Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Openings for New Media

Wysocki, Anne Frances. “Opening New Media to Writing:  Openings and Justifications.”   Writing New Media : Theory and Applications for Expanding the Teaching of Composition. Anne Frances Wysocki et al. Logan: Utah State University Press, 2004. 2%-17%.  Kindle Edition.
In this piece, Anne Frances Wysocki provides a framework for how individuals in the field of Rhetoric and Composition might understand the place of new media in contemporary classroom.  She develops this framework by outlining the ways in which “what we know about writing can usefully affect how we approach new media” (4%).  Through this framework, Wysocki is able to meet skeptics of new media where they are.  She is able to draw on beliefs they already hold about writing instruction to provide the foundation for argument for how new media might be treated in the classroom. 
Her foundation and argument are presented through five “openings” wherein writing and new media meet.  Opening 1 argues for the need to use what we know about writing already to inform our way of thinking about new media.  In particular, she argues that writing teachers already examine texts and the means in which people use texts.  This knowledge should be married with what we know about new media to approach the these texts most effectively.  Second, she argues that we should consider the role the materiality of the text plays in our meaning making, both for writing and new media.  

Next, she outlines the need to define new media in terms of its materiality and to understand that new media does not only refer to digital text, but texts made out of anything.  As a forth opening, she outlines the value in having composition students create new media texts as a means for helping them understand the role of materiality in composition.  Lastly, she acknowledges the need for “generous reading;” this receptive form of reading is encouraged to account for the fact that if we are to be open to these first four notions, we must be prepared to read the resulting texts without casting premature judgement based upon their non-traditional form.
In addition to this theoretical framework, however, Wysocki also gives suggestions for praxis.  Rather than leaving her reader to imagine how these ideas might be brought into the classroom, she gives specific examples to help get the reader started.  These examples include in-class activities, suggested discussion topics, paper assignments and homework activities.  
These activities are well suited for the new teacher just beginning to learn to produce lesson plans and prepare classroom materials to meet specific outcomes because they are specific and include clear goals for each activity.  However, these activities are also valuable for the seasoned practitioner who might be interested in the value new media might bring to his or her classroom, but also unsure of where to begin.  Rather than having to begin with experimental activities, the seasoned practitioner might first attempt integrating new media concepts using activities developed and vetted by experts in the field.  

1 comment:

  1. NOTE: This blog was my first time writing using a Kindle book as my reference. As a result, reference to page numbers are replaced with percentages. I have not been able to find any definitive material about how this issue is to be addressed in MLA.