Rhetoric & DH Replacing Computer Classes in K12

Douglas Walls’ chapter “In/Between Programs: Forging a Curriculum between Rhetoric and the Digital Humanities” had me wondering how this could translate in K12 classrooms.

At my high school, we no longer require or offer an introductory computer class because administration and staff assume that these “digital natives” know enough to consider hem digitally literate. When I started high school in 2005 (shh…don’t judge me), computer classes were no longer required but were still there. What we are finding is that there is still a divide between students and their abilities to manipulate technology. Cue digital humanities and rhetoric…

I think that DH could have its place in a “computer” class in K12 schools. Students do not need to learn how to type X amount of words per minute if they are engaging with programs that include this, but do not necessarily focus on speed. Besides, not all jobs exactly care about that anymore, or typing is something that can be acquired. What students could really stand to gain is how to be creative and mindful when making choices in using technology.

The easiest way would be to start with social media and analyze the rhetoric behind others’ profiles and pages while simultaneously exploring ways to set up students’ pages and profiles. After listening to my peers’ book reviews, I know there is much research behind this and many directions a teacher may go.

After getting an idea of rhetoric and a brief introduction to DH, students could move into disciplinary projects that would help them to understand what writing looks like in that discipline or what it could look like.


The only thing that would be difficult, I think, is how the DH teacher would collaborate with the disciplinary teachers to determine what genres would be appropriate. Initially, I think it would launch well, but I wonder how it would continue down the road as it needs updating. Like Walls, I also wonder if certain teachers would seek to get more screen time on their projects. Regardless, I think this would be worth looking into for schools who want to incorporate technology classes. but not refer back to the traditional computer classes.