In my experience as an educator, I have come to believe that our research abilities should enhance, rather than hinder, the honing of our pedagogical training. Because my research deals heavily with how technology affects storytelling, technology itself has become an essential tool in my classroom. Technology’s impact on today’s students is at the highest it has ever been, and this influence only continues to grow; our students are already completing the majority of their daily composition and reading through digital tools outside of class time. Therefore, it makes sense to utilize this familiarity in the classroom when possible, and teach students to view digital tools and data with the same critical lens that they would a work of literature.
As part of my interest in incorporating engaging digital tools into my classroom, I created Hack the Library, an alternate-reality game (ARG) designed to introduce and develop library research skills using the ARIS Platform. In addition to providing a demonstration of Hack the Library at the University of Louisiana’s 2017 THATCamp, I have also implemented Hack the Library into multiple courses, as I continue to build on and use the game to introduce my students to the resources available to them through the LSU library system. For more information on Hack the Library, see its site page by clicking here.
In my quest to learn better practices for incorporating digital tools into my composition and literary courses, I applied for and was accepted to the LSU Digital Scholarship Lab’s Digital Pedagogy Fellow program during the 2016-2017 school year. My position as a Digital Pedagogy Fellow allowed me to participate in numerous digital pedagogy workshops and hear about the successes of my fellow educators, while also receiving feedback on my own digital pedagogy-based lesson plans. The culmination of the program’s workshops resulted in a creative assignment for my ENGL 2123 course, “Videogames and Literature,” in which students were asked to adapt a work of literature into an interactive fiction game using the Twine software. The Digital Pedagogy Fellows program was essential for the successful implementation and outcome of the assignment, as the program presented me with valuable ideas for effectively scaffolding the assignment. For more information on the project, click here.
I am also a weekly participant in the #MinecraftEDU chat, a community of educators, students, and Minecraft players who discuss the incorporation of the video game Minecraft in the classroom. Participating in these weekly chats for the past two years has allowed me to speak with a variety of digital humanists who are actively practicing digital pedagogy, fostering a community of diverse educators.
Finally, in July 2018, I will join 21 other educators from around the U.S. for the NEH Institute, “Textual Data and Digital Texts in the Undergraduate Classroom.” According to the institute’s website, “This institute is designed for those who teach or support undergraduate text-based humanities courses and are interested in learning ways to implement digital tools and methods in their pedagogy. The institute welcomes professors, graduate students, library faculty and staff, and instructors.” I am looking forward to continuing my pedagogical training at the institute this summer.