Technology as a Tool: Evolving Rhetoric and Composition

There are many great points and arguments made in Kathleen Blake Yancy’s article, Made not only in words: Composition in a New Key but the one I found most interesting has to do with using technology as a tool to write rhetorically.

Yancy quotes Leu when she says “we need to learn how to read and write, e-texts- synthesizing, questioning, evaluating, and importing from them- databases and catalogues, hypertexts and archives, Web essays and portfolios (816).

I believe this information is crucial for the composition classroom for a few different reasons. First, we (as compositionists) rely heavily on language in order to write. From what I remember form taking a language course a few years ago, language must constantly evolve if it wants to continue to as a language. Any language that does not evolve will eventually face extinction. If we view language as a tool itself and that tools needs to evolve, then the way we teach language/ writing must also evolve. Therefore, we must step up our technology skills and learn to adapt to modern day technologies. What sorts of technology are students currently using? Snap chat, texting, and memes?

Secondly, this reminds me of our last reading by Cynthia and Richard Selfe Jr. Selfe and Selfe stress technology and and electric contact zones which leads me to believe that we as teachers need to be literate within technology. Selfe and Selfe state, “Few composition programs or English Departments, however, make a system effort to provide parallel instruction on technology issues they touch on educational projects” (755). This is one to begin heading in the right direction of getting compositions teachers to correctly learn how to navigate through popular technologies so they can teach them within their own classrooms. Once the teacher has learned to how properly navigate, s/he can teach more efficiently by incorporating those technological devices within the classroom.


  1. What are some popular technological devices students are currently using?
  2. How can we include some of this technology into the classroom?
  3. Are their programs that can be incorporated into an English program to help teachers become more computer/technological literate?
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About hflute

Heather is currently teaching two sections of English 120 at NDSU while on a journey through academic enlightenment through the path of English Composition. She is passionate about reading a variety of books and is always excited to become encapsulated in an engaging research project. She also loves coffee and puns.

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