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Event Cycle 6: Monday, Oct 3 to Oct 5, 2004
Maryanne Burgos has prepared the synopsis for this event ...
Stuart Selbers book, Multiliteracies for a Digital Age was written to help teachers of writing and communication develop full-scale computer literacy programs that are both effective and professionally responsible (p. xi). According to Selber, one component of such a course would be critical literacy as can be seen in the chart below.
The Conceptual Landscape of a Computer Multiliteracies Program
|Computers as tools||Students as users of technology||Effective employment|
|Computers as cultural artifacts||Students as questioners of technology||Informed critique|
|Computers as hypertextual media||Students as producers of technology||Reflective praxis|
According to Selber, conventional [computer literacy] programs rarely dwell on social, political and economic contexts (p. 81). Selber, however, feels that computer literacy courses should allow students to recognize and then challenge the status quo regarding issues of the distribution of power within the realm of computer use. He holds that one ambition of teachers interested in critical approaches is to inculcate an emancipatory tenor into conventional educational practices. (p83).
By asking students to view the computer as an artifact instead of a tool, Selber hopes to direct their attention to the political, social and even psychological assumptions embodied in computers (p. 86). In order to guide students in their critique of the use of computers in university settings, he suggests viewing computers from 4 different perspectives or parameters.
From Selber (2004) p. 96: Parameters of a critical approach to computer literacy
|Parameters||Qualities of a critically
A critically literate student ...
|Design cultures||scrutinizes the dominant perspectives that shape computer design cultures and their artifacts|
|Use contexts||sees use contexts as an inseparable aspect of computers that helps to contextualize and constitute them.|
|Institutional forces||understands the institutional forces that shape computer use|
|Popular representations||scrutinizes representations of computers in the public imagination|
Although we participants in PP 107 may or may not be the audience of professors in departments of English and Communication that Selber is referring to, his ideas regarding the social and political dimensions involved in computer use certainly affect us and our students. To guide our examination of the power issues involved in computer use we could use the categories that Selber sets up to reflect different types of power moves.. Perhaps we, as a group, could find some concrete examples of each type of power move either in own teaching environment or on the national or international level
Selbers Power Moves Associated with Technological Regularization (pp. 102-103)
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Last updated: October 7, 2005
©opyright 2004 by Vance Stevens