The big announcement today was Apple’s new tablet computer. I suspect there were no women on the design team, or else it wouldn’t have ended up with the name iPad (on a related note, a trending topic on Twitter: iTampon). I was teaching at the time of the announcement and joked with my students about how hard it was not to just pop open a window on the computer to see how the press conference was going. So one of them came up and the end and showed me the news story on his iPhone. Gotta love it.
I’m teaching the Writing for New Media course. We do a lot of our assignments on line, so if you want to follow along, bookmark our blog. I’m hoping to learn a lot from them about their interactions with new media. My focus has been on what they actually do and not on what they think they ought to do when in class. For example, one student asked about using Wikipedia. I have colleagues who ban any reference to Wikipedia, but let’s be realistic: students are going to use it. Why not teach them how to use it thoughtfully? For example, examine the results at different times to see whether — and how — the entry changes, determine what sort of sources have been used to establish the information, and whether there are controversies made explicit in the entry.
In the end, it’s not about the information: it’s about having the intellectual tools to critically examine it.