Some things that Mike said have had me wondering how much of the trying to keep up with the techno-nerds is really worth it. How much will using the technology that we do have available pay off, and will the pay off be greater than the losses in terms of time and distractions from teaching what I'm really here to teach?
On the other hand, Jeff's comment, "It's not a question of the tools.
It's a question of how the tools shape the ways we communicate, whether or not we use those tools," has had me thinking that to at least a degree the technology is what I'm here to teach. Computer skills have become inseparable from writing skills in that the students have to know how to deliver the writing in order to make real use of it.
Yesterday, when my friend talked to her student about his grades, she said, "You keep charging around on white stallions, but what I told you to do was plow the mule." I feel like I've landed in a place with this blog where everyone is charging around on stallions, but I'm just here to plow the mule. Sometimes the posturing, theorizing, hoof-scratching, and snorting around stuff is useful to me. Sometimes it's not.
At any rate, Mike and Jeff are both right. We can no more afford to overwhelm our freshman writing classes with technology than we can to dismiss technology altogether.
I've been reading about community writing projects, and in the past few days I've been telling my colleagues about fifth grade classes doing PowerPoint presentations. I've been completely aghast at my own lack of ability to envision how to accomplish this in a college class. I kept repeating this to people on my campus, always ending with "There's no way I could do this here. Where would I get the equipment?" I told probably six or seven people who all agreed that it couldn't be done. The eighth person said, "I know where you can get a projector to borrow for a week or two on campus."
So sometimes it is our own defeatism that holds us back and nothing more. But we're still left with the question of how much it's worth it. That I simply don't know.