Resource Blog # 2 The Digital Imperative: Making the Case for A 21st Century Pedagogy

This article by Clark (2009) was a real eye opener. Clark begins the article commenting on Yancey’s NCTE publication (2009); she writes “writing in the 21st Century is a call to action, a call to research and articulate new composition.” She discusses six points and a conclusion; however for the sake of brevity I am only going to cover three points and also touch on using Blogs. The first point, which she calls Gutting the Gutenberg pantheon: Changing “habits of thought.” She discusses how Guttenberg’s press in 1450 changed the way that books were made from a single book, “one at a time by hand,” to printing several hundreds of copies of books per year. Clark discusses that in 50 years or less the way of producing books had changed, also as people views on producing books changed. She ties this in to today’s “digital revolution.” She also suggests that the digital media will also be able to manifest this change by “the power of digitally distributed knowledge.”

However,  I believe her main point was in getting people to change their way of thinking. I also believe that people do not like change, and there are usually people who will drag their feet instead of going with the new change. We get comfortable with things good or bad, it is something we know, it is safe. I know because sometimes, I too am also resident to change.  I believe this what the first part of this article is about “Change.” Not only change, but “Changing “habits of thought.” When you can get people to change the way they view things or the way they act by modifying their behavior you will definitely see change.  But it is difficult to get people at  first to embrace change, we are usually set in our ways.

 Clark’s second section is called “Challenging the willful disconnect: making the case for a 21st century rhetoric.”  She brings up Peter Elbow in this section, I have been doing a lot of independent reading on Peter Elbow from  articles such as “Closing  My eyes as I Speak: An Argument For Ignoring Audience,”  to “Voice in Writing Again: Embracing Contraries,” to his classic, “Writing Without Teachers, and other superb articles. She writes, “Since the advent of Peter Elbow’s ground breaking composition faculty have struggled to introduce the idea of authorship and authority in the classroom, encouraging students to take ownership over their own writing.” This is part of what we are talking about in 21st century writing, she suggests that when “technology changes, so does society and necessarily, the classroom.”

 The third point she brings up in this article that is strongly connected to my research is what she calls ePortfolios: Crafting the digital persona.  I will be including portfolios in my classes, but as I learn more about  ePortfolios, I will be adding them later. The purpose of this section is how Clark  demonstrates a student’s writing through ePortfolios. She points out that she has used ePortfolios from Basic Writing, Composition I, and Creative Writing to her other classes. Clark discusses a student by the name of “Ally” who was in her 101 class, but was not writing at the 101 level. By using the ePortfolio and Blogs, “Ally” was able to become a better writer. At the end of the term “Ally” was selected by Clark to show her work at “the college wide ePortfolio Showcase.”

 Clark argues “ePortfolios are a powerful tool for engagement in my courses.” Another point that was brought up was the question of public and private writing. Clark writes.  “Many student s assume the right to publish…from photographs to personal narratives.”  Clark discusses the idea of “crafting a digital persona.” She discusses a student who wrote an autobiographical piece about how she got to this country, (she came in the country illegally). Though Clark and the university did not have a problem with this, they were afraid for the safety of the young lady as she had given to many details, of her adventure naming names, dates, and times. They were afraid that INS might try an deport her or even worse that somebody else might want to try to harm her. This goes to show the power of autobiographical writings.

Clark also discusses digital stories, which I want to, tie in with autobiographical writings and the use of Blogs. She writes, “We study and discuss the format of Blogs as a means of creating arguments in online writing.”


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