Digital Humanities, DH, for short is a whole new way of looking at the world. It’s how we will get to the next dimensional level. Whatever that may be or may hold. In this first week I have read a few articles and watched some videos in relation to what DH is. By far the most interesting of these this particular week for me was Ken Robinson’s Ted talk on changing education paradigms.
Education is the most important factor and will be the catalyst for change in the years ahead. Will we continue to teach children the alphanumeric system or will we upgrade this also to coding and binary?
Children need to be equipped for the world that lies ahead of THEM not us. The easiest route to equip adults to teach the younger generation, that is, for the world of arts and humanities to encompass all things digital. The old world is quickly becoming obsolete, we are becoming far removed from the time of Enlightenment in exchange for an Age of Information. There are different types of information, the world over, but it usually boils down to: is this useful to me or not? This is the issue that many school going children have with the education system- they cannot see a time when they will find a use for complex mathematics and such.
However, if you exchange seemingly irrelevant maths for relevant maths e.g. coding etc. children may start to make sense of the world around them as a result. Sometimes we may forget at our peril how children today may have the same ability and capability as adults, however, their literacy skills and such are probably lagging far behind due to less contact time. Now perhaps this may prove to be better in times ahead but right now I would say we will reach crisis point shortly when most people will rely on spellcheck as they have become overly reliant on text speak and such.
Divergent thinking holds the key as opposed to conventional thinking. Children today are growing up with IPads in one hand and IWatches are soon to be on the other. They watch 3-dimensional movies, videos are posted online of them doing everything imaginable, some are making more money than most adults such as cookery classes online. These children have serious potential. Some may argue that they are consumers whereas children from the 1980’s/90’s were producers. However, the world has come a long way in such a short space of time. Children today know the value of time and realise that they have no time to waste or spare unless they get something in return for it. They have become extremely demanding and this could be a good thing (not for the parents of course). This is what will drive us to the next level that hasn’t even been imagined yet.
The reason why we can’t define DH is because we cannot condense it down and quantify it in any way. We have not discovered many of the areas of study yet to be carried out and so we cannot categorise it. It is ever changing, the world we live in, and just when we believe we have something figured out we are surprised over and over again. DH reminds me of kinetic energy. It is dynamic in nature. Energy can only be created but never destroyed. However, business allows for the concept of creative destruction, a term coined by Schumpeter, whereby when something becomes obsolete it loses value and is replaced by something else. The digital is different in this regard. The possibilities and potential are endless. There need not be waste. With the right tools and know-how, and the freedom to explore and experiment, the world will become unrecognisable fifty years from now. And that is probably a good thing.