In What Ways is it Easier or Harder to Teach Students by Incorporating New Media?

When reading our assigned articles, I always try to think of a response that considers either a practical application of insights gleaned from the reading or a meta-cognitive response to the theoretical perspective(s) suggested therein.  Since this article was more of a case study, it got me thinking about the “specific conditions of access” Hawisher & Selfe note as one of the themes of the article.  To generate some thought about the significance of these conditions of access, I realized a problem, followed by a question.

The problem, I would argue, is that postsecondary English instructors are primarily faced with the challenge of “getting all students on the same page,” in terms of achieving SLOs and becoming proficient writer-readers, despite their disparate abilities, aptitudes, literacy backgrounds, and extenuating circumstances of life which can affect student success.  Therefore, adding to that challenge, we now must consider (for the sake of student preparedness and our own effectiveness as teachers) how to accomplish the comprehensive goal of achieving these SLOs while incorporating new media and new literacies in our pedagogical practices.  As I stated in my previous post about developing writerly identities, “both instructors and students are poised to take advantage of technology, new media, and new literacies as positive and innovative tools and avenues for promoting literacy acquisition and a more sophisticated development of writerly identities for students.”  However, I want to ask my colleagues who are currently teaching whether or not they feel that the benefits of students writing in a digital space (as an extension of classroom activity) outweigh the challenges of “getting students on the same page” regarding digital literacy proficiency?  Expressly, is it even harder now to teach students how to read and write at the postsecondary level because of the added elements of instruction in new media?  If so, what are some ways of meeting those new challenges? If not, how does the inclusion of new media in pedagogical practice mediate literacy acquisition in ways that traditional methods have lacked?

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