Technology and I have a complicated love/hate relationship. I have always viewed devices and programs as wonderful inventions and appreciate them as they serve to improve my life; however, when it becomes a requirement (email), or an expected convention (Facebook), I tend to become resentful and withdraw. I want to fully embrace the technology that is available to me, yet find myself resisting complete assimilation.
I grew up in the era of cabbage patch kids and tinker toys, books were paper, and music was purchased on cassette tapes. At age 18 I received my first cell phone, as big as a brick, and about as heavy. As these items have changed, evolved, and become digitized I have appreciated their improvements as much as anyone. Now my toys, books, and music exist in one pocket-sized device, which also serves as my one and only phone. The convenience is astounding and the dissemination of technology among the American public, remarkable.
Yet, I am concerned. What does this mean for education? How do we bring something as commonplace as technology into the writing classroom with purpose and directed focus on composition? This question has bothered me, and it is clear that I am not alone. As Matthew Kirschenbaum argues, the Digital Humanities is a growing field that is gaining attention and traction within the academic community. The general connection with English seems, as he suggests, logical; but the reality of such a coupling is problematic as many English teachers are not properly trained in such instruction.
I am coming to this class with these, and many other questions about the importance of technology in composing and it’s implications in the writing classroom. I also hope to better understand my own reluctance to regularly participate in online communities, while generally embracing the addition of the digital in my personal and professional world. Perhaps a better understanding of technologically-based mediums will lead to a willingness to engage more readily.