Hart-Davidson, Bill and Steven D. Krause “Re: The Future of Computers and Writing: A Multivocal Textumentary”

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“Re: The Future of Computers and Writing: A Multivocal Textumentary” directed by Bill Hart-Davidson and Steven D. Krause offered an interesting look at the concerns and developments that are/were taking place for teachers and researchers in looking at computers and writing. The text flashes back and forth between scenes of conferences and interviews with individuals. Some people, such as Nick Carbone discuss “computers and writing” and “composition and rhetoric” are two different fields. Others, such as Mike Palmquist, think that the term “rhetoric and technology,” proposed by Eric Crump, covers the fields and puts them into one area. This brings people to the point of considering the changing fields and has Steven Krause asking, “Where is the boundary? How far afield can we go before we are in another field altogether” (488). Bill Hart Davidson believes that “our field will continue to push beyond the boundaries of the question ‘why teach writing with computers?’ to how might literate activity... be better supported given the network of technologies we now have available” (489). Kraue argues that “the distinction between computers and writing and composition-in-general is largely over” and that even teachers who do not use computers in the classroom understand the importance of this new technology (490). Becky Rickly sums everything up by saying that “rhetoric is vast” and it contains everything: rhetoric, computers, and much more (493). Rich Rice states “The medium isn’t the message. The medium and the message is the message” (495). The “Textumentary” ends with Michael Day posing three questions about computers and education while the scene flashes to the 2003 Conference and Hart-Davidson is heard saying “Does this wireless network change everything or what” (497)?! This last quote implies that the technology is always changing as is the definition of writing, rhetoric, etc. and that this discussion is far from being over.

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