Sorry for the late post, I was working til almost 4am last night and woke up a little later than I planned. See you all in a few hours.
As a subject, philosophy has always been contextual. The seminal works of philosophy are perpetually situated in a time and a place, with a particular historical foundation, and those elements are essential for understanding the theories and postulations of a particular work. However, without a proper training in philosophy, it can be hard to keep a clear conception of context and history when reading and studying. Therefore, Atlastotle aims to create an interactive world map that can move through the different centuries and essential periods of philosophy, while allowing the user to scroll over different highlighted regions to view a list of seminal authors of said region at said time, while also linking to certain important texts and theories of each author. Incorporated into each author’s pop up will be a brief synopsis of the philosopher’s contributions and theories, as well as, a short list of historical connections to previous authors.
Phil O. Sophy – A second year college student who is focusing on his Bachelor’s in philosophy, Phil is extremely interested in the subject but has a hard time keeping up with the wealth of information available and isn’t sure where to start or where to continue in his studies.
Dr. Vitz – A professor in Modern Philosophy, Dr. Vitz attempts to teach the era of philosophy keeping a chronological and historical context to illustrate how each theory builds off another (either by adding to or critiquing particulars).
Existential Emily – A high school student who is trying to find her place. She got her hands on a copy of Thus Spoke Zarathustra and has a budding interest in Nietzsche but wants to learn more.
Phil stumbled upon this map online searching for philosophy and was able to obtain a good sense of the history of the subject and the context for particular disciplines. From here, Phil was able to find his favorite authors, discover others in that discipline and connect to authors involved in that conversation during that era. Dr. Vitz uses this tool as a reference resource to follow along the chronological and historical course so that his students can keep the era organized throughout the semester. Existential Emily searched Nietzsche and came across the map which took her through a journey as she is now exploring a degree in philosophy after high school.
Full Version and Time Expectations
The full version would use a mapping platform such as ArcGIS or CartoDB. These tools already have pop up abilities and some java included in the application, however, to customize this to my specific needs would require a lot of extra java. I would like to partner with an organization such as Stanford Encyclopedia of Philosophy to help manage the content.
Stripped Down Version and Time Expectations
A stripped down version of this tool would be one era of philosophy mapped without the links to other philosophers. This would get at the spirit of the project and allow people to see the importance this tool provides without the time it takes to organize an entire subject. This would also provide the experience needed to expand the map in a much quicker fashion, technically. I could accomplish this task in 4-6 months given the technical skills needed to complete the map.
Teachers can help each other in so many ways. With the connectivity of technology increasing, I propose a social media style site for teachers to share tips, teaching suggestions, and anecdotes. It could easily be organized into categories and tags by department, subjects, grade, and/or region. Teachers would sign up using school assigned email addresses and could connect with thousands of other teachers to collaborate and ultimately raise the bar in pedagogy. Threads and forums could be archived as a resource and added to at later dates. Based on an environmental scan, there are sites dedicated to teacher blogs and certain forum sites that involve teachers, but the usability is limited and none have succeeded in creating a significant community for teachers to use each others’ experience and knowledge across the world.
Adjunct Alan – As a recent PhD student, Alan is teaching his first courses. Although confident in his abilities and knowledge, he is inexperienced. He would benefit from understanding certain early tips for organization and structure.
Early Education Erin – Knowing she wanted to teach but not sure exactly what, young Erin hasn’t lead a room of young children by herself. There are others like her that could help.
Tenure Tim – Tim has been teaching for years and has all the tips and tools of the trade. He remembers starting out and wants to share his knowledge with up and coming academics.
DH Dan – Heavily influenced by the potential of digital technology on pedagogy and research, Dan wants to share his experiences and exciting new tools for relaying knowledge and creating excitement for learning.
Alan would benefit from a community of peers that can help him get over the hump of his first classes and feel comfortable with his skills. It’s tough teaching a group of kids and keeping their attention for an entire school day. Erin hasn’t been around kids too much but is passionate about early education. She’s connected with others like her and is now inundated with valuable resources and tips. Tim has done it all in his academic career and has been rewarded with tenure. Tim is very passionate about his studies and about his career and its benefits and wants to share his knowledge and experiences. This tool allows Tim to connect with young teachers and mentor and guide them directly and/or remotely through the tips he posts. Dan is excited about the opportunities he sees as inherent in digital technology and teaching/research. Dan uses this tool as a way to spread the word of new tools and techniques that allow digital technology to be utilized in the classroom. Dan also connects with others involved in DH to grow the community and learn more from his peers.
Full Version and Time Expectations
This tool could be set up using a WordPress/Commons in a Box set up. I am relatively new to both and I would need to learn how to utilize these tools to customize a site like this. Since CUNY Commons would be a model for the tool, I have several resources to tap into to learn how to build this. Outreach and marketing this tool to the academic community would be the difficulty in this project. The tool is not completely unique, however, none have been overly successful in creating a space to build a community of teachers and educators. Therefore, the interface and usability would need to be a major focus on the tool itself, making it easy to sign up, make a profile, connect with others and navigate communities and forums. This project would take time to put together and launch, but ultimately, the time would be in marketing and outreach and upkeep. As with the CUNY Commons, putting it up online wasn’t the hardest part, nor the most time consuming; it was more the subsequent releases and upkeep. Therefore, I would put a several year timetable on this project to its full potential.
Stripped Down Version and Time Expectations
The stripped down version would be the soft rollout of the tool, possibly to a select few schools or so to not only find the bugs and the usability problems, but also to build intrigue through a limited release. This soft rollout would still require building the site and learning the WordPress/Commons in a Box but would not yet include the subsequent releases and upkeep so I estimate the stripped down version would still be close to a year long project.