"UnGoogleable"/Disappearing from the Web (not)

Jill has a useful post that has some good discussion and a couple of good links about trying to “disconnect” from the Web. Sorta.

  • First, there’s this Wired News article, ”UnGoogleables’ Hide From Search.” I think the headline makes it pretty clear what this is about; the Wired News article also has some very good links to previous Google-oriented articles, which makes me think that Google and its ilk might be a prominent topic of discussion in one or more of my classes in the Winter term.
  • The second link is to Michael Joyce’s web page, where he announces “Michael Joyce is no longer maintaining a public web presence.” Of course, he goes on to provide a bunch of links and even a CV that includes an email address, an office address, and an office phone number. In other words, Joyce’s “lack” of a web presence is significantly greater than the eb presence of most of my colleagues.

Personally, I am at a state in my career/life where I very much want people to find me via a Google search. I don’t see what the problem is. I do understand the privacy issues and I agree that there are some things about me that I don’t want to be out there for one and all to see, but go ahead and read my blogs, look at my class pages, etc.

Did you miss me? (A round-up of what I have clearly missed….)

We’re back in town after a family trip out west (which was a lot of fun). I’m actually only going to be here a couple of days before leaving again, but it’s nice to be home just for a bit, awake from sleeping in my own bed, and sitting here and drinking my own coffee at my own desk.

Anyway, here’s kind of a round-up post of some of the things that I have appeared to have missed:

  • There’s a “textual carnival” reading of Richard Fulkerson’s “Composition at the Turn of the Twenty-First Century,” from the June 2005 (56.4) issue of College Composition and Communication. My guess is that my copy of the CCCs is in the held mail that won’t arrive here until tomorrow at the earliest. Oh well, I’ll catch up on that one later. I’ll link here to Clancy’s entry on this, but Collin, Jenny, Derek and probably others have posted on this bit as well.
  • There was an article published on the Inside Higher Ed site called “Collegiality — the Tenure Track’s Pandora’s Box” by Mary McKinney. McKinney– who isn’t a tenure-track academic herself (I don’t think) but a psychologist who “coaches” people seeking tenure (?)– is basically suggesting that people seeking tenure ought to work hard at getting along with co-workers. Wow, shocking advice. Nowhere in the article does she point out that a) to get tenure, you should first and foremost do the work required by that particular institution because being the nicest person in the world who doesn’t do the work in terms of scholarship, teaching, and service will still not get tenure; b) the standards for tenure vary wildly, so the tenure-seeking faculty member should inquire about the local standards and not pay as much attention to the “lore” of things like “publish or perish;” c) the idea that one should “try to get along with your co-workers” merely reminds us that being a college faculty member is a lot like actually having a job; and, finally d) McKinney (and the many folks who comment on this) doesn’t mention the fact that (according to the AAUP, I think) something like 90% of folks who apply for tenure actually get it so you shouldn’t stress it too much.
  • I’ve gotten some good feedback from folks on my Chronicle article, which has been nice. The EMU PR folks reported my publication in a mass email to people and they described the CHE as an “international” publication. Well, I don’t know about that, but it’s nice to now that the PR people must obviously read CHE…. Oh, and thanks a bunch to Bob, who sent me a PDF version of my article, which I’ll post here for now and on that other entry later.
  • Jeff and Jenny have been doing a little urban pioneering in Detroit as of late.
  • The TV fan in me enjoyed this post and this post at Johndan’s blog.
  • Mike has a belated post about some of what he saw at the Computers and Writing Conference. He’s excused for being late, though; he’s been working on his dissertation….
  • Dr. B. seems frustrated about this gaming conference she went to. From what she reports, I would be too.

I’m sure there’s more, but that’s enough to go look at for the time-being. Besides, I have to get ready to go to the July 4 parade.

Remembering John Lovas

I’m shocked and saddened to hear that John passed away yesterday at the age of 65. There is a web space at DeAnza college to remember John, a “Festschrift.”

I feel like I knew him quite well as a colleague, and yet I met him in person only once at the Computers and Writing conference in Hawaii last year, and I probably only exchanged a dozen words with him then. This is how fellow bloggers are: we talk to each other through our typing.

John’s posts at “A Writing Teacher’s Blog” were a regular way for me to start my day. I found his writing engaging, inspiring, inviting, and, well, useful. John was a great source of advice and wisdom about the practicalities of teaching writing and it was so obvious that he loved what he did. It’s fitting somehow that the last post he made about a month ago was titled “Beginnings” and is about the challenge, as John wrote, of getting “the student to connect the banalites to real experiences, observations, or recollections. When that happens, there’s a real chance for a paper worth reading.”

I’ll miss John quite a bit and regret that I didn’t have a chance to speak with him more in person, but I’ll always remember our conversations in writing.

Was C&W that quiet?

I dunno, but I haven’t been able to learn a whole lot about what happened at the 2005 Computers and Writing Conference at Stanford.

I am sure I am missing something here, but this version of C&W seems awfully quiet to me. A lot of the bloggers that I regularly read aren’t there or aren’t reporting on the events. The electronic mailing list that is kind of the unofficial link to computers and writing folk, tech-rhet, has been silent. I think I’ll post an inquiry there in just a second….

So, what happened out there? Anything?

Okay, there’s a bunch of stuff on Bradley Bleck’s Blog (say that three times fast…)

So, who is at C&W?

Not me, I’m afraid. I already know I’m going to go to Texas Tech (well, I’m hoping/planning to go, at least), but alas, not to Stanford this year. So, out there in the blogosphere, who’s there?

  • It looks like Mike is….
  • Marcia is on her way…
  • I know Charlie is there because he’s doing a workshop I would have liked to have attended….
  • Okay, ah, anybody else? Anybody?

I’m sure there are more folks blogging this thing. Hopefully, they’ll make a link to some of these from the C&W Stanford homepage.

Hey! A presentation about me!

Well, no, not really.

But I received an email about the C&W Online Conference today about Collin Brooke’s presentation/essay/blog that’s part of the C&W Online format called “Weblogs as Deictic Systems” that suggested otherwise. Here’s a quote from the abstract:

Brooke writes that In his recent Kairos article “When Blogging Goes Bad,” Steven Krause suggests that the fit between weblogs and the writing classroom isn’t perhaps as seamless as we might wish it to be. His article recounts a “failed experiment” where weblogs failed to provide a “dynamic and interactive writing experience.” The presentation takes Krause’s article less as a “cautionary tale” and more as a challenge to understand where the friction between weblogs and the writing classroom is located.

To be honest, it’s flattering to be featured so prominently in an abstract like this, but that really isn’t what Collin’s piece is about, IMO. I think it’s a lot more complicated and interesting than that, and much more about some of the interesting dynamics of social networking. I really like this term “deixis” because it seems relevant to some things I’ve been thinking about in terms of the concept of “immediacy” as I think about it in my dissertation and as I’m thinking about trying to revisit in a different book project. And, perhaps more importantly (to me, at least), he talks about the ideas of “Centripetal/Centrifugal” forces and how that ultimately impacts the way that we write and interact with texts online.

Anyway, it’s an interesting and well-worth reading project. But it doesn’t really have much to do with me. I’m just happy that someone somewhere read my essay/blog in the first place….

Preschoolers online

Via a site called eSchool News comes this article, “More preschoolers going online.” Here are the leading paragraphs:

Before they can even read, nearly one out of every four children in preschool is learning a skill that even some adults have yet to master: using the internet. Some 23 percent of children in nursery school–kids ages 3, 4, or 5–have gone online, according to an Education Department (ED) report. By kindergarten, 32 percent have used the internet, typically under adult supervision.

The numbers underscore a trend in which the largest group of new users of the internet are kids ages 2 to 5. These figures have important implications for school systems, which must adjust their methods of instruction to accommodate an increasingly tech-savvy generation of new students, experts say.

I have some first-hand experience with this with my son, who is now 7, and his school. It probably isn’t surprising around our house, but Will has been on the computer since he was quite tiny, either in my lap or in his mother’s.

And last year, I did some volunteer work in Will’s first grade class, where they had a little mini “computer lab” of five or so older machines in the corner. I came in once a week for an hour or so and, when they were working with the computers, I helped the kids play some little educational games. This experience spoke to the opening paragraphs of this article in good and bad ways.

On the one hand, I was surprised that just about all of the kids had some basic computer literacy: most of them could effectively use the mouse, they understood the concept of clicking on links or other things on screen, and some of them could handle the menus for things like MS Word. That might not sound like much, but these kids were 6, and these are skills that, 10 or so years ago, many many college students didn’t possess. And I’m not just talking about the “rich white kids;” Will’s school is quite diverse in terms of race and the income level of the students, and the students from less privileged backgrounds handled the computers well, too.

On the other hand, computers and instructional technology had a tiny tiny role in Will’s first grade, and I think the same is true for his second grade. The teachers don’t know how to use what they have effectively, they equipment they have is pretty old, and the “educational experience” with the classroom computers seemed to me to be limited to educational “games” where the object of the game, at least from the point of view of these kids, is to click on stuff as fast as you can. I did a review last year of Todd Oppenhemier’s The Flickering Mind, a book that I found to be “problematic” at best, but I do agree with him (sort of) that integrating technology into teaching shouldn’t be a priority in elementary schools. At least under the current circumstances.

As the technology gets better and teachers have a better idea about what to do with them, that will change. But just because kids are used to computers and can play games with them doesn’t mean they necessarily know how to really “use” them, and it doesn’t mean that they are using/engaging in technology in meaningful ways.