The Paradox of Electronic Literature in the Classroom: The Challenges for New Literacy Practices within the Platformized School

Abstract (in English): 

Reviewing the history of computing, the educational potential of new ways of knowledge representation and new literary affordances have sparked many influential ideas and reform efforts, spanning from “frantic systems” (Nelson, 1970) to constructionist discovery learning (Papert, 1993) to the reconfiguration of literary education (Landow, 2006, ch. 7). Yet, the current usages of electronic literature in education arguably fall behind those early anticipations. Therefore, this paper explores the wider educational and social entanglements that withhold electronic literature from entering classrooms in the context of current technology transformations. Considering the recent pandemicrelated global upsurge of the digitalization of educational systems, the mere lack of supply of digital devices and equipment will cease to be the main obstacle for the adoption of electronic literature in K12 classrooms. Nonetheless, the question shifts to what imaginaries and discourses shape (and limit) the use of new digital literary affordances. Reviewing current trends, three issues are identified. These concern (1) fixations of technological disruption, (2) literacy learning objectives and (3) the marginalization of teaching. The focus on technological disruption (and solutionism) refers to a tendency for innovators to overly emphasize particular technological aspects and to become fixated on their “disruptive” benefits while disregarding the need for cultural and artistic conventions and communities of education practices to grow within the digital medium. Secondly, the problematization of learning objectives relates to a prioritization of basic skills and 21st century workforce preparation while neglecting the need to address new critical literacy practices. Rather than responding with a restricted, preservationist stance limited to paper-based literacy, educators and authors may find ways of combining material affordances and electronic literature to introduce wider literacy conceptions in educational practice. In a similar vein, the marginalization of teaching is concerned with how technology is being used to quantify, classify and control teaching practices within new regimes of digital governance. In other words, teachers are being increasingly framed as technicians and behavioral managers in place of enhancing their role as “cyberbards” (Murray, 2016). Given that some of the issues raised correspond to known problems in the field of electronic literature, they also provide opportunities for further transdisciplinary research into the production and adaptation of electronic literature for educational purposes.

(Source: the abstract of the work)

Critical writing referenced:

Titlesort descending Author Year
Automation, APIs and the distributed labour of platform pedagogies in Google Classroom Carlo Perrotta, Kalvero N. Gulson, Ben Williamson, Kevin Witzenberger 2020
Disruptive fixation: School reform and the pitfalls of techno-idealism Christo Sims 2017
Editorial: the datafication of education Juliana Jarke, Andreas Breiter 2019
Electronic Literature Scott Rettberg 2018
Electronic Literature: New Horizons for the Literary N. Katherine Hayles 2010
From computer lib/dream machines Theodor Holm Nelson 2003
Giving Teaching Back to Education: Responding to the Disappearance of the Teacher Gert J.J. Biesta 2012
Hackers, computers, and cooperation: A critical history of logo and constructionist learning Morgan G. Ames 2018
Hamlet on the Holodeck: The Future of Narrative in Cyberspace Janet H. Murray 1998
Hypertext 3.0: Critical Theory and New Media in an Era of Globalization George P. Landow 2006
Introduction: Critical studies of digital education platforms Mathias Decuypere, Emiliano Grimaldi, Paolo Landri 2021
No More Teacher's Dirty Looks Theodor Holm Nelson
Platform Capitalism Nick Srnicek 2017
Platform Studies: Frequently Questioned Answers Ian Bogost, Nick Montfort 2009
Post-Covid-19 Education and Education Technology ‘Solutionism’: a Seller’s Market Marko Teräs, Juha Suoranta, Hanna Teräs, Mark Curcher 2020
Teaching Machines Audrey Watters 2021
The Book Amaranth Borsuk 2018
The Challenge of 21st-Century Literacies Cathy Burnett, Guy Merchant 2015
The children’s machine: Rethinking school in the age of the computer Seymour Papert 1993
The New Media Reader 2003

ELO 2021: E-lit in contexts, May 28

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Lene Tøftestuen