Next week, one of Eli Review’s co-founders and Associate Provost for Teaching, Learning, and Technology at Michigan State University, Jeff Grabill, will give a keynote address at Computers and Writing 2016 during dinner Friday night. Jeff’s talk extends his cautionary tale about the role of automatization in writing instruction to critique the pedagogies that are baked into robots. He will explore how the current ed tech landscape for writing technologies came to be. Jeff will also offer strategies for writing teachers to alter that landscape in order to create the pedagogies they value.
Here is a preview of Jeff’s keynote, entitled “Do We Learn (writing) Best Together or Alone? Your Life with Robots”:
Computers and networks have transformed writing, making publication and distribution easy and instant and creating a culture in which we write more now than at any point in human history. Technologies are changing the teaching of writing as well. Some enhance learning and professionalize teacher work. Others automate. Robots are here.
In this talk, I will lay out a hopefully provocative argument that we are at an important moment in the recent revolution in writing driven by computing and communication networks. As educators, we are provided with compelling opportunities to provide students with more personalized learning, better feedback, and improved outcomes. But the technologies that drive many of these opportunities—the Robots—must be understood as pedagogies, not precisely as technologies. Given that, what sorts of pedagogical choices are we making as educators? What sorts of choices should we make?
In 2016, understanding robots in relation to writing and learning to write must be seen as mainstream if not existential. Despite this, very few writing experts and teachers, let alone computers and writing experts have deeply engaged.
We have left this important work to others. We’ve been interested in other things. In doing so, we’ve made a big mistake, and in my talk, I will try to unpack that mistake and the sorts of engagement that is necessary.
Jeff will present his keynote address at Computers and Writing 2016 on Friday, May 20 at 6pm EST. Stay tuned to our Twitter feed and Facebook page – we are working on a live stream!