Turning the Page: Teaching and Learning in the Digital Age

Though my last blog post was not too long ago, it pertained to the previous semester of my graduate certificate course. With this post, I am now entering my third semester. As such, here is a brief introduction to who I am!

My name is Kyle Pittman. I am Nez Perce and Yakama and was raised on the Puyallup Reservation in Tacoma, Washington. I am a former union carpenter’s apprentice and really began my undergraduate studies at Northwest Indian College. I then transferred to The Evergreen State College and earned a Bachelor of Arts degree with an emphasis on Native American & Indigenous Studies.

I also help moderate the largest online public history forum known as AskHistorians! So make sure to check that out.

I came into this course with very little digital skills. I have very, very basic skills with CSS that I’ve developed since Reddit uses CSS for appearance and style, but nothing amounting to actually saying I know it. I now have some experience with the digital tools often used for digital history work. My first project was an experiment using Voyant Tools to conduct text analysis of and my second project involved building a digital exhibit using the platform Omeka. I have also practiced with some other tools, but these two are the ones I feel most competent in. Both of these previous projects revolved around my primary academic interests: American Indian histories, federal Indian law and policy, and Indigenous research methodologies. I hope to continue learning about these tools and more as I move forward with the completion of this course.

However, knowing the utility of these tools is but one part of the overall equation needed to craft quality projects and digital scholarship. The other part is the theory behind the practice and knowing how to implement these tools in an effective manner to reach our audiences. My goals for this semester–which is about teaching and learning history in the digital age–involve learning how to do just this. I want to learn how to use these tools to improve my ability to teach others and to improve my own pedagogy to reflect the best practices of learning for myself and to teach others in our modern day. I have gotten a taste of this in the last semester where we focused on “doing” digital public history, but this was focused more toward the crafting and presenting of a digital project toward an audience. This semester, I anticipate focusing on how to better structure this information for instruction, understanding the context for myself, and underscoring the relevance of historical teaching today with a focus on incorporating the digital realm.

I am pursuing this graduate certificate and will be starting a graduate degree program in the fall with the goal of teaching in higher education and working for the benefit of American Indian Tribes. I will also being working as a Teaching Assistant come fall and I believe this course will go a long way in helping me to perform the duties associated with that position for the benefit of the students as much of the curriculum I will be assisting with is based in history.

And in case anyone was wondering… Here I am!

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Kyle

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