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Joddy Murray (2009) describes perfectly why such analysis and critique of digital media technology is important for scholars and students. He writes, "No longer can writing remain as merely the enactment of alphacentric literacies because it is no longer the case that monomodal, alphanumeric texts encompass the entirety of textual production" (Murray, 2009, p. 163). In other words, written or print text is not THE way of composing anymore. Instead, composition is a mixed bag of modes and media all working together to create meaning, persuade, and argue. The choices we make in selecting and presenting visual images or any type of image (olfactory, tactile, gustatory, audio, etc.), as Murray points out, are important rhetorical decisions.

Selection is, thus, a multi-dimensional process and should not be considered isolated where one doesn't examine how verbal text and visual image work together to communicate. Murray (2009) and Kress (2010) support this view and emphasize the importance of multimodal creation as a whole rather than as separate modal units.

There’s more to what “Moving Images” affords, however, as you've seen. Another important dimension for teaching digital multimodality is described by Cynthia Selfe (1999). She explains a disservice we do to students when we teach one-dimensionally—when teachers teach students the technologies of how to create static and dynamic imagery but do not explore the critical differences between them. Selfe writes

Within the English studies programs that we design and administer, and participate in, we place everyone in jeopardy if we limit our understanding of technology and change to one dimension, if we teach students only one part of this complicated picture.
A good English studies curriculum will educate students robustly and intellectually rather than narrowly or vocationally. It will recognize the importance of educating students to be critically informed technology scholars rather than simply expert technology users. (1999, p. 322)

We do support Murray, Kress, and Selfe. We do, though, want to be clear that it is important to understand how digital media compositions work holistically through multiple modes and present certain materialities. It is not enough to simply teach students how to rhetorically critique multimodality and the affordances/constraints of digital media. It is important to teach students how to critically hyperread, and it is vital that they know how to create digital media vocationally—mechanically/technically. And this is because using digital technology isn’t necessarily as easy as hammering, nailing, taping, or non-virtually cutting and pasting.

Both kinds of expertise are not mutually exclusive and inform each other. The theoretical or critical and the technical help designers and audiences see possibilities or what could have been. They help writers/designers practice possibilities and make what could have been what is.

Using technology and knowing its affordances help students innovate and understand what can be created or even what needs to be created. In other words, we agree, for the most part, with the recommendations put forth by Hart-Davidson, Cushman, Grabill, DeVoss, and Porter (2005) in their description of how digital writing should be taught. For instance, they write

Teaching software is technical training that may meet immediate needs, but it does not expand students' intellectual capacity. Thus our instruction teaches composing with technologies as an integrated process and as a liberal art—that is, we see our task as helping students acquire the intellectual and critical capacities they need to critique and choose among available options and to acquire new knowledge for themselves as tools develop and evolve.

While we do agree that composition instructors' task is to facilitate students' critical abilities and instruct students in technologies as an "integrated process" married to practice, we believe it is harsh to assume technical training does not expand "students' intellectual capacity." For us, it assumes students' critical thinking skills are modular and shut down when being trained in technical processes. It also assumes that it is enough to let students learn the technical on their own—that anyone can do it. This is not always the case. Often even digitally savvy students need help imagining how to make a software work the way they want. Instead of thinking of technical training as something that is limiting, we like to imagine it as an expansive avenue for developing literacies. Whether it is HTML, CSS, JavaScript or insert image, export to movie, cut and paste, and drag and drop, technical knowledge is literacy. The more technical knowledge students and instructors possess about digital writing be it Web 2.0 applications, Adobe's suite, or the various codes for designing web pages, the better they are able to "critique and choose among available options and to acquire new knowledge for themselves as tools develop and evolve."

We do not mean to suggest that composition instructors need to receive a B.S. in computer programming or a B.A. in graphic design, but we do see value in Bradley Dilger's call to "learn code" at the 2011 Computers and Writing Conference. We feel it is an instructional responsibility to learn and continue learning how to use the technologies we critique in our classes. While it is beyond the scope of this essay to imagine the institutional and structural support needed for such development, we mean to point out that for instructors and students to really "get" theory it's important to learn how to apply that theory and work with the technologies whose products we critique.

Finally, we want to emphasize the practical results of technical knowledge. While we agree it is important for students to learn how to acquire knowledge themselves, it is also important to directly help students acquire that knowledge. Sometimes instructors need to troubleshoot and show students how to use Photoshop's magic eraser tool to modify an image or scan their CSS for issues because sometimes acquiring knowledge becomes a frustrating and endless quest. Sometimes we think this frustration can inhibit student development and cause them to quit an idea rather than explore alternative possibilities. Paul remembers a student trying to float images and use margins on a web page so that her hyperlinks looked like leaves blowing across the page. She was getting frustrated because she couldn't see how absolute positioning would have solved this problem. If he hadn't had that technical knowledge and helped her, we imagine she would have given up on that idea. Certainly, she would have created something else that would have been just as good, but we feel part of our purpose as instructors is to assist students in achieving their vision as much as possible. We feel that as instructors we must balance students’ ability to acquire knowledge through their own with our own practical knowledge that can assist them "on time" or in those frustrating moments.