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What Can You Do With a Humanities Ph.D., Anyway?

Victoria Blodgett, director of Graduate Career Services at Yale University, told me, “People who take their Ph.D.s into other realms are not necessarily being hired for their content expertise, but for their process skills: the ability to do excellent research, to write, to make cogent arguments.” These skills, it turns out, are in high demand. | So why are humanities Ph.D.s outside academia so invisible? One reason is that within…

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English teaching: Johnson: Talking past each other

When I got to college, I had already learned complex grammar fairly well thanks to 3 years of High School Latin. At the University of Toronto during grad school, I took a history of the English language course, which helped tremendously when I later took a medieval drama course. It was very clear during that language course that a good portion of my classmates were hearing much of the grammar…

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Dear Google: You Should Have Talked to Me First

Teacher Jen Marten responds to Google’s latest educational initiative: Do you know what Accelerated Reader and programs like it are doing to readers these days? I’ve heard of teachers being reprimanded for not leveling all their classroom books. I know of school libraries where children have to show the librarian a card with their reading level on it before they can check out books. I know of kids excited about…

Digital Storytelling
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Digital Storytelling: an Efficient and Engaging Learning Activity

A digital story is essentially any combination of a spoken narrative and a number of visuals, perhaps with a soundtrack – along with new technologies to edit and share the story. Although the concept of digital storytelling is closely linked to the use of new technology, we shouldn’t forget that it is always the story and not the technology that teachers should focus on. We should merge the digital skills…

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Stanford to offer new undergraduate majors integrating humanities, computer science

Training humanists who can code like a techie and engineers who can dream like a poet. Well played, Stanford! “We’re also seeing students who want to balance their academic passions with pragmatic considerations about their career development, and this kind of program addresses that need. The intellectual landscape is changing, and the workplace landscape is changing. We’re looking to help cultivate, and provide academic structure for, a new generation of…

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Justin Bieber and the Beatles: They both liked to rhyme the same words.

A good example of a computer-native, data-driven news feature, which Slate calls an “interactive.” Apparently using the adjective “interactive” as a noun is now a thing, according to Slate. While most artists draw from a common bank of rhymes and use the same rhymes frequently, there are some artists who appear to go out of the way to avoid common couplets or rhyming in general. Queen only used do/you as…

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Learn to code? No: Learn a real language

I don’t see learning to code as a substitute for learning another human language. True, computer programming is learning a “foreign language” in the sense that you are trying to map how you give instructions in your native tongue to how a digital recipient recognizes what you’re trying to say in its highly structured vocabulary and syntax. That’s great for honing logical thinking, accomplishing tasks and maybe even making a…

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The Real Reason Why You Can’t Write

Have you ever stopped to think about what you believe about yourself as a writer? Have you ever considered what you believe about the work you produce? Your beliefs run the show, usually subconsciously. And if they’re limiting or negative beliefs, they’ll stop that show dead in its tracks. You believe certain theories about why you suffer from wanting desperately to write but are unable to. Each writer has their…

Robots Are Coming for Our Poems

The robots are quickly and surely coming for our jobs, and we’ve comforted ourselves thus far with a palliative that goes something like this: They can’t do our creative work. They won’t do our journalism or make our art or write our poetry. Except that the startup Narrative Science has $6 million to execute its human-free reporting, I’ve seen firsthand an automated 3D printer artistically render the apocalypse, and now,…