which comes first?

Concepts of pedagogy are reflected in nearly everything I do that requires interaction with others, with technology, and with media in general. Having had a background in educational technology / instructional design/technology, I find that every decision I make in regards to technology comes down to a few basic questions that I ask of that technology:

  1. What is its impact on the targeted audience?
  2. Does it fulfill a need that is not otherwise fulfilled?
  3. Am I engaging technology for the sake of the technology, or for the sake of improving communication?
  4. Who does this implementation benefit?
  5. What is the purpose of the implementation?

I think some of these questions come from my technology background, some arise from my rhetorical training. In all dilemmas, I am thinking about audience and purpose. While doing so, I’m considering new ways to engage my audience (whether that is in the classroom, at a conference, or with colleagues).

It boils down to the question of “Am I using the right tool for the right situation?”

I think, with all of the tools at our disposal, we often rush in without considering the need or purpose of the tool. Why should we? It takes 2 seconds to make it happen.

But the ramifications are that we may establish a foundation that leaks. If that technology is not kept up, if it is abandoned mid-building, what does that say to the authority of the developer, the construction of a cohesive identity, and the ability of us, as rhetors and instructors, to anticipate the needs of our audiences?

I love technology. I often rush into it with abandon when applying it to my own desires. This often helps me define how it will be used in a larger setting. When it comes to implementing it on a grander scale, especially in the classroom or for colleagues, I’m much more restrained and thoughtful, using the knowledge I’ve gained from personal use and interactions, to determine its purpose within the greater network.

Finally, I adhere to the adage that “just because we can, doesn’t mean we should.”

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