Almost Titled: I Have a Complicated Relationship with New Media
Also Almost Titled: New Media and its Vibrant Verbs
Really Almost Titled: “Add technology and stir” (180)
However, I remain with my initial title: “An Explosion of Ideas”
Collin Gifford Brooke’s “New Media Pedagogy” chapter begins with a rationale of why one should even consider using new media in classroom, transitions to challenges faced, and ends with a look to the future.
After reading the chapter, I am reminded anew of my complicated relationship with new media. On one hand, I am enthralled with all the possibilities. Gifford Brooke uses (quite frequently) some of my favorite words: explore, experiment, investigate, energy, responsibility.
The tone of the writing makes me want to play around with possibilities, but it is that last word in my word list that really makes me pause: responsibility.
Gifford Brooke refers to Charles Moran in discussing responsibility: “It is our responsibility as writing teachers, he [Moran] says, to understand the scenes where our students write, the tools they will be using to write, and the often uneven attitudes (and access) that our students may have with respect to these technologies” (177).
Our students are on the writing “scene” already. Engaging students to activate their already existing knowledge and challenging them to go beyond what they know with new media is the task. Gifford Brooke acknowledges that this means a shift in teachers’ view of themselves: “Teachers must abandon the notion that all expertise must flow from the front of the classroom, particularly when it comes to technology” (182).
While this shift has been acknowledged before (the post-process idea of teacher as co-worker comes to mind), I believe that new media brings this shift into the classroom in a real and practical way. The shift allows room for students’ expertise and acknowledges their previous experience with writing.
However, the teacher must still create space for a reflective space as Gifford Brooke acknowledges. The teacher as a leader remains, even if one gives up more control with using new media.
Reflection is a key element to using new media, and this comes back to the responsibility piece as well. I have a complicated relationship with new media in the fact that I have a lot of privacy concerns (and image vs. reality concerns), but at the same time thoroughly enjoy how it can connect people who would otherwise not be connected. Too often, it is easy to use new media without reflecting on its full ramifications. Thus, entering it into the classroom requires a lot of reflection on both the part of the teacher and the students.
The exciting possibilities that new media brings can breathe life into classrooms, but one must be careful to not ““Add technology and stir” (180) as Gifford Brooke’s warns us.
The “add-and-stir” method is sometimes tempting, especially in the ever-changing world of new media where research cannot keep up. This is again an argument for reflective play and practice and responsibility.
And I am left with a set of responsible questions: What is the balance between responsibly meeting students where they are at and responsibly taking them to a different writing place? Where is the writing that they are going to be doing? What is my responsibility as a writing instructor?
Q1: Each of the readings for Thursday had some mention of time, specifically with how everything is speeding up. How do you see the speed of communication affecting writing? Affecting your classroom?
Q2: Gifford Brooke’s mentions new media as having formative assessment value (182). Do you use new media as a formative assessment? Or more summative? If so, how?
Q3: Do you use Zotero (as showcased on page 182)? It is pretty fantastic for organizing one’s academic library.