The Ohio State University at Marion

McCorkle recognized for review of technology in teaching

Wednesday, July 11, 2019

Ohio State Marion Associate Professor of English, Dr. Ben McCorkle and his co-author Miami University Associate Professor of English, Dr. Jason Palmeri were recently recognized by two scholarly organizations for outstanding digital production based on a review and analysis of the use of technology in English teaching over a 100-year period.

They received the Computers and Composition Michelle Kendrick Outstanding Digital Production/Scholarship Award on a collaborative article they published titled, "A Distant View of English Journal, 1912-2012." Computers and Composition is a professional journal devoted to exploring the use of computers in composition classes, programs, and scholarly projects. It provides teachers and scholars a forum for discussing issues connected to computer use.

The two scholars were also awarded the 2019 Sweetland Digital Rhetoric Collaborative/University of Michigan Press Book Prize for their book project, 100 Years of New Media Pedagogy. An advance publication contract for the book manuscript comes along with the prize, along with supporting funds for publication expenses. The book will be an academic book and what McCorkle and others in the business call "born digital," an interactive digital book featuring multimedia content.

According to McCorkle, he and Palmeri reviewed 100 years of a publication called English Journal, flagging every article that referred to using technology to teach English, from 1912 through 2012.

“We coded everything, asking a number of questions,” McCorkle explained.

“For example, are teachers asking students to watch films and reflect on them in writing, or are they having students produce their own amateur films?”

“Another thing we looked at was teachers' attitudes toward technology. Did teachers see it as a threat or a help,” McCorkle said.

During their review, the two professors collected 766 articles over the 100-year spread. The collaborative article teases out some conclusions made from their review, McCorkle shared.

“Teachers have been using media for a really long time. It is not just something that emerged with computers,” said McCorkle.

“We wanted to point out that there were innovative, tech-savvy, forward-looking teachers writing about their tech practices all the way back to the early 1900’s,” he said. “For me, when we are talking about Facebook, Twitter, social media, and texting, when we see these as potential threats to literacy and learning and human connection, we have actually been having these conversations for a lot longer.”

“Teachers have learned to do really interesting and effective things with the tools of their day."

When it comes to the advent of new digital technology and the concern that it is somehow damaging young people, McCorkle urged educators and parents not to abandon all hope.

“Language evolves, changes, morphs... and the world keeps turning,” he said

About the awards…

Computers and Composition Michelle Kendrick Outstanding Digital Production/Scholarship Award
This award was inaugurated in 2006 to recognize the creation of outstanding digital productions, digital environments, and/or digital media scholarship. It acknowledges that any single mode of communication, including the alphabetic, can represent only a portion of meaning that authors/designers might want to convey to audiences. As does our field, this award recognizes the intellectual and creative effort that goes into such work and celebrates the scholarly potential of digital media texts and environments that may include visuals, video animation, and/or sound, as well as printed words. The award is dedicated to Michelle Kendrick, who passed away in 2006. Kendrick’s outstanding scholarship continues to make its mark on the field of digital production.

The UM Press/Sweetland Publication Prize in Digital Rhetoric
The prize, which is funded by the Sweetland Center for Writing, is awarded to an innovative and important book-length project that displays critical and rigorous engagement in the field of digital rhetoric. These projects should be born-digital or substantially digitally enhanced, and they should be completed or very near completion.