Computer Science Education

You Probably Haven’t Heard of Distant Reading, So Let’s Fix That

Distance from the text, not necessarily the reader.

I was elated to read EdSurge’s write up of an English teacher in Massachusetts who teaches distant reading to high schoolers. But what is it? Take a look:

What is “distant reading”? It’s when a large body of literary texts are analyzed using some sort of algorithm (it can also involve data visualization). The name is in opposition to “close reading,” where generally, one text, or narrow passages of that text, are acutely pored over. But scholars can employ a bit of both in any given project, and can apply the tools of distant reading to one work of literature, says Mark Marino, the director of communication at the Electronic Literature Organization, a group that focuses on the writing, reading and publishing of literature in the digital age.

My hope is that programming becomes a fundamental tool for English teachers to use in their classrooms, that it helps expose students to critical and creative ways our computational languages can complement our humanistic ones.

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