Important Stuff – THATCamp Texas 2011 The Humanities and Technology Camp Thu, 17 Jan 2013 22:39:09 +0000 en-US hourly 1 Please evaluate THATCamp Texas Tue, 19 Apr 2011 21:12:10 +0000

Amanda French here, THATCamp Coordinator. It sounds like THATCamp Texas went very well indeed — many thanks to everyone who contributed their time and talent to organizing and teaching, especially Lisa Spiro, Andrew Torget, and Anita Riley.

If you could, please take just a moment to evaluate THATCamp Texas. Note that there are only *two required fields*: which THATCamp you went to (Texas!) and a rating of how useful it was for you on a scale of 1 to 5. Answer those two questions alone, and we’ll evaluate you as “hooray.” ūüôā Answering the other questions is optional, but I’ll read the responses with interest and with an eye to improving upcoming THATCamps.

You can write me at with any questions or comments. Cheers, and thanks.

Text Mining Session from #ThatCampTX Sun, 17 Apr 2011 23:22:48 +0000

Dr. John Garrigus and I took both took notes on the Text Mining session, led by Andrew Torget and Caleb McDaniel during the final session timeslot at THATCamp Texas. Here is the link to the editable Google Doc that includes both mine and Dr. Garrigus’ notes. Feel free to add additional thoughts, hyperlinks to resources, etc.

Thanks again to Lisa, Andrew, and Anita for organizing an outstanding THATCamp!

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Dork Shorts Presenters Sat, 16 Apr 2011 20:54:59 +0000

Check out who presented what projects as part of THATCamp Texas’ Dork Shorts session.

Evaluate! Sat, 16 Apr 2011 16:49:28 +0000

After THATCamp Texas wraps us, please help us know what went well and what could have gone better by filling out a brief evaluation form.  Thanks!

THATCamp Texas Schedule Sat, 16 Apr 2011 15:54:23 +0000

Check out the THATCamp Texas schedule here.


THATCamp Texas on Twitter: #thatcamptx

Curriculum resources for Holocaust and Genocide education Sat, 16 Apr 2011 12:28:08 +0000

I’m interested in networking with folks who might help Holocaust Museum Houston reconfigure our existing Curriculum Trunk program into a more digitally oriented framework.

Dork Shorts! Thu, 14 Apr 2011 17:57:15 +0000

One of THATCamp’s signature events is Dork Shorts, where you get 2-3 minutes to give an “elevator speech” about your project. You can make fellow THATCampers (and those following along on Twitter) aware of your project and even find possible collaborators. We’ll probably start the Dork Shorts around 12:30 on Saturday, after everyone has had a chance to grab lunch.¬† Sign up now to nab one of the earliest slots!

Dork Shorts!

Since we don’t have a lot of time for the Dork Shorts, it’s best to keep things simple, but let one of the THATCamp Texas organizers know if you need to load up a PowerPoint on the PC in the Kyle Morrow Room or have any other needs. Please take care of this by 12:15 on Saturday.¬† Thanks!

BootCamp: Schedule and Locations Thu, 14 Apr 2011 16:49:51 +0000

If you’ve signed up for the first session of BootCamp, please arrive at the Digital Media Center (DMC in Herring 129) between 8:30 and 8:45 on Friday the 15th.¬† We’ll give you your name tag and direct you to the location of the workshop.¬† We’ll have coffee and fruit, but not a full breakfast. If your first BootCamp session starts later in the day, please drop by the DMC for your nametag.

Curious about where your BootCamp session will meet?  Print your own copy of the schedule.


Using GIS to Visualize Historical and Cultural Change Thu, 14 Apr 2011 16:14:40 +0000

I am interested in discussing how GIS mapping technology can help visualize cultural transformation in specific communities. Ideally, I would be able to show this change at the local and international border levels. My dissertation research compares the development of Mexican American transborder communities on the Texas-Mexico border with Franco American transborder communities on the Maine-Canada border. I focus on intermarriage and language practices at the turn of the twentieth century. I have some experience using GIS mapping technology in the classroom through creating interactive mapping activities (U.S. Southwest module of and in conjunction with service-learning projects. Most recently, I have used it to create maps to illustrate my research.


I am currently working with census data and hope to learn new ways of visualizing information from a variety of sources:

* I am using census data to track intermarriage based on nativity, how language practices changed over time, and gender differences in those practices. At this point, my maps reflect the locations of towns, the growth of railroads, and act as backdrops for pie charts.

* I would like to learn new ways to use GIS to visualize changes in language practices (who spoke French where and when) using census data, the distribution of French/Spanish language newspapers, photographs and/or distribution of public signage, and the impact of school language policies

* I would like to find new ways to visualize intermarriage practices, if possible.

* I am also intensely curious about possible ways to visualize migration and settlement patterns. On the international level, I would like to show changes in border crossing traffic in response to stricter immigration policies and border enforcement. This could include points where border crossing stations or international bridges appeared, and hopefully more. At the city level, I would like to see how the ethnic makeup of town neighborhoods and rural areas may have changed. I‚Äôve seen where later twentieth century census data can be mapped to a detailed local level. I‚Äôd like to do the same with data from the 1860s to 1930s ‚Äď and still hopefully be able to finish my dissertation before the turn of the next century.


These are some of my initial ideas and I am completely open to suggestions. I look forward to discussing your ideas and projects. Thank you.


Art, Hackers and Arduino Microcontrollers: DIY Fun and Discovery Tue, 05 Apr 2011 21:13:33 +0000

We still have a few spots available in the “Art, Hackers and Arduino Microcontrollers” BootCamp workshop, which promises to be one of the most fun, fascinating sessions of THATCamp Texas.¬† Curious about what’s involved?¬† Check out these recent Wired Magazine articles about the “DIY Revolution.”

The 21st Century Canon: Iconic Texts and the Internet Fri, 25 Mar 2011 21:40:10 +0000

Perhaps the best way to describe my session idea is to provide some detail information on my current project.  This project is an article that concerns lucidity in communication and derives from my advanced composition class.  It concerns the comparison of the internet as an iconic text with canonical (or iconic) literature from the twentieth century.  The article focuses on using the internet along with literary material to teach composition and rhetoric, particularly to help college students identify how icons are formed in contemporary western culture and how that formation imbues objects with meaning.  It begins with a discussion with students over iconography and ideas of physical space on the internet.  For example, how one displays his or her facebook or myspace page identifies images or styles that can actually be numerated as icons.  With myspace, one can enumerate what font (Helvetica, Times New Roman, etc…) is predominantly used and why.  Also, with the rise of twitter, subject matter creates new communities of people communicating together.  The internet basically establishes a democratization of icons at a certain level that previous media did not.  Finally, the utilitarian aspect of the internet as a form of individual communication drives western iconography away from a postmodern concept of detachment, freeing the student of the disengagement demanded of icons of postmodernism.  Keeping up with the technological advances in communication allows for a more cohesive community, especially when that community is marginalized.  Therefore, I would like to have a discussion session concerning how icons and memes over the internet can not only strengthen marginalized communities, but also propel those communities into popular culture.

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Engaging the public. Mon, 21 Mar 2011 22:59:56 +0000

Recently I attended the OAH conference in Houston. One of the sessions, “Texas Textbook Controversy” (which I live-tweeted:¬†!/search/txtxtbk) continually returned to the topic of engaging the public in what historians do.

For Example, here are three of the tweets I made that quoted @historianess:
.@historianess We need to engage the public in what we do, that the way we think about the past is constantly changing.#OAH2011 #TXTXTBK

.@historianess We don’t do a terribly good job of engaging the public.¬†#OAH2011 #TXTXTBK

.@historianess We as a profession…need to be a lot more open about what we do.¬†#OAH2011 #TXTXTBK

My idea for a session proposal would be to have an open dialogue about how we can use public-friendly digital technology – ie, twitter, tumblr, etc. to engage the public in what we do professionally. This could involve lots of different methods. Something that would coincide with the OAH session’s emphasis on interaction between higher education (historians specifically) and the elementary and secondary teachers might involve¬†integrating lesson plans (and educational standards) into a department’s current research projects and vice versa. Several museums and websites do a great job of this by presenting information for teachers to use in creating lessons, however, there is very little interaction taking place – and therefore – very little exchange of ideas or engagement with the public.
I admit that I only have a few ideas about implementing this. And, even fewer specific goals that would be considered measurable objectives. However, I think this is a worthwhile discussion to have, and that I, and others, could learn from the exchange.
A final thought: considering the challenges facing many departments with funding, I think we miss a great opportunity to gain public support for our profession (including missing an opportunity to encourage future scholars into our fields) by failing to engage the public. Considering the ease of many sites online, and considering that many of these sites are free, it appears a real waste for departments (and professionals) to not take advantage of them. While this may seem obvious to those of us that applied to THAT Camp (we are likely to be biased towards using digital means already), perhaps we can gain further insight from one another about how to engage the public and which methods are most advantageous.