I just went to a very interesting panel here at the Computers & Writing conference. The title was "e-Racing Social Conditions: Technology and the (Dis)Appearance of Race and Ableness," and the presenters were from the University of Arizona: Ryan Moeller, Ken McAllister, Tracy Morse, and Sung Ohm. What made it great was the interactivity...they each talked for ten minutes and then put two prompts up on the screen having to do with each presentation. We, the audience, wrote for one minute in response to the prompts, and then we had a discussion about the questions.
Ken McAllister talked about how race and ableness are represented in computer gaming, and his questions were:
- What do computer games teach players about race and ability?
- How can we use computer games to teach students about race and ability?
Tracy Morse talked about her observation of classes consisting of hearing and deaf students. Some students had cochlear implants and used speech recognition technology in the classroom, and others had sign-language interpreters. She said that as more deaf children are mainstreamed in school systems (and 70% of deaf children are), we're going to see more classrooms of hearing and deaf students and as teachers, we need to meet the needs of all our students. Her questions were:
- What does technology do to students?
- What demands does technology make of writing teachers and students?
Sung Ohm's presentation was about racist representations of African American Vernacular English (AAVE). His questions were:
- How do these representations of the Ebonics controversy work to maintain racial ideologies?
- What does AAVE mean to composition teachers, especially with its emphasis on standardized English?
Ryan Moeller presented on techno-racial instrumentalism: in other words, how is the issue of race dealt with online? His questions were:
- How does techno-racial instrumentalism play out in the computer-aided classroom?
- As writing teachers, what activities can we employ that would help our students question the roles afforded identity by technology?
A great discussion followed...but it's time for dinner, so I must go! I'll write more about this later.