Technology has become a necessary literacy for success in higher education – a functional literacy. Functional literacy doesn’t have to mean, shouldn’t mean it’s not scholarly. In fact critical literacy very much applies to technology and Selber breaks down the ways and relationships students have with technology. For me it is not unlike studying language via linguistics to unravel the language and power relationship. Or, when working-class background academics argue for the knowledge and cultural values gained from this background. Critical literacy then potentially implements knowledges like this in the classroom for use and for analysis.
Selber’s chapter three is a detailed look at critical literacy as applied to computers, technology use. I particularly liked the critically literate student in the parameters of institutional forces from Table 3.1: “A critically literate student understands the institutional forces that shape computer use” (96). In my English 101 class students have different preferences for their composing tools. Some buy into the older generations critique of technology as bad: we can’t spell, write full sentences, and therefore can’t think critically. Selber brings the critical thought to the tools we must use for at least part of the composing process, as well as thinking about the tools we might, or potentially must use for multimodal composing and assignments. Without using critical literacy toward technology as Selber does, I think we’ll have a difficult time successfully assigning technology laden multimodal projects.