Technology and the Intersection of Science and Humanities: Supporting Innovation, Creativity and Hands-On Learning

Presented By: Veronica Armour, Danielle Mirliss

Keywords: Collaboration, Communities, Learning Spaces

Recent movements in education and technology are creating opportunities to develop new models to support innovation, creativity, and build communities. The explosion of interest in the Digital Humanities, STEM, maker movement and the design of learning spaces exposes an opportunity for collaboration with community groups and across disciplines. It also creates a unique overlap in pedagogy and tools that supports the interconnected needs of a learning community. This interactive presentation  will explore how technology intersects the common needs of science, humanities and learning space design to foster these initiatives.

Common themes to both DH and STEM initiatives include gaming, programming, design, making/tinkering, and above all, learning by doing. The commonality between DH and STEM lies in the collaborative nature of projects. Projects that may be found in both areas include wearable electronics (i.e, U. Victoria’s Flash Jewelry Kit); interactive fiction or simulation games; community oral history/digital narratives website; or using computers to contextualize and display humanities artifacts such as coins. Each project requires design, coding/programming, and interpretation of humanities based objects. At some point there may be DH or STEM practitioners that can do it all but the makerspace community promotes a culture of collaboration and sharing of skills that is mutually beneficial to DH and STEM rather than a strict individualism.

Challenges faced by institutions include:

• Identifying the tools that will support DH and STEM. For this presentation facilitators will focus on stations from their makerspace: Computers, Electronics, and

Textiles

• Supporting faculty and students in learning how to use these tools

• Providing a place for exploration

• Promoting research opportunities that encourage connections with community groups and collaboration across disciplines

• Sponsoring professional development in best practices in DH and STEM pedagogy

Envisioning a space for exploration and discourse does not fit the existing paradigm of the traditional computer lab. Such a space should be designed to allow individuals to work collaboratively, play, and construct using emerging, high-and low-tech tools. Guided and self directed learning should also take place in this space through tutorials and workshops.

The facilitators will present and engage participants in a discussion throughout the session regarding the support of DH and STEM tools on campus. The session will be bring your own device (BYOD) to take advantage of collaboration apps in which tools and resources can be shared. Resources such as readings, sample projects, syllabi, DH in NJ, and more will be compiled before the session and updated possession using Zotero.

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