After the initial digital humanities warm-up assignment using Google nGram Viewer, students used Wolfram Language to perform their analyses. Wolfram Language was the perfect environment: a high level programming language built around a powerful computational engine. Because entire methods in other languages were built into single-line commands in Wolfram Language, students with no programming experience could perform powerful analyses in very short time. What remained for us as teachers was to teach the skills of question formulation, problem decomposition, and argumentation.
We started students off by giving them some code that manipulates words, sentences, and paragraphs: Getting Started with Wolfram Language (.nb). At the end of this reference document is the first homework assignment that uses Wolfram Language. It is a largely imitative assignment from which students glean the syntax and mechanics of the programming language in the same way that we organically glean the syntax and mechanics of our spoken languages: exposure and imitation.
Once students were familiar with the Wolfram environment, we asked students to begin composing their prose writing in Mathematica notebooks. We developed a Style Guide (.nb) to make this transition easier.
In order for the class to work in Mathematica, the school supported a site license.
We have begun revising our supporting documents (those linked above) for next year, and will post them as they are available.
Go to Team.