About This Panel

Suzanne Blum Malley (sbmalley [at] colum.edu)
Alanna Frost (frosta [at] uah.edu)
Computers and Writing 2011

This panel interrogates the ways in which digital technologies and multimodal composing practices provide an effective means of moving beyond our traditional approaches to teaching and evaluating multilingual writers, approaches which are, as Canagarajah persuasively points out, “hampered by monolingualist assumptions…preventing us from fully understanding the resources multilinguals bring to their texts (Canagarajah “Toward a Writing Pedagogy” 589). He suggests that we shift to an understanding of language acquisition as

“practice-based, adaptive, emergent…multimodal, multisensory, multilateral, and therefore, multidimensional… socially embedded, ecologically sensitive, and interactionally open” (“Lingua Franca” 924).

Likewise, Hawisher et al. convincingly demonstrate that

“in both global and local contexts the relationships among digital technologies, language, literacy, and an array of opportunities are complexly structured and articulated within a constellation of existing social, cultural, economic, historical, and ideological factors that constitute a cultural ecology of literacy” (“Globalization and Agency” 219).

As panelists, we embrace the complex ecologies of multilingual communication and of digital literacies and we can’t help but wonder about and experience wonder at what happens when those two things intersect. What types of lenses do digital literacies offer for an examination of multilingual rhetorical strategies and of multilingual literacies?