Same as It [N]ever Was: Some rough thoughts on how technology may be influencing the English classroom
About a year ago, I conducted an inquiry similar to the work of Hicks, Young, Kajder, and Hunt (2012) in which they explored lessons learned about writing, technology, and multimedia as documented in the past 100 years of English Journal articles. My inquiry was slightly different in that I was looking more generally at the influence of emerging technologies (copy machine, typewriter, moving picture, etc.) as documented in the English Journal. My findings were very similar to the findings of Hicks et al. (2012). While the technologies brought about different ways for students to engage in content, nothing really changed. It is at this point that the authors and I went our separate ways.
I completely agree with authors' call that we need to stop looking for that magical technology that is going to change everything and get to the work of teaching English. I agree because I believe the technology itself will not change anything; however, the ethos associated with emerging technologies could. As popular technologies are taken up by the culture and infused into daily life, they influence the way we see things. Media technologies have historically held a strong foothold in our society as well as our English classrooms. As media is based in communication, it is easily integrated into English curriculum. In the past decade, media has become exponentially more interactive. The ability to broadcast, or narrowcast, on a global scale is now possible for anyone with an internet connection. All mediums of publication are now more accessible than ever before. This change in access to media creation has expanded the ways we communicate. The influence this change is having on how we see things is starting to enter the classroom.
Currently, it is very challenging to identify exactly how our shifted perspective is influencing our approaches to education, but the influence is there. I believe that Hicks et al. (2012) had it right when they quoted Ghandi encouraging teacher to be the change they want to see. It's not about the technology. It's about how the technology is shifting how we think about and approach communication. The technology itself will not change anything, but we will.