Reading: Google Docs, DeVoss et al, “Teaching Philosophy”

DeVoss et al

Devoss writes: “Over and over, the authors of work we reviewed in preparing this manuscript argued something along the lines of “if you’ve taught, you have a teaching philosophy, you might just not know it yet!” Although DeVoss suggests this is not necessarily true, for me it was. I was not aware I had a teaching philosophy until I was asked to write one. In the process of doing so, I concluded my approach to teaching has been technology-centric. In short:

Meet the Machine.

Learn the Machine.

Use the Machine.

I have been bringing students to technology; not vice versa. This approach works with some audiences, but not with my current audience of writers.

The following excerpts from DeVoss provide a road map for updating my teaching philosophy. I hope to flip it from technology-centric to writer-centric.

“A technology philosophy statement is a statement that focuses on your stance toward and values related to technology in the classroom. It might address the tools you use to teach, why you use these tools, how you situate yourself vis-a-vis these tools, and how you reflect upon and assess your teaching with technology methods.”

“Kairos: A Journal of Rhetoric, Technology, and Pedagogy and provided questions designed to help us reflect upon and explore our experiences learning technologies, including (and, in part, inspired by Bridgeford, Kitalong, & Selfe, 2004):

  • What were your earliest experiences with a writing technology? With a digital writing technology? What do you remember about them? How did you use them? What did you write/create?
  • What’s the most difficult challenge you can remember related to learning a new tool or technology?
  • What’s the best moment you can remember related to using a new tool or technology?
  • How has your writing changed with or in relationship to digital writing technologies?
  • What does your current digital writing environment look like? The physical environment—computer, desk, surrounding area; the virtual environment—the desktop, screens, and interfaces you write within? How does this environment reflect your digital writing practices?
  • What digital tools do you currently use to write, compose, and/or create? What sorts of “texts” do you produce? How are the texts you produce different because they were created digitally?

Phill Alexander et al. / Computers and Composition 29 (2012) 23–38 29

These questions were followed by others that asked for reflection upon experiences in both being a student and a teacher, such as:

  • What are the least effective ways I’ve seen teachers use technology in the classroom?
  • What are the most effective ways I’ve seen teachers use technology in the classroom?
  • What are some of the best possible outcomes of teaching with technology?
  • What are my teaching with technology goals?
  • What skills and abilities do I want students to enhance or gain in my classroom?
  • What can XYZ tool or technology allow that more traditional means not allow, do, or facilitate?
  • How can I illustrate the claims I want to make about teaching with technology? How can I not only tell but also show my readers about my beliefs and values?”

” . . . translate [your] statements into slideshow presentations, with bulleted text, appropriate animations, and well-constructed design schemes.

. . . [translate your] statements into Web sites and . . . work to design spaces that [are] hypertextual, potentially nonlinear, and that require navigation and linking structures.

. . . rethink [your] statement as a digital–visual collage, in which the primary mode of explanation [is] through images . . . [craft] digital movies out of [your] statements.”

“Each of these activities were designed to help us connect the theoretical, technical, and the practical—to get us thinking about how information changes shape across genres and media, and to get us experimenting with the different tools available to write, craft, and compose digital work. And each of these activities was designed to situate teaching philosophy statements as living documents attentive to different means of composing.”


Using Backus-Naur Form as a notation to help close the gap between the human point of view and the machine point of view:

<multimodal text> ::= <mode> + <mode> [<mode>]…n

<mode> ::= <visual> | <aural > | <gestural> | <spatial> | <linguistic>

<visual> ::= <captured image>

Note: Human perception of an object, e.g., an image, has to be “captured” in order to be communicated. “Capture” is a process; in this case, an “image” is the object to process.

<aural> ::= <captured sound> | <emitted sound>

<gestural> ::= <captured intentional movement> | <intentional movement>

<spatial> ::= <captured position> | <position>

<linguistic> ::= <captured alphabetic string>

Note: Human language has to be “captured” in order to be communicated. “Capture” is the process; in this case, “alphabetic string” is the object to process.

<image> ::= <photo> | <painting> | <drawing> | <frame>

<frame> :: = <natural constraint> | <artificial constraint>

<natural> ::= <created by God>

<artificial> ::= <created by human(s)>

<sound> ::= <natural utterance> | <artificial utterance>

<intentional movement> ::= <natural movement> | <artificial movement>

<position> ::= <natural position> | <artificial position>

<alphabetic string> ::= <alphabetic character> ::= [<alphabetic character>]…n

<alphabetic character> ::=

Another way of looking at this:

input – process – output

input = object

object = image, sound, movement, position, or string

process = action

action = define and/or manipulate digitized objects and their attributes

output = user-defined result

Still working . . .

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