Platforms and projects

This post is mostly speculative, since I didn’t try out most of the platforms presented today. And I’m only just starting to learn the one platform I tried, Omeka.

1. Omeka appeals to me as a pedagogical tool because it seems simple to understand and use, and offers a great format for student projects with the “Exhibit” plug-in. I am considering using it in a Fall seminar, where each student would create her own website on a research topic in lieu of a research paper. The students will still have to do research and formulate an argument, but in a different form from a term paper.

I am not sure how to use Omeka for my own research projects so far. My projects (the one on Brazilian modernism described in earlier posts, and two other research projects on architecture and urbanism) are not really about collections of discrete objects, but rather about sites and buildings that are inseparable from their urban locations and larger socio-spatial contexts. I can’t quite picture separating them as “items” and individual files with labels and metadata. Although I could use this format to tell a story about my projects, I don’t think this would take full advantage of their spatiality. But then again, there is a map plug-in in premium Omeka, so perhaps that would open up possibilities that I can’t envision yet. I’m thinking of the site on Visualizing NYC that Kimon showed us today–I think that was Omeka, and it had a very cool map. BUT: Kimon mentioned that they used a custom Java script for the map (which I don’t know how to do).

2. Prezi

Prezi seems great for organizing class materials for students. I didn’t try it out, but Kimon’s timeline was an amazing way of displaying information. I’d seen Prezi presentations before and I didn’t particularly like them, but today I changed my mind.

3. Drupal Gardens

I didn’t try it out, so I don’t have a sense of what it looks like or how it would work. It was described as very flexible, and based on a node structure–all of this seems appropriate for my projects, where I envision a map as the center of information and interactivity. As in: a page taken up mostly by a high-definition map with links to book passages and historical photographs placed on specific locations. From these links someone would open up new pages, which could be texts or images; and there could also be a reverse-lookup from the texts to the maps. It all sounds very abstract, I might try to sketch this out later.

4. Scalar

I must confess I don’t quite have an idea of Scalar compared to the other platforms (maybe I was in the restroom when it was explained in class?).

5. WordPress

I like the ease of use. It is appealing as a teaching tool for this reason. I also like it as a way of developing my thoughts and recording my work process, just as we are doing with the homework assignments. I wish it were a little more flexible in terms of its calendar/blog structure.


Source: Platforms and projects