The first time I ever thought about the notion of remix and multimodal composition was during my Master’s studies, when I read Kathleen Blake Yancey’s 2009 article: “Re-designing Graduate Education in Composition and Rhetoric: The Use of Remix as Concept, Material, and Method.” Yancey inspired me to begin thinking beyond the traditional read-discuss-write format of most graduate courses—at least in my then-current program. I wish I had read Jason Palmeri’s book, Remixing Composition: A History of Multimodal Writing Pedagogy, sooner, because his explanation of composition’s multimodal history is eye opening. Who would have thought—composition has always been multimodal!
One of the most important concepts to take away is that multimodality does not limit itself to computers or digital composing; Palmeri examines means of composing with images, sounds, and words. Our students already process information multimodally (yes, I just made up that word), and they would benefit from multimodal assignments and assessments. While Cindy Selfe is a pioneer of multimodal assignments, Palmeri brings multimodal history into view, and offers some low-tech alternatives in the process.
My favorite part of Palmeri’s book is his ability to confront the skeptics of new technology. Fearing the bandwagon of new media, many teachers are hesitant to adopt new technology into the classroom. Of course it is their choice, but Palmeri explains how all technology once created those same unsure feelings, and examines how teachers overcame those feelings in the past. With one eye on the future, Palmeri’s book is reassuring.
I was able to use Palmeri’s assertions as support for my own research into social networking and the classroom, but I see value in his historiography and classroom activities as well. Honestly, I was shocked to hear that some colleagues found his book repetitive, but maybe I’m bias since Palmeri’s book is a favorite of mine 😉
… Have I mentioned how excited I am to meet Palmeri at BGSU in October??