Digital Activities Round Table

On October 5, the DWC held a round table on how to use computers in the classroom for inquiry and writing. Too much Facebook action in the class can mean not enough in class inquiry and writing. Lance Cummings talked about how we need to shift our perceptions of technology and writing to one of invention. Too often academic tools, like Niihka, are too focused on product and communication, and not necessarily on invention and experimentation. He demonstrated several activities he has used in class to help students engage more thoroughly with their own (and others’) writing, as well as using the technology to see their writing and ideas in different ways. For example, students can use Prezi or to see how their ideas can be arranged in different relationships. Also, computers are great ways to display student or group writing done in class.

Reid Wegner decided that “if you can’t beat them, join them.” (see Facebook Rhetorical Analysis). So he presented an exercise using Facebook itself. After reading some brief essays on ethos, identity, and Facebook, students can then rhetorically analyze different profiles (or even their own). One could also have students construct fake Facebook accounts for particular audiences, or even remediate one of their papers into a Facebook profile or page. This example demonstrates how computers can be a way for students to apply some of the skills and tools that we talk about in our composition courses.

Ryan Ireland presented a more inventional strategy that uses the online video app called Capture Me to extract snippets of YouTube movie clips and rearrange them in new ways. For example, in Sergei Eisenstein’s movie Battleship Potempkin, he clips together previously filmed footage, instead of filming entirely new scenes. Using the same technique, students can remix different scenes from movies to see what new elements they might see. This might also be an easy way to remix media for Inquiry Three in the new ENG 112 curriculum.

Stay tuned — Next week: Teaching Remediation

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