3.20 – 4Cs Conference Post

The Conference was a lot of fun. I have a begrudging like/love of Vegas having lived there. Flying in was a surreal experience — like finally getting home. Of course I didn’t live on (or even very near) the Strip when I was there — so there were still plenty of vacation-y elements to the trip. Beautiful, dry whether. A pool. Gambling on a terrific mechanical-horse-racetrack.

Anyhow, I’ve been trying to figure out what to say in terms of the conference AND Computers and Writing. Things that come to mind:

1) It was weird not to be ‘plugged in’ (no tweeting, no apps) — the hyper-social-networking experience is unnerving to me, but I still feel like I was probably missing something.

2) I agree with Chris about the panel in “Tweets” — the genre and structure of the panel were really disruptive to the content of the talks.

3) I sat in on a panel about ‘Spatial Rhetoric’ and for the rest of the weekend I kept thinking of the Strip as some giant multimodal text (a Wampum belt?) — with nodes and links and stories revealed through interpretation and memory and defined spaces that exclude and invite participation of various groups. And while I can probably make the argument that the Strip is a hypertext . . . I wonder whether or not I should. It seems like the impulse of the discipline to ever expand the meanings and uses of concepts and terms (thus Wampum belt becomes hypertext, and literary terms apply to all manner of visual / kinesthetic / audio representations). But is that useful? To a certain degree, it surely is–there are social justice reasons, reasons of metacognition. . . . Where are the bounds of that meaningfulness, though?

4) The panel that I liked the best on this topic was definitely Crystal’s. I liked the discussion of the potential applications of different audio/visual tools and productions in the classroom. For a brief moment, I thought that a really sweet idea would be to make a ‘documentary’ of my composition processes (layering /juxtaposing the process of, say, cooking, writing, maybe even, I don’t know, putting on make-up) to show the interconnections of those acts. But I’m trying to be more efficient with my time, and that has little to do with my first year exam. . . Bummer.  Maybe if I get really good at video composing (hehe), I will do it for kicks.

5) I feel like several people said to me that 4Cs wasn’t receptive enough to digital / multimodal pedagogy and theory. And that the stance of many scholars at Cs is one of tentative acceptance (or even skepticism). I guess I would have to admit (please don’t throw things at me!) that I am probably aligned with those ‘skeptics’ (though I would prefer the term ‘cautious optimists’). I want to use the technologies**; I want to know how they work — probably a lot of people feel that way. I think the Conference will come around.

**Okay, full-disclosure, I don’t really want to Tweet.

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