in / visibility

Since the words “visibility” and “invisibility” are ones that most people know, here are the definitions: 

Visibility: the relative ability to be seen under given conditions of distance, light, atmosphere, etc.

Invisibility: withdrawn from or out of sight; not perceptible or discernible by the mind

In the context of computers writing, these terms get at the meaning of in / visible in a few ways. Below, I am mostly thinking about the readings we have done so far and the conversations we have had. Image 

1) Different groups of people can be visible or invisible on the interface. So, the Selves warn that the white hand of the computer or the status signified by a “desktop” make certain groups of people more or less visible on the interface. Also, Alexander and Rhodes note of queer rhetoric the possibility that archives might make previously invisible histories more visible, but also that some parts of queer rhetorics will be invisible to people who are not a part of the community. To return to the dictionary definitions, these ways of being are can be physically visible (in that I can see a desktop or an issue of a men’s magazine from the 1950’s) but not fully discern what is going on.

2) McPherson initiates the idea of misleading visibility: the lenticular logic. Her examples are great illustrators. Race can be made visible one at a time (in Ken Burns documentary the stories of blacks and whites exists separately – not relational) but thus invisible when looking at each. Race can become completely invisible (she explains that Scarlett takes place in Ireland away from issues of race).

3) Bolter’s idea that hypertext remediates print claims as a benefit the increasingly pictorial nature of electronic writing (“welcomes elements that we in the West have long come to regard as inappropriate to writing”). In some way, expression is more visible in electronic writing; I guess, here, I’m associating what is visible with what is accepted / included. Also, there is something to be said about the in / visibility of hyperlinks. For example, if the words: ‘bear riding a bicycle’ appeared above in blue, people might know what that link will be, but the pictorial nature of that vision would still be somehow invisible. Another try: in an outline, all the parts are at once visible, but in a layered, linked outline, that is not the case. Does that make them more or less visible?

Huh. There is probably more to say.


Intro Post

There’s this scene in the movie Say Anything where John Cusak is talking to the father of a girl he wants to date. The father asks young Cusak what he’s into, and Cusak says something like “I’m really into kickboxing right now. Have you heard of it? Sport of the future? I can see by your face, no.” I really want to not be the father in that situation, but sometimes I worry. I have been teaching some class for 7 consecutive years now, and, though I do not think I’m resistant to introducing digital / computer business into the classroom, I don’t do it much — largely, I think, because I’m not all that into it myself. And that is a crappy reason. It’s funny (and here’s the giveaway that I’m letting the first set of readings influence this post), I think I do use a lot of the multimodal things in class, but they tend to be stuck in the 1970s that Palmeri wants to reclaim. So that’s one reason I’m into this class; I want to be a better teacher.

I’m also throwing up the reply I made to the class survey — it ticks off some of the other basic things I’m bringing to class (or trying to bring).

** I taught high school English and had classes that were heavily reliant on digital technologies (these were most often “remedial” classes at the school) but others that hardly used digital media at all. Two questions that arose from those experiences were about: 1) access to different technologies (why was technology so encouraged in remedial classes but not in others? what is it that struggling schools actually do with the computers that they so often get through grants?) and 2) student motivation to use digital technologies once they come into school.

** I wrote a paper last summer looking at the literature around K – 12 boys and literacy panic. One recommendation many of the books about boys and literacy make is to increase digital technology use. I’m interested in looking more closely at that recommendation and trying to figure out the complicated notions around gender and online / digital technology spaces.

** I’m comfortable with the basic set of student computing tools (Word, email, etc.). I don’t consider my self particularly skilled or unskilled with technology. I can’t claim to use many specialized technologies, but I feel relatively comfortable with the thought of learning them. I would just say, though, that I am pretty uncomfortable with social media. I don’t think I’m a curmudgeon or anything, I just don’t use things like Facebook, Twitter, etc. very often (though I sometimes feel an unnameable pressure to do so).That aside, I really would like to learn about how other people use social media to communicate. I consider myself a little behind, but I hope that being ever so slightly outside a comfort with social media might be an interesting way to look at it.

I’m also interested in the technologies that K-12 teachers use. In my brief experience, the technologies can be innovative and helpful or ignored by students or put into place without much thought required by teachers (I’m thinking specifically of a Scholastic program called Read 180 that I used in my classroom for years).