In their discussion of reimagining and repurposing teaching philosophies, DeVoss et al make a strong case for using technology intentionally and reflecting upon its role in the classroom and writing process. For example, they refer to Dickie Selfe’s plea that “writing teachers not… allow technology to drive their pedagogies” (DeVoss 30). Rather, writing teachers should approach technology as a set of “tools that can be chosen, adopted, modified, and, if need be, abandoned” (DeVoss 30). I love that these authors emphasize choice. While mandatory addition of technology has not been an issue in my own teaching experience (the opposite, in fact), I have many friends (including in this class) at schools that are 1-to-1 or have smartboards, etc. that the teachers are/feel obligated to use even when they are not sure of the pedagogical merits of said piece of technology. Rather than using the tool because it is there, teachers should make a conscious decision that a given piece of technology helps meaningfully advance their teaching philosophy and goals. One of the authors cleverly chose to represent his stance that technology should not drive his pedagogical beliefs by placing a brain in the center of his teachnology collage, with lines pointing outwards.
At the same time, there is obviously value in being willing to experiment with new technologies by modifying assignments, adding new projects, etc., so in some cases the inclusion of new technological tools may be a necessary catalyst for creativity and innovation that would not happen otherwise. Of course, as the authors remind us, critical reflection on one’s teaching practice is key. Digital technologies offer opportunities to grow and change our pedagogy, and we need to take the time to “[identify] the value we place in such extensions and transformations” (DeVoss 35). Our teaching can and should change, but that process should always be led by our pedagogical beliefs and values.