Session Organizers: Sudhamadhuri Arvapally, Jessica DeSpain, Matt Johnson, Sharon Locke, & Mallory Maves
This presentation will share work underway with Digital East St. Louis, a project funded by a National Science Foundation Innovative Technology Experiences for Students and Teachers grant. Housed at Southern Illinois University Edwardsville, the project is a collaboration between the Science Technology and Math Center, the Interdisciplinary Research and Scholarship Center (SIUE’s digital humanities Center), and the East St. Louis Community. In addition to sharing information about the project, we’ll also give session attendees the chance to interact with and comment upon student work.
Faculty in English and History who specialize in the digital humanities work alongside middle school teachers in the East St. Louis school district to develop a comprehensive three-year summer and after-school program for a group of middle school students. The research component of Digital East St. Louis is assessing how a digital humanities, place-based approach inspires student interest in the computer sciences. Over the three-year program, which launched in the summer of 2015, students will build a comprehensive database and a content-rich digital map showcasing their research into the history and culture of the city and its inhabitants.
One of the project’s primary goals is to encourage students to think across disciplines about ecology, geography, the lived environment, history, literature, and culture. Students will use skills central to information technology and information literacy to draw linkages between these topics, which will expand their critical thinking abilities and encourage them to see technology as a tool for exploring and visualizing broader questions. The project plans to train students in photography as they learn about East St. Louis architecture, learn about video production as they conduct oral history interviews with East St. Louis residents, and develop skills in research and metadata as they develop their own research interests for the project. This presentation will highlight the projects’ progress and discuss how to develop successful collaborations between the fields of STEM and the digital humanities in informal K-12 learning environments.