Teaching Diversity in the Technologically-Enhanced Creative Writing Classroom
C. Vincent Samarco.
Contemporary discourse about the construction of power via computer literacy skills has long held that the propagation of technology further increases the divide between the powerful and the powerless, that those who have computer literacy skills reproduce cultural privilege exponentially while those without access to computer technology lapse into further marginalized positions. While we see this position as essentially true, we argue that university educators who are fortunate to work in technologically enhanced classrooms have the opportunity (and responsibility) to use that technology to further awareness and understanding of difference, and that technology can be a means for locating conversations about race, class, gender, and sexual orientation as the primary subjects in the university creative writing classroom. Specifically, this presentation will explore the ways that technology in the creative writing classroom can employ the use of web-building programs, streaming video projects, Blackboard exercises, and Powerpoint presentations to construct pedagogy that de-stabilizes power and ultimately transfers power to assist the struggle for equality. The presentation will include findings from and narratives about a recently initiated Title II grant project that employs enhanced technology and the elements of fiction to achieve these ends. The presentation will show examples from students in the grant’s pilot class that demonstrate how conversations about such fictional elements as point of view, setting, and dialogue, combined with training in the uses of video production, web-building programs, and the Blackboard information system, can promote ways of talking about the experiences and material conditions of those who have not been encouraged to attend university. The goal of the presentation, then, will be to talk about the ways in which the postmodern creative writing teacher can help students becomes cultural workers, and how the technologically advanced creative writing class can be a means of dispersing privilege and advocating for social change.
C. Vincent Samarco (United States)
Assistant Professor of English
Saginaw Valley State University
C. Vincent Samarco was born to working class parents in Detroit. His fiction and essays have appeared in a variety of journals, and he is co-editor of the forthcoming essay collection Reflections from the Wrong Side of the Tracks: Class, Identity and the Working Class experience in academe (Rowman and Littlefield). He teaches English at Saginaw Valley State University.
(30 min. Conference Paper, English)