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15 G l o ca l i z i n g t h e C o m p o s i t i o n C l a s s r o o m w i t h G o o g l e A p p s f o r E d ucat i o n Daniel Hocutt and Maury Brown DOI: 10.7330/9781607326649.c015 Abstract Composing practices in a digitally networked world are inherently intercultural, and situate local needs and constraints within global opportunities and concerns. Global technologies like Google Apps for Education (GAFE)1 allow students to compose collaboratively across place and time; to do so, students and teachers must navigate a complex local network of institutional policy, learning outcomes, situational needs, and composing practices while also being aware of the global implications of using the interface to compose, review, edit, and share with others. The chapter describes using GAFE in locally situated composition classes. Using such technologies requires a focus on glocalization and an understanding of how networked composing activity affects the communication process, and the institutions, faculty, and students who are interconnected within it. Keywords: cloud-based computing, cloud pedagogy, computers and writing , digital literacy, digital writing, first-year composition, glocalization, Google Apps for Education (GAFE), Google Docs, Google Drive, ICT, networked individualism, networked knowledge communities Introduction When composing in digital environments, we entangle ourselves in a global web of networks. As Reid (2008) points out, today’s composing technologies are “designed, produced, and assembled through a global network of companies and factories,” and that in using these technologies we “necessarily hand over some of the creative process and decision-­ making responsibilities of authorship to the computer” (p. 68). Whether using commercial hardware and software, freeware, learning management Glocalizing the Composition Classroom with Google Apps   321 systems, or open source solutions, teachers, students, and institutions must agree to the terms of service and conditions of use defined by networks of corporate entities. Adoption of these information communication technologies (ICTs) creates an evolving online global context where our identities and our practices are influenced in visible and unseen ways. Institutions, faculty, and staff who use such ICTs must therefore be aware of the global contexts and ideologies inherent in the interface and made manifest through use while seeking to critically examine how such ICTs affect communication, composing practices, and how we teach them. Global technology giant Google offers services to consumers in exchange for the information they provide. With strongholds in Inter­ net searching, electronic mail, video streaming, and mobile phone industries, Google offers a suite of services free of charge to K–12 and higher educational institutions: Google Apps for Education (GAFE). The suite of cloud-based software and services provides collaborative functionality for the classroom through email and shared drive applications , as well as open source software that mimics the functionality of Microsoft’s Office Suite: Word (functions mimicked by Google Docs), Excel (Sheets), PowerPoint (Slides) and Outlook (Gmail, Contacts, and Calendar). Cloud-based services designed for educational use (e.g., GAFE) afford deeply collaborative activities across multiple applications and interfaces. Google Drive and Google Docs provide shared folders for exclusive, password-protected file sharing and free web- or app-based word processing. Google Docs also offers the opportunity for both asynchronous and synchronous exchange. As scholars have noted, digital technologies are never neutral (Feenberg, 1991; Selfe & Selfe, 1994). GAFE is no exception. Although there are uses of the technology “for good,” and there are promises of improved access to education and equalized spaces, as Selber (2004) notes, “computer technologies are aligned with competitive and oppressive formations that tend to shore up rather than address existing social inequalities” (p. 12). DePew (2015) points out that “despite the ‘kumbaya rhetoric’ of global equality that digital corporations use to sell their wares, at the end of the day these companies need to turn a profit” (p. 446). When higher education institutions adopt these products and instructors use them, instructors and institutions may be complicit in allowing student work and activity to be mined for profile building and targeted advertising. Using these technologies positions instructors as potential agents of enacting or perpetuating inequalities, exploiting students’ labor, or compromising their privacy. Yet even in the global network of Google, composing acts are locally mediated and situated. 322   Hocutt and Brown The chapter frames GAFE in the context of glocalization and networked individualism, and provides heuristics for others to consider when implementing GAFE in the composition classroom. First, we...


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