This weekend, I took a break from the digital. A real one. I left my computer at home and went on a trip with my girlfriends from my first grad school. Its been a few years since we graduated from Georgetown's Communication, Culture Technology program, but it's interesting how the majority of us have continued to work within the field of digital communication. I say most of us, because unlike my four girlfriends, I find the work I am doing to prepare me to graduate with a PhD has nothing to do with digital media. Although I have a vested interest in how to create better bridges between digital communication and education, and continue to read about advances in the field, I find that I am fast becoming a digitech tourist: one who can relay bits and pieces at a party, but not the intricate workings. I find that just preparing to become a scholar of rhetoric and critical race theory has taken time away from my previous work on the digital divide and e-racism. Simply put, I spend more time on grounding myself in ethnicity/race and traditional media theories and less on actual practice.
While I incorporate technology in my classroom, it is not to teach the students how to master the technology, but rather to facilitate learning in a subject that *seems* like it is a dying art (rhetoric is not a dying art, mind you). I find that technology is fast becoming a means to an end rather than the end, as I get further along in my studies. I often spend the majority of my time trying to get my students to understand principles of racism, racial bias, and the traditional medias role in that bias; undergraduates understand how images and ideas circulate digitally, but there seems to be less understanding when it comes to traditional modes of exchange that preceded the digital. I often am worried that adding a more complex focus on technology within my discussion will detract from the public speaking class I have been assigned. As it is, I am pushing the limit in terms of adding in theories about race and visualization in a class that traditionally focuses on ethos, pathos,and logos.
I am wondering if this a natural struggle to have and if anyone else in a field that is somewhat more traditional has this problem and has found a viable solution. Itd be nice to hear your thoughts.