Ever since I enrolled in the SFSU Composition Master’s program, I’ve been intrigued by the idea of student resistance. This is no doubt due, in part, to my former life as an obnoxiously contrarian undergraduate- or my current life as a slightly less obnoxiously contrarian grad student. I can be a dick like that… There is some quintessential need in me to react in an opposite manner to those around me. It transcends simply playing devil’s advocate in the classroom; any social situation I find myself in I tend to take the alternate tract. And this is not strictly limited to expressing an alternate viewpoint- my expression, mannerisms, and temperaments are all hardwired to resist those around me.
I’m not bringing this up as a way of self-compliment- it’s been largely detrimental. Friends think me disagreeable, coworkers believe me tiresome, and women at the bar are wholly immune to my entreaties regardless of the number of Jagerbombs consumed. I am a horrible salesman. Any benefits I like to think I bring by way of offering contrasting viewpoints tend to lose out in the balance.
So the notion that students would embrace in particular scholastic environments my default setting is intriguing to me. It also helped that upon entering this program, I found myself first in class with Professor Jennifer Trainor, a brilliant thinker in the area of student resistance to issue of race (and the fact that she is the second reader for my thesis is purely coincidental and holds ZERO sway upon my adoration of her work-seriously, not kissing up or anything). In terms of this class, my own resistance to embracing technology in the curriculum has taken some prominence in the last several discussions. So it seems like a bit of confluence here. Plus I saw “student resistance” listed as one of the previous topics that Professor Wormuth put up on iLearn and we had a sale.
However, I do care about my grade and about being innovative (to the extent that I’m able) and about not simply phoning it in- senioritis be damned. So I tried to think of a less conventional way of looking at the problem, a perspective that maybe has not been previously covered in this course. But how to do that…
If you’re still reading up to this point, you’ll notice that I am pretty heavily invested in talking about myself; I’m partially overcompensating from all those years of being told not to use “I” in academic work and also because I am a partially treated narcissist. First person pronouns have already been used 35 times in this blog- approximately .08% of the total word count. Which doesn’t seem like much until you realize that a variation of the word “reader is clocking in at only .004%…
But I digress. I am interested in a teacher’s resistance to technology in the classroom- both from a pedagogical standpoint and also a psychological one. How founded in valid principle are arguments against tech and how much of it is just being a reactionary Luddite? I figure this to be important for two reasons:
A) I want to explore my personal reactions to the use of blogs, wiki’s etc
2) If I choose to pursue a curriculum that encompasses these genres, I want to know the roots of potential opposition from faculty, administrators, etc
D) Graduate students in this field are in the somewhat unique position of being both teachers as well as students, and viewing them in both contexts might illuminate some of the responses and motivations at play. Plus, it allows for work done on both students as well as teachers to be potentially relevant.
To that extent I will be exploring the works of Larry Rosen who has written extensively on technophobia- particularly in the academic realm. I’ve also got my grubby little paws on Johnson and Kongrith’s Teaching Teachers to Use Technology as well as “Altered Geometry: A New Angle on Teacher Technophobia” by Margaret Lloyd. I’ve got some other articles and avenues of pursuit- but this post is getting long and you probably don’t need me to name drop anymore.