Authoring Identities: Teacher Narratives in the Digital Age

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Authoring Identities: Teacher Narratives in the Digital Age. Liz Homan Joint Program in English and Education University of Michigan-Ann Arbor. First: False Identity Binaries Non-Digital/Gone-Digital. Second: Ways to Re-Think Teaching w/Tech The Why / The How. - PowerPoint PPT Presentation

Text of Authoring Identities: Teacher Narratives in the Digital Age

Authoring Identities: Teacher Narratives in the Digital Age

Authoring Identities: Teacher Narratives in the Digital AgeLiz HomanJoint Program in English and EducationUniversity of Michigan-Ann ArborFirst: False Identity BinariesNon-Digital/Gone-DigitalSecond: Ways to Re-Think Teaching w/Tech

The Why / The HowThe Teacher Hero

Hero teachers like Michelle Pfeiffer in Dangerous Minds or Robin Williams in Dead Poets Society, among others, are often driven away from the profession as a reward for their self-sacrifice. The hero teacher is also sentimentalized in segments on news shows that illustrate how these teachers have worked overtime, or spent their own money, or otherwise sacrificed for their students benefit (Alsup, 2006, p. 24).

The Teacher VillainVillain/failure teachers include those who violate the moral expectations of society, violating the gendered model narrative of teacher as motherly protector and teacher of children (Alsup, pp. 30-31). The teacher-as-villain narrative is reinforced by narratives of failure in American education, evident in nationally-distributed reports such as A Nation at Risk and Reading at Risk, which promote a rhetoric of crisis and failure in education

In Wont Back Down, this elementary school is at positioned as at fault for theliteracy failure in AmericaThe Teacher Villain, In Michigan

A New Binary?Digital Immigrant teachers assume that learners are the same as they have always been, and that the same methods that worked for the teachers when they were students willwork for their students now.

Prensky, 2006: Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants This blanket labeling obscures the very important and fine-grained details related to writing with computers, and the very diverse backgrounds of different writers.

DeVoss & NWP, 2010: Because Digital Writing Matters, p. 26.GoogleScholar Citation Records:

Prensky (2006): 4,000+DeVoss & NYP (2010): 4Wysocki et. al. (2004): 85

A New Binary?Teachers school and socioeconomic contexts, relationships with other teachers or with the university professors who publish the texts, support from administrators, and other contextual factors go largely un-narrated in these texts, as do the stories of their less-digital or non-digital colleagues. Sylvia: One Gone Digital Teacher Complicates the Binary15 years of teaching, 10 years experimenting with digital technologiesFrom Blackboard, to LiveJournal, to SharePoint, to GoogleDocs, to WordPress, to Twitterwe have a WordsWithFriends tournament going on in the school among the teachers and it's very funny I play with the librarian and I walked into the library one day and he knew I was coming because I was scheduled to be in there with my class. He held up a sign as I walked in that said "fence, 60 points.I think that I could use the classroom [twitter handle] powerfully, just haven't figured out how to do that. Baby steps. Baby steps.

We Need to Consider Teachers Existing Uses of

(among other things)Teachers Today

A Networked Approach

Future DirectionsFuture studies should consider how teachers collegial relationships, friendships, communities, cultures, interests, access, and other factors impact the decisions teachers make regarding technology, why they use it (and why they dont), and how they learn about new digital tools for their classrooms.Neglecting these dimensions of teachers digital lives belittles the knowledge and experience professionals bring to the classroom and risks further oversimplification of how teachers learn and come to use digital technologies.ReferencesAlsup, J. (2005). Teacher Identity Discourses: Negotiating Personal And Professional Spaces. Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.Britzman, D. P. (2003). Practice Makes Practice: A Critical Study of Learning to Teach (Revised.). State University of New York Press.WONT BACK DOWN Trailer 2012 Maggie Gyllenhaal Movie - Official [HD]. (2012). Retrieved from, J. (2001). Teaching Selves: Identity, Pedagogy, and Teacher Education. State University of New York Press.Doc Zs SLCC (2012). Catharsis. (n.d.). Retrieved November 15, 2012, from, A., Hodgson, K., & Moran, C. (2009). Teaching the New Writing: Technology, Change, and Assessment in the 21st-Century Classroom (Language & Literacy Series). Teachers College Press.Kasdan, J. (2011). Bad Teacher. Columbia Pictures.School Safety. (2012). Retrieved from, D., Bruckheimer, J., & Bass, R. (2012). Dangerous Minds.The Paper Graders. (n.d.).The Paper Graders. Retrieved November 15, 2012, from http://thepapergraders.orgWeir, P. (1998). Dead Poets Society. Walt Disney Video.