Professor Tara Keenan Trains English Teachers in Digital Humanities

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Professor Tara Keenan

Professor Tara Keenan

On November 17-18th, Professor Tara Keenan led a workshop at the national TESOL Italy conference entitled, “Teaching for Innovation.” At the event, Keenan challenged secondary school English teachers to view students’ smartphones as an ally to conducting in-class research in the digital humanities. Keenan organized teachers into groups of five and had them articulate a list of common literary themes. Then the groups had to select a piece of literature that spoke to them. Once they established the literary anchor for the project, Keenan worked with groups to help them conduct research on their phones to find an archive, photo gallery, documentary, museum exhibit, website, etc., that would connect to the specified theme and the work of literature. Keenan then applied the jigsaw cooperative learning method to allow the groups to share their knowledge with other groups. Finally, she shared her own research connecting these themes to digital humanities portals throughout the world.

The workshop was received enthusiastically by the teachers who shared that they were looking forward to introducing digital humanities and research skills into their classes.