Wednesday, January 29, 2014

Irene Taylor - computer literacy; feminist and ageist theories

M. Irene Taylor - "An Examination of Studies of Computer Literacy Acquisition among Older Adults"

When looking at the impact of computer technology on composition studies, it is the young adult who has been the primary subject of study. In comparison, concerns of the older adult in the acquisition of computer literacy have not seen the level of attention that the growth of an aging population warrants. This paper addresses the need for research in the field of computer literacy among the older adult population while considering the risk posed by ageist bias in the design of studies as well as the interpretation of their results. The call for these studies stems from the inherent presence of computers in the lives of people starting in childhood through their senior years. While I look primarily at studies conducted by researchers in the field of rhetoric and composition, I also consider work by scholars in gerontology, sociology, and computer sciences. Relying on both feminist and ageist theories as a framework for my findings, I conclude that even the most well-intentioned scholar (myself included) is at risk of making assumptions based on an ageist bias. As an increasing number of older adults return to school to develop the skills to either advance in their current careers or embark on new ones, it is critical that we equip educators with both the hardware design and pedagogical theory that best meets the needs of this growing cohort.

Presenter Bio
The presenter is a second year PhD student in English Studies with a focus in Creative Writing. She has a B.A. in Communications from the University of Illinois and an M.A. in Theater from Illinois State University. Her one-woman play was performed as the premiere production by New Route Theater in 2011 and her poetry has appeared in the 2012 and 2013 Barn Quilt Heritage Trail journal and on that same website. The focus of her work is the memoir and life writing with a special interest in play-writing.

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