)

Digital Tools and Methodologies

Hey Guys! Just letting ye all know that For Semester 2 I have started a new Digital Humanities module called Digital Tools and Methodologies. For this module I have a new lecturer called Shawn Day. For the past 4 weeks I have been learning some very interesting topics in this module such as the Google Cultural Institute and Right Relevance. Can’t wait to tell ye all about Digital Tools and Methodologies in my latest blog posts!

Adios 🙂

Senan

Selfies!!!!!

One of my favourite things in the whole wide world has to be taking Selfies! As you can tell from all the pictures above I’m mad for taking them. Whilst selfie taking is a recent enough trend which has only come to light within the past two or three years it is arguably one of the most popular ones of this generation.

For that small percentage of people who might be aware of this latest phenomenon. A selfie is basically when you take a picture of yourself normally on a mobile phone. In a unique way it is like a self- portrait but one you feature in and take yourself! Usually most people then upload this selfie on social media sites such as Facebook or Twitter or in my case a WordPress blog. You can take them on your own or with other people such as friends, family or even random strangers! It is even possible now to take a massive group selfie of up to 20 or 30 people due to the invention of Selfie sticks where you can place your phone on a stick and raise it up in the air to capture a picture of the whole group!

Also for those of you who are wondering why I and others of my generation love selfies so much, the reason is that they are a lot fun! I find that there is nothing better than having a laugh and letting loose in your selfie. For those brief seconds when you are in the process of taking the selfie you don’t have a care in the world and just enjoying the moment while taking the picture. I feel that you can also have a lot of fun by exploring your creative side by trying out all the different poses when you are taking your selfie. It’s also great way of letting people that you show the picture to or your social media followers that you are having a laugh when you are out with your friends or on a new adventure!

Another reason why I feel selfies are so popular is that they capture the moment. For example, if you see a selfie you took with your sibling and see a monument such as the Eiffel Tower in the background you will always remember that time you went with your family to Paris or if you are pictured in a selfie wearing a ridiculous item of clothing with your friends you will always look back at that selfie with fond memories. Also when people see your selfies on social media sites they will know what you have been up when the selfie was taken and will remember what you were doing during that particular time.

To conclude, I feel that selfies have to be the defying trend of this generation. In years to come our generation will always be associated with taking them and uploading them on to social media sites. I certainly enjoy everything that selfies have to offer and have no doubt that when we are all old and retired we shall still be taking selfies!

Merci Beaucoup 🙂
Senan

Technology in Education

Throughout recent decades information technology has rapidly evolved and developed but it’s only in recent years that technology has well and truly been introduced into classrooms. Personally I feel that it has to be one of the most positive things to ever happen in this generation of learning.

One of the main reasons why I feel technology has been so beneficial in education is that it has made learning more attractive and enjoyable. According to an article titled ‘’ Great Benefits of Technology in Education’’ technology engages children more easily in the learning process “when the instructor uses white board or touch screen technology in order to make classes more interactive and interesting… it’s easy to attract the kid’s attention.” (Smith,2013). This can be hugely beneficial for a child’s learning as I remember when I was younger that when the teacher read several pages from a big book I would often loose interest and would therefore not grasp all of what I was expected to learn. However, in 2009 when my primary school introduced interactive whiteboards I remember for the first time in my life properly engaging in my learning as I was captivated by the use of these new boards and I attended in class much better. The use of information technology in the educational process makes education more enjoyable both for the learner but also for the instructor.

Technology in education appeals to all types of learners. Some people are visual learners and they learn best from what they see rather from what they hear. Thanks to the power of technology their method of learning is well met through the use of IT in education. Assessment of concepts taught is possible through the use of IT and key skills can be reinforced.

The use of IT for children with special educational needs ensures that technology assists them in their learning. They may need assistive technology to support their communication, interaction, or general participation within the classroom. For example, a non-verbal child may use a portable device to generate electronic speech, or a child with visual impairment may find magnifying software or screen reader software beneficial in improving their learning experience and in developing their general literacy skills.

The fact that many of these students have access to laptops and I- pads which are extremely portable means that those with physical difficulties no longer have to struggle carrying heavy books as almost all texts are now available in E– book format or on line.

Technology in education makes learning instantly available. Students now have more instant access to resources and information through the web and through E-books than in previous years where information could only be accessed from whatever hard books were available in the students own school, home or local library.

To conclude, as technology continues to evolve so too will the ways we learn. But there is no doubt that technology has well and truly benefited people in their education in ways which were never possible before.

Auchente 🙂

Senan

Bibliography

-Smith,P.(2013),’Great Benefits of Technology in Education’, URL : http://edtechreview.in/news/705-benefits-of-technology-in-education Accessed on the 3rd of December