The role of computers in English pedagogy has radically changed in the last decade. Ten years ago, the computer was a “destination” resource; that is, students and teachers accessed programs on the particular computer in front of them, word processing for example, and created English-related content from these resources. Today the computer is a portal to the larger universe of the Internet, and the virtual worlds that are accommodated there, such as virtual reality and social networking technologies like the so-called Web 2.0 and future technology creations.
Many among us remember when English language arts was seen as anathematic to technology. Indeed, sometimes computers were seen as a threat to certain literacies that were prized back then. Today, however, we face a transformed landscape. Many thoughtful English language educators believe that interconnecting technologies like the Internet have the power to transform English language arts in a very positive way. We now believe that reading, writing and communicating in today’s information rich society requires that students be skilled not just in the traditional content of English, such as poetry, the novel and drama, but also in the emerging fields of blogs, wikis, vlogs, avatar creation and even manifestations that are on the horizon, but have not arrived yet.
Whatever happens in the future, interactive technologies are going to be a part of it. We invite you to join us in helping to shape this future, in mapping the paths to critical engagement, thoughtful and responsible communication and supporting creativity in our English language classrooms.
Dr. Ewa McGrail, ACE Chair and Website Editor, Georgia State University, Georgia
Gail Desler, Treasurer, Elk Grove Unified School District, California