Wednesday, January 23, 2008

Week 3 Day 2

Questions of Identity
The New London Group, Faigley and Ohmann.

Reflecting on the previous week's readings as a catalyst for this week's analysis there are two things that stand out prevalently.
1-Education is inherently political
2-The current structure of education in the United States of America is recognized as generating and/or supporting inequality

When technology as an aid/form of pedagogy is then injected into the already contentious situation the disparities between the 'haves' and 'have-nots' is exacerbated.

When considering the 'digital divide' as a scenario that disadvantages people of color as well as the economically lacking, there is a question of rationalization of technology in the classroom.

While Ohmann's analysis was dated it was correct as often as it was off the mark. Literacy in employment is dependent upon the definition. One place where evidence of the monopoly capitalist system that Ohmann uses can be found in terms of computer literacy is in the qualifications for employment. In depth programming (code writing) is not necessary for most positions, but...the ubiquitous Windows familiarity is often cited as desired (to include the Office suite of word processing, spreadsheets, power point and Outlook). Here he is correct on two points, the first is that literacy is defined in a limited way and the second is that the purpose was to facilitate the concentration of wealth into the coffers of the elite/privilege.

Faigley was more optimistic than Ohmann and hence had a different response. The antecedent data was similar in the sense that both were examining an economically 'unjust' system that was built around values that could be considered polar opposites of egalitarianism. His call to teachers to situate their work economically and politically, segues well with the work of the next authors.

The New London Group identifies a number of harms in the status quo. Many of them were analogous with Faigley or Ohmann, though there was a greater focus on the differences in terms of demography. They concern themselves with the fragmentation of the civic public, and the repercussions of a greater stress on individual identity in terms of group membership. NLG offers a concept of 'multi-literacies' as a possible response from the education community. They also admit that there will be negotiations in terms of identity that could be difficult.

Connecting last week's readings in terms of the myths of literacy, was fairly clear from a personal perspective. Literacy is a loaded term that is fraught with intent and systemic value. In terms of race, literacy carries with it a history of conquest and concepts of noblisse oblige. Assimilation can be performed through eliminating the epistemology's of marginalized people, by privileging technologies exclusive to the dominant narrative.

In terms of my personal concepts of technology and literacy, I have a rather social constructionist take on it. They only exist within discourse. The definitions can be easily appropriated by the system (and have been) in order to prevent power from being distributed. There have been movements to expand literacy (and technological literacy) to disadvantaged populations, but I would characterize those phenomena as hegemonic aids. When taken together the semiotic problems are multiplied exponentially.

On the other hand through technological literacy, literacy and technology it is possible to generate a truly subaltern space.

1 comment:

kristin said...

Just a short note before I comment on the above post: it is fun to read your thoughts pre-Wysocki and Johnson-Eilola as you totally hit the nail on the head regarding literacy and race and the myths we tell in order to construct order and support the system. For eg, as much as I know that different folks construct knowledge differently, I will be the first to squirm when someone writes an academic text that doesn't 'play by the rules.' How DARE you not write linearly? If I have to do it, then you should too!

Oh dear, I believe I am troubled.