*One computers and writing particular theme that I noticed at C’s was a divide in views about technologies. The different views I noticed revolved around crisis rhetoric about mechanized writing assessment versus a forwarding of reflective, mindful teaching practices using a range of digital technologies (this second strand of views was represented in several GRAD STUDENT sessions that I attended; not trying to draw some weird, stark agist divide, just saying grad students are awesome).
*Giroux’s featured speaker session about the public good and education spoke to this divide in views of technologies a bit. He celebrated new media outlets and their possibilities for public intellectuals to construct alternative narratives, especially in light of his claim that mainstream media makes no space whatsoever for public intellectuals. He also celebrated young people’s and grad students’ influence in developing new languages, discourses, and democracies (he didn’t explicitly mention digital technologies or new media in making this point, but I certainly heard it that way and made those connections). But, he also lamented a lack of rigorous critical pedagogies that felt a bit like print literacy crises fear-mongering.
*Live Tweeting is fun!!! I had fun following people I met or whose sessions I attended on twitter, and I think I doubled the number of people following me on Twitter by doing so. I was able to “attend” concurrent sessions by posting to and following others’ Twitter posts during the conference. Read Merideth’s blog for a much better analysis of the Cs Twitter feed.
*I definitely noticed myself recognizing people who had cultivated some sort of digital presence, whose faces I’d seen in video essays or on Twitter or Facebook or even in the comment sections of academic blogs I’d perused.
*And finally, my most biased observation of all: the Michigan presentations I attended stood out to me as some of the most rigorous, thorough teaching, research, and presenting at the conference. I was shocked (a bit naively, I realize) to find conference presenters still speed reading aloud full academic papers trying to fit it all in under the allotted time. But Michigan presenters had re-mediated well and also just conducted research that went beyond a level of, “I read about this and tried it in my classroom, isn’t that neat??” I say all this as a way to solidify for myself the kinds of research and presenting I want to aim for when I next attend a conference, as hopefully more than just a consumer of others’ presentations.
Overall, I was just so pleased to see so many teachers excited about research and teaching (and researching teaching), and I came away with more ideas and materials for actual classroom activities and assignment sequences than I realized I would. Ideas and activities I am already and will continue to be incorporating into my classroom!