Our purpose in this final section of Techno-velcro to Techno-memoria is to explore the possibilities that a pedagogy of techno-memoria can offer. We believe that by honoring Villanueva's invitation to bring memoria into the classroom as well as our request regarding techno-rhetorical practice, we open rhetorical possibilities for student agency. A pedagogy of techno-memoria attempts to show students that they are always already rhetors though they may not realize it.


We know, however, that our pedagogy is nascent, and we call upon scholars and teachers to assist us in creating a progymnasmata for this pedagogy of techno-memoria. By offering a list of techno-memoria possibilities intended to persuade teachers of the importance of such a pedagogy, we describe important topics that this pedagogy could address. While this list of topics is in no way complete, we offer them as points of entry, each of which offers theoretical and practical ideas.


Moving away from Literacy 


Rather than referring to students as techno-literate, we believe the term techno-rhetors is more appropriate. While some students certainly are techno-literate in that they understand how to use a number of multimodal technologies and can understand the meanings of such texts, we agree with Kress (2010), who criticized use of the word literacy to describe this knowledge. He wrote,

As a tool for research or theory-making it [literacy] obliterates vast areas of significant specificities. For the everyday task of drawing our attention to that variety of meaning which we make and which surround us it is too blunt an instrument. (p. 102)


We suggest developing assignments that connect rhetoric to students' knowledges and their uses of technology in and with their families. Families, after all, are part of an important extra-curriculum in students' lives. We are looking for assignments that explore more specifically how techno-rhetoric is learned and is "a complex set of socially and culturally situated values, practices, and skills involved in operating linguistically within the context of electronic environments, including reading, writing, and communicating” (Selfe, 1999, p. 11).

While a techno-autobiography is an assignment that digital writing studies has used for decades to get at students' techno-literacy histories, these assignments sometimes fail to ask students to explore how they learned a practice or to address the rhetorical limits a particular technology has offered in extracurricular situations. In addition, these assignments may not examine the "significant specificities” of the rhetorical possibilities offered in modes and media—the choices we have to manipulate different modes and mediums. Expanding on Selfe's notion, above, we need to acknowledge that while students may have a rhetorical quiver, that quiver often assumes one mode or one medium—one arrow—when really there are many modes and mediums working together in communicative practices often hitting multiple targets (audiences) simultaneously. We need to develop assignments that connect family learning and rhetoric to their technological practices.  



Memoria and Oblivio are Friends of Ours


While we strongly support using memoria, we also want to complicate the relationship between memory and rhetoric. Viktor Mayer-Schönberger, in his 2009 work delete: The Virtue of Forgetting in the Digital Age, criticized digital media’s capacity to store information and serve as a nearly comprehensive mnemonic for human memory. One important danger he observed regarding the completeness of digitization is

that when confronted with digital memory that conflicts with our human recollection of events we may lose trust in our own remembering…. As digital remembering relentlessly exposes discrepancies between factual bits and our very own human recall, what we may lose in the process is the trust in the past as we remember it. (p. 119)


Mayer-Schönberger’s ideas, echoing Plato's Phaedrus, are especially important since digital culture seems to encourage families to manipulate memories—to induce certain kinds of forgetting. Forgetting is the flip side of memoria. Because of that relationship, oblivio is also a friend of ours. For instance, the angry mother-in-law whose son has undergone a bitter divorce may decide to crop her former daughter-in-law out of family pictures, thus making a rhetorical move to forget and re-member. If pictures are a database informing a child about her parent’s relationship, the memory is missing—the memory of the family together is obliterated. For us, it is important for students to understand how memory is often a selective process where mementos are also tools for both remembering and forgetting. In a pedagogy of techno-memoria, we need exercises and assignments exploring the meanings created through digital erasure and the resulting revision of memoria


Public Privicity


Scholars in composition studies are no strangers to issues of the public and private. Before the wide availability of social networking, David Bleich (1998) encouraged writing teachers to adopt a pedagogy of "disclosure, genre, and membership,” arguing that "disclosure introduces the latent and potential contingencies of class members’ lived experiences in the texts of discussion, of writing, or collaboration, and of pedagogy” (xviii).


Now that we have stepped into a social networking techo-rhetorical age, it is important for students to be aware of how they present these lived experiences. Often the seemingly private becomes public. As danah boyd (2008) observed, privacy

is about how people experience their relationship with others and with information. Privacy is a sense of control over information, the context where sharing takes place, and the audience who can gain access. Information is not private because no one knows it; it is private because the knowing is limited and controlled. (p. 7)

Our students have most likely experienced awkward family situations with regards to displays of inappropriate information over which they did not have control. An incriminating picture, for instance, showing a past obsession with 1980’s 'hair bands' like Poison and Guns N' Roses could be information a person may want to suppress. Online, family is contributing to the complex rhetorical situation of what may be publicized and what remains private through social networking sites. A Nielsen survey found that more than seventy percent of parents "friend" their children on Facebook ("Should parents 'friend' their kids on Facebook?", 2010, para. 7). This situation requires children (or our students) and parents (often our students as well) to develop rhetorical awareness about posting information about themselves and their families. Disclosing or opening the door to discussions about manipulating public and private information is a way to encourage rhetorical awareness regarding cultural assumptions about information control.


A pedagogy of techno-memoria would bring students’ seemingly private, lived experiences into the classroom and would welcome narratives of memory. It would also welcome discussions about controlling private and public sharing of memories—of information—for different audiences. A pedagogy of memory and disclosure demands that the gap between what is private/memory/pathos and what is public/academic discourse/ethos be better understood.



A pedagogy of techno-memoria may be "unruly” and positioned "in the middle of things” (Haraway, 2004b, p. 77), but we believe that position is productive. Like those calling for more feminist rhetorical practices—practices that "manifest themselves . . .in everyday activities” (Kirsch & Royster, 2010, p. 63)—we believe we should invite this new pedagogy into our classrooms. Developing postmodern rhetors who recall their techno-rhetorical memories and velcro different pieces of their rhetorical abilities together to meet varying exigencies may seem daunting. Despite that, we believe the rewards are worth the challenge.