Technology as a Boon and a Challenge

Technology as Boon and Challenge to the English Classroom

As composition instructors, we are challenged to teach our students to write, a practice which is easier if they are motivated and interested. Engaging them in a real-world writing situation with an immediate and focused audience, the discourse community of the internet, seems a relevant approach. Many students do not even recognize electronic text as writing (Lenhart, et al) since they compartmentalize knowledge (Abbott and Nance) and expanding their writing into a social medium could encourage them to see relationships between their education and the rest of their lives (“Theory and Research-Based Principles of Learning”).

Despite the boon technology offers to the classroom, many professors are reticent about employing it. We may be afraid to give up our status as epistemological authorities and become novices again and we assume our students, as digital natives, have a higher knowledge level than we do (Bransford, Brown, and Cocking).

There are a few issues for the students as well. The pervasiveness of the internet in modern America can become a detriment to students, if they use leetspeak to write (Lee). In addition, though many students are fluent participants, other students have never used the internet (Jones). Taking advantage of the opportunities technology offers requires that these students gain mastery over content specific learning as well as over technology in the same course.

Technology can expand the students’ ability to read, write, research, and learn, if we are willing to expand our classroom repertoire.

The above was written for an MLA proposal. Recently I have run into some blog posts on the topic that are worth reading.

Teachers and technology

5 Reasons we aren’t integrating technology

Also, a report on the influence (or lack thereof) of technology on assessment.

Update: This was not accepted.

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