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digital history blog for Jennifer Feldhaus

Reflection

Posted by jlfeldhaus on April 23rd, 2008

I chose the historical marker group because, for me, it was the project that had the clearest vision for a beginning, middle, and end. I knew right away what I was getting myself into, maybe not how much work I was going to have to do, but I knew at least what I would be doing. I do not regret my decision at all. I learned so much from this project, not only more about Fredericksburg than I ever cared to know, but how to present that information in a way that anyone could read it on the web and understand its significance.

Honestly, I did not meet all of the deadlines that our group contract specified as far as research, nor was I the only one. In the beginning, it was hard for all of us to judge exactly how long the research aspect of the project was going to take, and for my part, I did underestimate how much time it was going to take to get everything suitable to put onto the website. That being said, I did complete all of my research on the twelve markers assigned to me in enough time as to not effect the members of the group that were assigned to edit the contents and bibliographies of those pages. My late marker posts did not set back work that was to be completed by other members of the group.  Though I did not make every deadline, I made sure my group members were aware of why I did not make the deadline, and I also informed them when things were going to be posted.

Early on, we decided that myself and one other group member would handle more of the technology because we were more comfortable with that aspect. I started by making the image header for the website. Later, I formatted the text on the welcome page, added links to it, and broke parts of it into the separate ‘acknowledgments page’, and ‘other digital history projects’ pages to make it look less like a research paper and more like a website. I added, formatted, and organized the categories found on the left side bar and figured out how to make the search bar work for only our site contents. I also added links to the timeline and formatted the ‘About us’ page and edited the photo of us on that page.

As a group we did have problems with different work ethics and some group members did contribute more to the overall project than others. Other than that, I feel like the majority of us were good at communicating with each other. We had frequent email relays when there were problems or questions, and all of us were willing to have group meetings, sometimes once a week, in order to get things accomplished.

I’m extremely proud of our group as a whole and I think it turned out better than I ever expected. We put a lot of work into this project and I think that it really shows when anyone looks at our website.

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Done?

Posted by jlfeldhaus on April 21st, 2008

So I’m officially at the point where I just need to back away and let it go. If I don’t, I’ll be making changes to the site and my marker posts all night. I’m so proud of my group and our site.

By the way, I wish I could post our groups string of emails just from today. I think I have one thread that’s 9 or 10 emails long. I’m curious about how other groups are doing as far as finishing up for tomorrow.  Maybe I really don’t want to know.

It has been a very long semester.

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Marker: presentation outline for creativity day

Posted by jlfeldhaus on April 16th, 2008

Presentation

  1. Why our project is significant/what we’ve done with the markers (Amy-first 3, Whitney- last 2)
    1. What Digital history was about
    2. Our objective with this project
    3. Format- online presentation of the markers
    1. Only site/book that provides categorization and further research on each of the markers
    2. Provide those interested with more places to look for information
  1. What the markers actually are (who/what) (Elle)
    1. Picture
    2. explain who puts them up- Department of historic resources
  2. organization of our website (Shannon-first 4, Jennifer-last 3)
    1. navigation- organization of categories/tags/tag cloud
    2. links-who we are linking to and (pull up pages that link to us)
    3. show about us page
    4. timeline
    1. research- 70 markers, each of us researched form 10-15 markers
    2. photos- where we got them, some are common pictures found on websites, and some where actually taken by Amy and Elle. They went to several sites and took pictures.
    3. further reference- interested in finding out more about the subjects or anything related you can use these resources
  1. show marker pages/sample page (all)
    1. each person shows an example of their best page,
    2. explanation includes brief discussion of

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article discussion for tuesday

Posted by jlfeldhaus on April 7th, 2008

Blogging for your students by David Voelker

 a result, I have noticed that their comments are more thoughtful and substantial than they usually are in walled-off online discussions

I completely agree with this. I’ve used blackboard as a discussion board for classes before and it’s a completely different atmosphere. It’s hard to care about what you’re actually posting when only the other people in your class are going to read it. Especially because they care equally about the contents, which, in most cases, is not at all.

 On our website for historical markers we have a statistics bar that tells you how many unique visitors you have for the site. Our site has been up for only a week and we already have 200+ visitors. I think a lot harder about what I’m actually saying when I know people outside of the same 20 people that are in all of my classes are going to read it.

 The main point of this article is that blogging is good because enables us to better interact with each other. Interaction leads to better learning. It presents basic information for someone that has never blogged, or had their students blog before.

 James Farmer, founder of Edublogs, recently enjoined educators…

I can’t be the only on that was really distracted by that…

Doing History in the Digital Age by Barbara Weinstein

 The part where she was describing how she found a citation for a book using Google in 5 seconds for a friend reminds me of a few conversations I’ve had with my grandparents. They always seem to be in awe when it takes me 10 seconds to find map directions, or restaurant phone numbers, or store hours of operation. I always want to tell them that it really isn’t magic. Sometimes I show them, and they still think it’s weird that the computer can be used for more than playing endless games of Solitare and freecell.  I guess that’s the difference when you grow up attached to a computer.

I have never really stepped back and considered how much my work process has changed over the last two decades.

 This made me think about how my work process will change in the NEXT two decades…

 but it does have the potential to leave us all feeling overwhelmed by the sheer volume of what’s available out there.

It is really scary to think about how much stuff is really out there, it’s also very exciting. 

would mean that fewer readers would ever hold a particular issue in their hands and browse it in a way that would lead them to read articles beyond their most immediate interests

 That’s what random searches on wikipedia are for. On a more serious note, I don’t agree that reading articles online doesn’t allow you to broaden your interests.  I think I’m as likely to read an article from a journal that I don’t care about as I am to read an article on the internet that I don’t care about. Holding it in my hands doesn’t change that.  And sometimes you really have no clue what you’re looking for before you find it. This is when I’m more likely to read something that I wasn’t initially looking for, not when I have a clear idea about what I want.

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Google Developers Day US – Theorizing from Data

Posted by jlfeldhaus on March 24th, 2008

I was really impressed with the video “Google Developers Day US – Theorizing from Data” We’ve all had problems finding information with Google. Part of this is simply because the average person doesn’t know all of the techniques that were talked about towards the beginning of the video. I certainly didn’t, and I consider myself pretty comfortable with computers. While I found it helpful and I got the general gist of it, I also felt kind of dumb while watching it. I had to rewind a few parts because I was sitting there going “huh?”. I realized that there’s just so much that you don’t know about finding information.

Towards the end someone asked the question: How do you measure the difference between finding something and how satisfied people were with the results that they found. This is really interesting to me because it really is hard to measure, and if you can’t measure it how can you improve it?

“The main thing that we learned is that people only give feedback when they’re upset”

I laughed at this because it’s so true.

Posted in Digital History, Uncategorized | Comments Off on Google Developers Day US – Theorizing from Data

wikipedia history pages

Posted by jlfeldhaus on February 18th, 2008

I have to write a couple of lessons that deal with Jamestown and the Powhatan Indians for an elementary education class I’m taking. So I figured some related wikipedia pages would be fun to look through. for this post.

The page on the history of Virginia is actually pretty good as far as I can tell. It’s very detailed and sites specific sources. Under the discussion tab, I like idea of being able to rate the pages and discuss what could be added. There were only a few things under the discussion tab for the history of Virginia page. Most changes people wanted to see were pretty minor. The page on the Powhatan people is also fairly good.

Wikipedia is useful for things like finding initial sources, or learning a little about a topic before diving into it. It’s just important to remember that it is put together by people that aren’t necessarily scholars on the subject. As long as you look at it critically, I really don’t see a huge problem with it. ♥

Posted in Digital History, Uncategorized | Comments Off on wikipedia history pages

this one might be interesting…

Posted by jlfeldhaus on January 30th, 2008

I’m in the historical markers project, and we’re interested in making an interactive map type thing. This tool might be interesting: http://www.pushpin.com/index.html It appears to let you create a map, and put markers on it, though there may be some cost involved. (I may add to this post, since I realized that it probably isn’t due till Sat.) ♥

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my experience w/ some of the tools discussed on Tues.

Posted by jlfeldhaus on January 30th, 2008

I use most of the tools that were presented to us in class on Tuesday. There was some discussion of file conversion sites like zamzar.com, and I just want to add that zamzar.com takes a really long time to download files, and sometimes they stop and you have to start them again. I’ve had some luck with converting audio files, but it’s not so great for video files.

It’s really obvious once you get on these sites, but for anyone that doesn’t know, most of these conversion sites give you a taste of the service for free, then prod you into buying the full membership with the added benefits, like faster download speeds and no ads etc. There are a ton of these sites, with some that are obviously better than others.

One that I use all the time is called media convert I use it a lot for converting youtube videos to ipod format, both through video (mp4) and audio (mp3).

I have used flickr.com before, but for uploading my own pictures/files I use photobucket.com, mostly just because of personal preference. Just like the conversion sites, there are a ton of these as well.

I guess as far as tools, I would love to learn more about making mash-up movies, or maybe find other sites that aren’t as restrictive as the propaganda movie making site he showed us. I haven’t really ever played around with any movie making sites or programs. ♥

Posted in Digital History | 2 Comments »

creative use of tools

Posted by jlfeldhaus on January 27th, 2008

So apparently I already fail at doing these things on time.

I love using del.icio.us as sort of a search engine. If you use a common tag that everyone else has, you can search through everyone else’s bookmarks and see what is popular. This is useful because the popular tags often are what everyone else has found most relevant or useful. So, really you’re using other people as a sort of filtering search engine.

You can combine a popular tag on del.icio.us with an RSS feed to get a quick update of what other people are bookmarking. I’ve used this a couple of times.

I’ve never used google docs before, but it’s turning out to be a good tool for our project on Historical Markers. We set up a doc to get all of our categories organized for the different markers. Everyone in the group can edit the document and see what everyone else is contributing without having to email each other back and forth. I can see how google docs may be an important resource for me as a future teacher.

Posted in Digital History | 2 Comments »

some random thoughts

Posted by jlfeldhaus on January 20th, 2008

Wow, I’m impressed that some people have more than 2 blog posts already (I guess I can include myself in there as well).

And also, am I the only one that find RSS feeds a little creepy? Yes, they are very useful, and I am setting mine up to read other sites, but for blogs in general, the idea that people can see what I’m doing, and when I’m doing it, down to the second, kinda creeps me out a little.

Just a thought. ♥

Posted in Uncategorized | 5 Comments »

 
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