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This past semester (fall 2016), I had the pleasure of working with the Data Visualization research group at the Digital Writing and Research Lab at the University of Texas at Austin.

The most recent batch of lesson plans by the team can be found on our website here. Here is an excerpt from my lesson plan

“In writing and literature classes, we teach our students to gather evidence from close reading in order to support their arguments. In what ways could data visualization charts actually aid processes of reading? The visualization tool Voyant allows the user to track the relative appearance and context of specific words and phrases in a specific body of text, from a poem to an entire corpus. While digital tool analysis by no means replaces close reading, it can be useful for arguments that make sweeping claims. For example, say one wished to display how many times a specific motif appeared in a text. While one could manually “count” references across a novel or ouvre, or attempt to estimate relative occurrence, a text analysis tool like Voyant can more easily provide textual evidence necessary to support an essay’s claim, or, if the evidence proves the writer “wrong,” help the writer re-evaluate her argument accordingly.”

Read more.

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