Self Introduction

My name is Xiao which means smile in Chinese.  Currently I am a PhD candidate of Southern Illinois University completing my dissertation on the first Chinese woman who obtained a college degree in the U.S. Before enrolling in the PhD program, I was a TV journalist on the international news.

Thanks to the experience, I have video editing skills. My other digital skills are from the courses I had with George Mason University’s digital public humanities program. I did text-mining, mapping, visualization and Omeka.

Here are two term projects I did, this one maps the early Chinese immigration routes to the U.S. by excavating the information in the Chinese Exclusion files:

The next one is digital project demonstrating the Chinese immigration history in the U.S.:

These two projects not only gave me great opportunities to practice what I learned but also stimulated me to gain other skills to improve the quality of them. For example, during the time I did the project on the Chinese immigration history with Omeka, I learned basic source coding to change the outlook of many places in the website.

I have great interest in using these digital tools to enhance my history research and teaching.  The mapping of early Chinese immigration to the U.S. had an unexpected result: it showed that most of the Chinese under Chinese Exclusion period did not settle in California but on the East coast. This was surprising because it was usually assumed California was the state that held the most Asian population. This was not true, according to the map. This story is an interesting reminder that the digital tools can help a researcher have new findings by revisiting data. I hope that more knowledge of digital tools would make my research easier and more interesting.

My interest in digital tools as a history teacher lies in teaching the students to use these tools for their research or for their presentation of a project.  This Teaching and Learning History in Digital Age course comes at good time because I am scheduled to teach digital history next semester. I can’t wait to share these cool digital tools with the students. But I also look forward to apply some digital history knowledge to other courses I will teach in the future. So, I have great interest in this summer course because I expect to gain some great ideas or inspiration from it. This is also the principal learning goal of mine.

As a Ph.D of history, I will probably teach and research in a higher education institute. Living in a digital age, I think it requires a history researcher and teacher to have more skills than before when history was only about archives, reading and writing. This change is provides great opportunities as well as challenges to the history professionals. To have command of some digital tools will enhance my professional portfolio, making me a more competitive researcher and teacher. This course of teaching and learning history in digital age is a perfect place where I can try to combine the digital tools I learned before with the pedagogy and see how to apply them in classroom. Currently I can only think of teaching digital  history. I hope to learn how to apply digital tools in other history courses.

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