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This page was created by the following members of Karen Uehling’s graduate class Teaching Basic Writing in the Spring of 2015:

Adam Byrd and Jason Montgomery


This wiki page, while focused on Web 2.0 technologies, is about so much more. Technology is shifting, and students find themselves seeking to adapt to new digital technology in a bid to remain relevant and avoid obsolescence in the workforce. Some students come fully versed in this “new literacy” where nearly every piece of writing has an audience and digital technology is a way of life. Unfortunately, many of the students coming into our BW classrooms have not had enough exposure to develop this literacy and may find themselves at a disadvantage. This page is intended to help foster a sense of techno-pragmatism among instructors, which will allow us to foster techno-literacy among students, by exploring both the practical and pedagogical implications of technological developments in the basic writing classroom.

What is Techno-pragmatism?

Like many instructors, we are techno-pragmatists, which is positioned somewhere between technophobes and technophiles. Techno pragmatists judge each piece of technology based on its ability to meet the need of instructors and/or students, as well as its usefulness within and outside the classroom. We believe many students in our classes are seeking to not only become better academics and writers, but also seeking to gain skills necessary to become viable within the job market, which includes digital literacy. The purpose of this Wiki is to explore Google Apps for Education and other Google tools and offer insights and recommendations for their implementation in the BW classroom. As with any digital tool there are pros and cons associated with the use of each Google tool, and technology should never be implemented into a class until it has been established that it meets a practical need with the pros outweighing the cons.

How has the Conversation about Digital Technology Developed in the BW Community?

The BW community had a prolific discussion of digital technology from 1998 and 2003. Articles published during this time spoke to the need for increased techno-literacy, but we now find that much of this conversation exists in the “old web”. The old web showed us how to take information and present it in a digital medium. Some instructors may remember such cutting edge software as Encyclopedia Britannica on CD-ROM, or programs that guided students through grammar exercises. Some instructors may have had a personal webpage for prospective and current students to visit.

The new web, “Web 2.0” as it’s been dubbed, is all about sharing of information and collaboration. Encyclopedia Britannica has given way to Wikipedia; personal sites have become blogs and wikis. This new web requires a renewed and sustained discussion about the role of digital technology within the classroom.

This conversation is emerging, and articles such as Virginia Crank’s “Asynchronous Electronic Peer Response in a Hybrid Basic Writing Classroom.” and Linda J. Stine’s “The Best of Both Worlds: Teaching Basic Writers in Class and Online” have discussed the pros and cons of introducing Web 2.0 technology into the classroom. Speakers at The CCCC have also spoken of this emergent technology and its place in the classroom. Technology is developing rapidly, and so to must these conversations. Jeffrey T. Grabill in 1998 spoke about BW’s lack of access to technology in “Technology, Basic Writing and Change”. Since Gabrill’s piece, technology has become more prevalent, but in looking through educational journals, we can see other disciplines have been making use of emergent technology that BW is only now gaining exposure to. If we are to avoid a similar disparity to the one Gabrill identified in 1998 we must embrace a techno-pragamtist attitude and promote a sustained discussion of Web 2.0 digital technology.

Why Google?: An Invitation to Edit

In deciding to focus on Web 2.0 technology, we determined it would be wise to start with technology we had the most experience in using. In addition to Google, a survey we conducted showed instructors were especially interested in learning more about Digication and EasyBib, and so we have included an exploration of those two products as well.

This page is not intended to be just about Google, and it is our sincere hope that others, who have experience using other Web 2.0 technologies aside from Google, will do for them what we have done for Google.

Please feel free to contribute to this wiki page.

Do not delete this line NewFAQs

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Page last modified on April 22, 2017, at 12:12 PM