System, Self, and Society: Understanding and Controlling the Rhetoric of Information
Time and again we’ve been told that our students are digital natives–the most technologically savvy that have ever crossed the thresholds of our institutions, who are able to text, email, use Facebook, and play games on any and all devices and all at the same time–yet as our collective experience has likely shown, the concept
of the digital native is little more than a polite fiction.
In this talk, I will discuss the importance of understanding the social and cultural role of the information that surrounds us and our students and, to some extent, the usefulness of understanding the rhetoric of the underlying code that shapes these systems. As our students find themselves embedded in a society that is in no small part shaped by our information networks, it becomes necessary to investigate and interrogate how social and collaborative networking, information retrieval, content organization, and copyright issues pervade the lives of the modern student. As instructors who attempt to weave technology into our pedagogy, I discuss ways in which we can (and should) encourage and support student understanding of the function and limits of their own rhetorical choices within information production and retrieval.