Reviewing CW2K: A8 New Literacies for the Digital Age
Although this session was a collection of 4 linear papers, it provided a number of essential insights into the ways computers affect our notions of literacy. All of the presenters work at Georgia Southern University. It seems that there is an exciting progression there towards electrifying instruction and the presenters were clearly their institution's pioneers. At times, the institutional cross winds seemed to make for rough flying through some of the ideas presented, but the flight was well worthwhile.
Angela Crow began with "Aging Literacies: Image and Identity Reconstruction" and did a fine job of weaving concepts of how we bring our histories to literacy acquisition. Research about age and online living is necessary and Crow's work will clearly enrich the field. Next, Michael Pemberton presented "If It's Not My Father's Oldsmobile, Can I Still Call It a Car?: Technology, Literacy, and Transformation in the Writing Center." Pemberton discussed the hazards of creating online tutoring and stressed the need to make one-on-one online instruction compatible with local pedagogy. A difficulty being faced by Pemberton was described as a throwback to the 50s since correctness seemed to be valued more than meaning. Janice Walker's "Literacy, Technology, and Change: The Fiddler on the Roof" really helped put the problems at Georgia Southern University into a larger field context. She may have said one of the wisest things expressed in the conference when Walker remarked that "Computers, even in their absence, are already ubiquitous in our classrooms." Lori Amy concluded the session by presenting "Shape-Shifting in the Electronic Contact-Zone: New Cultural Literacies for the Digital Age." Her presentation was rushed by too much concern for her lack of time, and not as easy to follow as the others in the session. However, her concerns for the dynamics of discourse communities and classes were significant and useful.
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