One challenge of any idea, is figuring out how to get those ideas out of your head, and into a format that presents that idea the best way possible. One of the biggest challenges I have faced is finding technology that helps me accomplish specifically what I hoped to accomplish, and finding ways to apply technologies I know how to use in ways that overall benefit my project. The way I have overcome (or started to overcome) these challenges is partially with the help of Courtney, Carrie, and Jill who recommended technologies to use, and ways of using technologies in ways that are beneficial to my project. Another way I am tackling these challenges is by finding technologies that almost do what I would like them to do, and seeing if and how I can twist and push this technology to work for my project. Essentially, to face my challenges I asked for help, and I am finding technologies that I can push to be useful for my work.
My project is applying digital tools to traditional learning styles of Balinese Gamelan. This of course lends itself to the question, “What tools?” and now I have an answer beyond “You know, uh virtual ones…”
The main tool I will be using, is actually the tool I am using right now, WordPress. I need to create a website to easily display the information I am gathering, as well as easily allow for the plug in of outside digital tools. WordPress fits the bill, it’s easy enough for someone who is not tech savvy to design an aesthetically pleasing website that accurately and cleanly displays the information and tools. WordPress makes plugging in outside tools very easy, which is perfect as I am using several.
H5P is another tool I am using in my project to create interactive tools and technologies to present information in a more compelling way. H5P with it’s ability to create interactive videos, and other tools for creating interactive content fits with my desire to create a more interactive learning experience for users of the finished site.
These tools combined create an easy to access, and easy to design website with several cohesive interactive elements which present information and data in a more interesting way that aligns with my use of digital tools applied to learning methods for Balinese Gamelan.
I did not expect a digital scholarship project to make me cry, but there I was, 7:30 on a Wednesday night wrapped in a blanket crying about a bear I had never met after I watched bear 71. Bear 71 is an interactive short film that uses real data from tracked wild animals in Alaska to tell the tale of one female bear and her interactions with people and society as it slowly infringes on her home. It creates an interactive map where the view can choose to follow the real travels of bear 71, or other wild animals in the area. The story of a bear and how the world around her is interesting as it is, but when combined with online and interesting tools to create an immersive world, the viewer is quickly drawn in.
This anecdote highlights what digital scholarship means to me. It’s the use of data and technology to take something and present it in a more engaging way. Articles and books have been the way of spreading information and ideas in the world of academia for almost as long as it has existed. Digital tools like test encoding, data visualization, interactive maps, timelines and more can present the same information in a way that puts control of it in the hands of the audience. A history of a given person could be written in a book or presented on an interactive timeline where the viewer can choose which events in a persons life they want to explore, and which they want to ignore.
These digital tools create an environment where information is constantly being presented in new ways, and these tools are pushed and expanded to be used in different ways. This creates an environment where sticking to traditionally accepted means of conveying information is no longer important, whats important is representing this information in a way that’s engaging and interesting.
I’m interested in the Digital Scholarship Student Research Fellowship because digital scholarship has the potential to become the mainstream way we carry out and present research. Many types of scholarship are developing in ways that rely heavily on digital tools, so knowing how to use these tools effectively would put me on the forefront in my chosen area of study, which combines music, media, and production. As I think about my future, I recognize that effectively combining traditional research methods with digital methods is key to staying on the cutting edge of innovative scholarly work.
The project area I’m interested in exploring is how music practice techniques are changing, and how technology might enhance these practice techniques further. The project I am creating is a website for the Bucknell gamelan ensemble that functions as an educational tool for members of the ensemble, and those interested in the ensemble. The Bucknell gamelan is a group of traditional Balinese instruments that are typically taught without the aid of notation, so having visual and auditory guides would support the traditional pedagogy, and an introduction to the instruments, music, and culture of Bali and Indonesia in general would allow new members to intergrate into the group more easily. Because the Bucknell gamelan has a minimum of 14 distinct parts, this is a large undertaking. Therefore, I aspire to have the website fully functioning for each instrument, but for one piece only in order to have a full completed project that is achievable in the time frame.
Abby is from North Kingstown, Rhode Island. She will graduate in May 2019 with a B.A. in Music with a concentration in Cultural and Critical Studies. Her work this summer is focused on online education, and other digital education tools for American students of Gamelan.
She plays in the Bucknell Symphonic Band, and the Bucknell Gamelan Ensemble, as well as a small gamelan ensemble, Saiban. Abby works for the Symphonic Band score library, and has a good dog, Murphy.