The Quantified Writer

Data Traces in Education

Authored by: Smith Anna , Cope Bill , Kalantzis Mary

Handbook of Writing, Literacies, and Education in Digital Cultures

Print publication date:  August  2017
Online publication date:  August  2017

Print ISBN: 9781138206304
eBook ISBN: 9781315465258
Adobe ISBN:

10.4324/9781315465258.ch19

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Abstract

Though the electronic pulses that transmit data packets across the Atlantic in milliseconds can make digital writing seem ephemeral, writers composing with digital devices and within digitally networked environments leave traces. Through new media’s social practices and algorithmic designs, these traces can be fed back and used, making them long lasting, seemingly indelible marks. User metrics and analytics—though still early emerging socio-technological phenomena—have quickly become foregrounded in big business, policing, and governmental decision-making. At the same time, they have also become backgrounded in social life—an everyday, “unseen” aspect of the social ecologies of daily life (Baym, 2013). In this chapter, we focus on a slice of social ecologies, to digital writing practices and processes. In doing so, we draw attention to critical questions that arise regarding what is recorded digitally as we write—how traces are generated and recorded, and why those mechanisms matter with particular focus on data traces in education.

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