By now it is widely accepted wisdom that the Internet has vast potential as a learning tool for students of almost all ages and levels. But it is less clear how to harness this potential most effectively. What indeed should the "online classroom" mean to teachers? Will the rush to get "wired" mean little more than enhanced visuals or automated lecture delivery-or can it result in innovative pedagogies for improving literacy into the twenty-first century? In this collection of essays, some of the most progressive voices in literacy studies reconsider what it means to be literate in the information age, and offer practical advice not only for getting networked computers into the classroom but also for instructing students and other teachers how to tap into their boundless potential.
Essays range in subject from the story of a radical, communal writers' group working together in a networked environment; to an exploration of how utopian notions of the networked classroom don't always hold true, on the basis of the authors' classroom experience of hostile, dysfunctional chat room exercises; to an applied and totally attainable model for gathering support and preparing teachers for new technologies. Together the contributions provide a provocative and much-needed introduction to the constantly shifting subject of literacy theory, paving the way for continued dialogue on a subject that teachers, students, and all writers and readers can no longer afford to ignore.
Todd Taylor is assistant professor of English at the University of North Carolina, Chapel Hill. He is the coauthor of The Columbia Guide to Online Style, editor of Dialogic Space: Electronic Frontiers and Critical Literacy, and serves as senior editor of JAC: A Journal of Composition. Irene Ward is assistant professor of English and director of expository writing at Kansas State University. She is the author of Literacy, Ideology, and Dialogue: Toward a Dialogic Pedagogy, coauthor of The Critical Reader, and coeditor of (Inter)views: Cross-Disciplinary Perspectives on Rhetoric and Literacy.