#CWCon from Afar: Gee’s Affinity Spaces & Situated Learning Interrogated

I have been following Computers & Writing Conference this week on Twitter at the #cwcon hashtag. Among the most livetweeted talks was James Paul Gee’s keynote, “Writing in the Age of the Maker Movement.” Gee, famous for research on gaming and literacy, spoke broadly about teaching writing from a situated learning perspective. In his talk, he emphasized the need for “goal-based action” in learning to write, where students see writing as a way of “doing” something. He advocated learning situated in “affinity spaces,” where a group coalesces over a “common endeavor” (Gee, 2003, p. 192). I have Storified the livetweeting of the talk here.

Before I respond to the talk, I want state a caveat: I wasn’t there. I am relying on livetweeting, and therefore my comprehension and interpretation of Gee’s talk is limited by the points that were livetweeted. I could have missed points in his argument, which would then skew my interpretation in an erroneous direction. I apologize in advance if I misinterpreted Gee.

I want to respond to a few key claims livetweeted, so I’ve selected the first tweets I could find in the #cwcon stream that documented each of these claims. I have embedded them below. (more…)

Conference Recap: Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature Annual Symposium 2013

After a brief hiatus to recover from my last blogging venture on the Reading Wars and knowledge structures, I hope this post will be the beginning of a productive summer of weekly blogging.

On May 9, I presented at the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature Annual Symposium. This was my first foray into literary criticism since my undergraduate work, which was over five years ago. Having studied linguistics for two years and then education another two, I found SSML, a humanities conference, to be quite different from my experiences at social science conferences. I was prepared for some of the differences, but others were a surprise. This information may be helpful especially for young scholars and grad students. Here are a few of the key differences:


4C13 from afar: Twitter & Collaboration

In lieu of a more complete, short essay (coming soon), I offer today a few thoughts on the 2013 Conference on College Composition and Communication.

Twitter is my CCCC News Wire

I get all my news on the conference from the 4C13 hashtag on Twitter. I also have been browsingthe resources uploaded onto the NCTE site for the convention. I’m indebted to the fellow scholars tweeting about it, especially @webbsusa, who tweeted a fascinating talk by Dr. Victor Villanueva entitled: “Toward a Political Economy of Basic Writing Programs.”

Collaboration between Rhet Comp and Education

Villanueva discussed the need for Basic Writing (and Rhet Comp) to engage in more collaboration with other disciplines. While it seems Villanueva may have seen this need as a way to legitimize the course and empower its students, I contend that this collaboration needs to happen because related disciplines have a lot to offer Rhet Comp and vice versa. Education and Linguistics are the first places where more collaboration needs to happen. (more…)


I will be presenting at two conferences this semester. First, I will be presenting with a colleague at the Indiana State English Learner conference, sharing some SFL applications for implementing the Common Core State Standards when teaching writing to English Learners. Secondly, I will be presenting an ecocritical analysis of the lyricism and essays of Rich Mullins at the Society for the Study of Midwestern Literature annual conference. Finally, my first publication, co-written with a colleague, will be coming out in June. It is a chapter in the edited volume, Genre Pedagogy Across the Curriculum: Theory and Application in U.S. Classrooms and Contexts. Overall, it is shaping up to be a very productive semester. Cheers!

MMLA Conf.

A colleague and I have just been accepted to present a paper on using SFL and genre to teach writing in the college classroom. We will be presenting to the Midwestern Modern Language Association Permanent Session on Teaching Writing in College this year. It will be my first time actually reading rather than presenting a paper. Any tips for the switch in format?