NCTE 96 Conference Reflections

Assembly for Computers in English

The ACE booth did happen at NCTE this year, despite the loss of our regular yearly loan of computers from Apple. Apple says that they'll plan to supply them again next year, but that they are regrouping this year, and just couldn't do it. We had demonstrations of the ACE web site, MUDs and MOOs, and the NCTE web site in the booth, along with such software as Digital Chisel, Inspiration, Writer's Workbench, Stylex, Dramatica Pro, CommonSpace, etc. Daedalus was just across the way, so we also steered people over there. As usual, our handouts were a big hit.

At the NCTE director's meeting, the only agenda item I think Rhetnetters might be interested in was the resolution to broaden the definition of literacy to include viewing and visual literacy. I thought that this one would pass, but Sheridan Blau and others seemed to think that adding viewing would dilute our ability to stress print/textual literacy. Discussion raged for more than 30 minutes, and I had to leave. I didn't think it would pass when I left; but I was pleasantly surprised to learn later that it had.

In a morning session, I had the good fortune to stand in for Eric Crump at a think-tank session on the issues of Computers and Writing. This was a great brainstorm session. I have a file of notes which I would be glad to send to anyone wishing to see the issues we identified.

Similarly, we had a large crowd at the evening meeting of ACE. We came up with issues and strategies, which, as soon as is practically possible, we will post to the ACE web page and ACE-L list.

Tharon Howard flew in just to lead the Instructional Technology Committee meeting. Becky Rickly is the new chair, but could not be at NCTE. It seems that with new energy, the committee will be able to focus on some important issues and outcomes, such as the guidelines for treatment of technology-related work in hiring, tenure and promotion.

Finally, ACE had another full house for its 1996 workshop. Thanks to Keith Dorwick and Jim Fletcher at UIC, we had the use of two labs, Mac and IBM, to show off computer, network, and web applications for teaching writing and literature. We know that NCTE turned away lots of people from our workshop, and wish we could sponsor more of them.

Rogge Day Hurwitz

Comments to Michael Day