The Changing Spaces of Reading and Writing

Making Connections

Throughout the course there has been a lot of reflections in our Blog posts, and many of my classmates have commented on how the very nature of posting to the Blog has made them reflect on how they do so. Some individuals get right into it and type directly into the Blog, others type their entire post in a word document first, to be edited and polished before posting, and others do a mixture of the two methods or alternate between one method or the other depending on the topic or nature of that particular post or comment.


The very act of reading and commenting on each other’s posts requires us to reflect and express who we are, what we believe, and what knowledge and ideas we hold and/or chose to change. I really like how Bolter (2001, p.190) describes this as, “…we write both to express, to discover, and to share who we are, and in a postmodern age our written identity is, like hypertext, dynamic, flexible, and contingent”.


I have appreciated the use of tagging specific words within our posts to organize and categorize our topics and key words as it made it much easier to jump to similar-topic discussions. The diversity and creativity of topics, images, and ideas that have formed our online collection is stunning. There have been a lot of images and videos used in the Blog posts, not more or even equal to the amount of text (which has been massive!), but there has definitely been a “breakout of the visual” (Bolter, 2001). With the ease of uploading or linking these visual forms of representation, our Blog has become a visual world which has allowed us in many cases (my own posts included) to simply let the image or the video ‘do the talking’ and express the point we were trying to get across to our peers. Sometimes a picture really is worth a thousand words.  This was the case in the following posts:


The Media Revolution by Ashley Jones

Technology by Liz Hood

Melding the two T’s by Drew Ryan

New technology, old concept by Ashley Jones

Technology – definition by Lindsey Martin

Shedding the light on the meaning of technology by Ashley Jones

A matter of metaphor by Peg

Working smarter not harder by Ed Stuerle

Technology = system by Erin Gillespie

Derrida and writing by Stuart Edgar

Text by Stuart Edgar

Text by Liz Hood

Text we R, text i Am by Svetlana Gibson

Text by Noah Burdette

Text us…. by Ana Cecilia Tagliapietra


Although I have chosen to focus on the connections made on the Blog site, I have also really enjoyed using Vista and the Wiki. Using three different platforms has allowed for different methods of expression, high levels of creativity and an increase in the sharing of knowledge. Thank-you everyone for the excellent contributions and feedback, from which I have learned so much!



Bolter, D.J. (2001). Writing Space: Computers, Hypertext, and the Remediation of Print.London: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.


November 24, 2009   1 Comment


word cloud commentary 3

Social media is interpersonal media.  It supports the sharing of personal exchanges in new and unique ways. It is not the relationship between humans and machines that makes social media powerful. In contrast, it is the relationship facilitated between people through the use of machines to foster the building of social networks and a new network society.” (Barnes, Susan. 2009, p.23)


Social networking sites and online communities have, as Bryan Alexander (2006) states, “emerged as a major component of the Web 2.0 movement”. When using these sites, individuals can present themselves in a variety of different ways by choosing whether or not to accurately reveal their name, age, gender, physical appearance, personality and history. Individuals’ online identity is shaped by the details and information they do or do not indicate about themselves and the persona they present in each online community they belong to. As Bolter, (2001, p.190) mentions, “…we write both to express, to discover, and to share who we are, and in a postmodern age our identity is, like hypertext, dynamic, flexible, and contingent.”


In professional or work related online communities, individuals may chose to accurately reveal certain details (name, age, gender) about themselves while omitting others (history, groups you belong to). On the other hand, multi-user virtual environments such as MOOs and MUDs encourage or even require individuals to assume a completely imaginary persona. “Almost the sole purpose of chat rooms and MUDs and MOOs is the construction of and experimentation with the users’ identity” (Bolter, 2001, p.198).  Most other social networking sites and online communities fall somewhere in between, allowing for the individual to choose the depth of information they wish to share and whether that shared information is accurate or not.


“Higgins (1987) distinguished between ideal, ought, and actual self-concepts: the ideal self contains those qualities one strives someday to possess, the ought self those qualities one feels obligated to possess, and the actual self the one actually expresses to others at present.” (Bargh, McKenna, & Fitzsimons, 2002). The true self differs from these three as it is what one currently possess, but unlike the actual self, it is not fully expressed in social situations.


Wiszniewski and Coyne (2002) describe how whenever an individual interacts in a social setting they portray a “mask” of their identity. This “mask” allows the individual to choose what aspects of their identity they reveal. Individuals who act very different in the ‘real’ world than how they are really thinking and feeling inside, may feel more comfortable revealing and expressing certain aspect of themselves without fear of persecution in online situations.


John Suler mentions in his article The Online Disinhibition Effect (2004), “online identity has given people the opportunity to feel comfortable in wide-ranging roles, some of which may be underlying aspects of the user’s life that the user is unable to portray in the real world.” These opportunities may allow for the expression of ones true self. “Our true identity tends to be what we reveal about ourselves spontaneously, often right on the surface for others to see but without our being consciously awareness of it” (Suler, 2004). For some people, online situations allow them to become, as Suler (2004) says, “disinhibited” and reveal aspects of their personalities they wouldn’t normally share. A young man might be the ‘life of the party’ in the online chat room, yet be very shy in his day-to-day life. In this case it would seem that his outgoingness when communicating online is an aspect of his true self, whereas his shyness in face-to-face situations is an aspect of his actual self. Both are important aspects of his identity.


Individuals present variant aspects of their identity when using different media such as social networking sites, Blogs, online chat rooms, MOOs and MUDs, email, Skype, ‘real’ world relationships, and face-to-face conversations. Each of these different situations allow for an individual to express certain aspects of themselves, while concealing others. It is important to remember that, “The self expressed in one modality is not necessarily deeper, more real, or more authentic than another. They allow us to see the different perspectives of that complex thing we call identity.” (Suler, 2004).




Bargh, J., McKenna, K. and Fitxsimons, G. (2002). Can You See the Real Me? Activation and Expression of the “True Self” on the Internet. Journal of Social Issues, 58, 1 (33-48)


Barnes, Susan B. (2008). Understanding social media from the media ecological perspective. In Mediated Interpersonal Communication Eds. Elly Konijn, Inc NetLibrary, Elly Konijn. Boston: Routledge.


Bolter, D.J. (2001). Writing Space: Computers, Hypertext, and the Remediation of Print.London: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, Publishers.


Higgins, E.T. (1987). Self-discrepancy theory. Psychological Review, 94, 112-1134.


Suler, J. (2004). The Online Disinhibition Effect. The Psychology of Cyberspace. Retrieved from:


Wiszniewski, D. and Coyne, R. (2002). Mask and Identity: The Hermeneutics of Self-Construction in the Information Age.In K. Renninger & W. Shumar (Eds.), Building Virtual Communities: Learning and change in cyberspace. (pp.191-192). New York: Cambridge University Press.




November 22, 2009   1 Comment

Remix photo

Remix photo

I chose to remix a photo. The original photo was found on flickr and is a photo that the user ‘Whiskeygonebad’ had taken in 1976 while in the hallway of his high school. I decided to remix it and add an iphone and a laptop, two types of technology that we see high school students using in this day of age. Enjoy!


1. FDR HS Hallway 4 Students. / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
2. Ipod. / CC BY-NC-SA 2.0
3.  Laptop computer. Retrieved from the website at:—Laptop-Computer_web.jpg?&%3Bk=Laptop+Computer

November 15, 2009   1 Comment

Speech Recognition: Will it change the way we write?

At the beginning of his book, Bolter (2001, p.xiii) states, “At present, however, it seems to me that the computer is not leading to a new kind of orality, but rather to an increased emphasis on visual communication”.  While it is true that we are seeing an increase in visual modes of representation, we are also seeing an increase in the availability and usefulness of speech recognition technologies.  Perhaps the “pendulum” is also swinging back towards a new kind of orality (Bolter, 2001, p.xiii).

Speech recognition, also known as voice recognition, converts speech to text and allows users to verbally direct their computer to perform specific commands. With the use of a microphone (either an external one or one internally built into the computer) words dictated are reproduced into a word processor document.  Speech recognition allows the user to verbally specify punctuation, spell out acronyms, move the cursor, format texts, change fonts, save files (and more), all without touching the keyboard.   Errors can be corrected by speaking the name of the word which is incorrect and then saying “correct that”.   This will produce a list of words that closely match and one simply needs to speak aloud the number of the line that the correct word is on, followed by “click ok” and the word is corrected. 

 Speech recognition technologies are extremely beneficial for people with learning disabilities and those who are physically disabled.  A relative of mine, who was paralyzed from the neck down in a motorcycle accident, is able to dictate and send emails and update his Facebook page by using speech recognition. This technology could also help young children learn to read and write by allowing them to see on a computer screen, their spoken words turn into written words.  Cavanagh (2009) found that “Students who use speech recognition are writing more, writing independently, spelling correctly, using longer words, using more complex written language and writing thoughts that have never been written before”.   Another advantage, for people of all ages, is the ease of translating conversations, interviews, notes and other information into a word document, enabling easy access to all sections of the material.

 With the use of speech recognition, we will no longer be restricted by the speed at which we can write or type, but by the speed at which we can produce and form ideas and thoughts within our minds.  Speech recognition would allow us to reduce distractions and keep our minds on what we are saying.  This would be like a “funnel” which according to Ronald Kellogg (1989) is, “an aid that channels the writer’s attention into only one or two processes”.  By removing the desire to edit while speaking, speech recognition allows for the uninterrupted flow of ideas into words.

 Clearly there are some valuable advantages to the use of speech recognition technology, however, is it simply another method of getting our thoughts into words on a document, or does it alter the way we write?  McLuhan’s (1994) expression, “The medium is the message”, seems to say that as dictation is a different medium than writing, each would create a different final product.

 Gould, Conti, and Hovanyecz, (1983) research found that participants performed at least as well when dictating to the listening typewriter as they did when writing.  John Gould’s (1978) experiment found that after considerable experience with dictation, participants were 20-65% faster at dictating than at writing similar quality compositions. 

 As stated by Willard (1997), “Speech and writing are fundamentally different; people seldom speak as they write, or write as they speak (unless they are preparing a written copy of a speech)”.  When dictating and using speech recognition technologies, one might have the tendency to speak more formally, in a style more ‘suitable’ for writing.  If, the typically more informal style of conversation is used, this would change the style of writing produced.  However, speech recognition is generally used to get main ideas and thoughts onto a word document, with most users then editing and re-writing sections of their original draft.

 Dictation and writing are different, but effective methods to get words on ‘paper’.  As Gould (1978) states, “Composition is still the fundamental skill necessary for quality writing, and method of composition is of secondary importance”.  Each individual’s writing style is different; therefore, it will be up to the individual who uses the speech recognition to decide if and how it changes and defines their own personal style of writing.



 Bolter, J. D. (2001). Writing space: Computers, hypertext, and the remediation of print [2nd edition]. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.

 Cavanagh, C.A.  (2009). Speech Recognition Trial Protocol.  Closing the Gap, 26(5), 8-11.   Retrieved from:

 Gould, J. D. (1978). How experts dictate.  Journal of Experimental Psychology: Human Perception and Performance. 4(4), 648-661.

 Gould, J., Conti, J. & Hovanyecz, T. (1983). Composing Letters with a Simulated Listening Typewriter. Communications of the ACM , 26, 295-308.  

 Kellogg, R. T. (1989).  Idea Processors: Computer Aids for Planning and Composing Text. Computer Writing Environments: Theory, Research, and Design. Ed. Bruce Britton and Shawn Glynn. Hillsdale, New Jersey: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates. 57-92.

 McLuhan, M. (1994).  Understanding media: The extensions of man.  Cambridge, MA: MIT Press.

 Willard, E. (1997). Technical Speaking? Automatic Speech Recohnition and Technical Writing.  Cal Poly State University.  Retrieved from:

November 3, 2009   4 Comments

Research Project: Braille

My research project on Braille can be viewed on the class Wiki page here!

October 29, 2009   No Comments

The Media Revolution


What do YOU think?

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October 28, 2009   1 Comment

New technology, old concept.

Nokia OLED Scroll Laptop

Nokia has developed a laptop called the OLED Scroll where the screen rolls up like a scroll.  You would unroll the touch-sensitive screen to use it. 

Check it out at:

October 13, 2009   8 Comments

First Commentary: ‘Writing’ Defined

 ‘Writing’ Defined

Ashley S. Jones

ETEC 540



Searching the term writing in the Oxford English Dictionary Online (1989), came up with numerous definitions, of which I have chosen three:

  1. The action of one who writes, in various senses; the penning or forming of letters or words; the using of written characters for purposes of record, transmission of ideas, etc.
  2. Style, form, or method of fashioning letters or other conventional signs (esp. in handwriting or penmanship); the ‘hand’ of a particular person.
  3. Wording or lettering scored, engraved, or impressed on a surface; an inscription.

When first reading these definitions, they seem to convey what is typically thought of when defining the term writing.  However, with more reflection, it becomes clear that each is in some way limited, either in its description of what writing may have been for a society thousands of years ago, how writing is currently being done, or how we may write in the future.

Thousands of years ago, humans were using various methods to satisfy their “fundamental need to store information in order to communicate, whether to themselves or to others, at a distance in time or space”(Ong, 1982, p.11). To achieve this storage of information, some of the oldest and most common methods used were knot records, notches and tallies. Knot records, in particular those used by the Inca of Peru, were complex and elaborate methods of recording transactions and payments. These systems of adding and removing strings, allowed for categorical variety and a high level of complexity while recording numbers and prompting memory. Pictography was also widely used many thousands of years ago as a way of conveying even larger varieties of information and more complicated messages. All of these methods were used to transmit and communicate ideas and information to others beyond the immediate present.

These, and many others, have been used for years to aid memory, store information and convey human thought and/or speech over distances, thus contributing towards the “repertoire of resources that would eventually yield complete writing.” (Fischer, 2001). The three definitions of writing previously mentioned do not encompass these methods, however, I believe that we must not view these developments as ‘limited’ writing, but as a usable form of writing and communication for the society in which they were developed.

Gaur eloquently puts it as this:

If all writing is information storage, then all writing is of equal value. Each society stores the information essential to its survival, the information which enables it to function effectively. There is in fact no essential difference between prehistoric rock paintings, memory aids (mnemonic devices),winter counts, tallies, knotted cords, pictographic, syllabic and consonantal scripts, or the alphabet. There are no primitive scripts, no forerunners of writing, no transitional scripts as such (terms frequently used in books dealing with the history of writing), but only societies at a particular level of economic and social development using certain forms of information storage. If a form of information storage fulfills its purpose as far as a particular society is concerned, then it is (for this particular society) ‘proper’ writing. (Gaur, 1992, p. 14)

Fischer’s (2001) criteria of “complete writing” is that its purpose is communication, it consists of artificial graphic marks on a durable surface, and it uses marks that relate to articulate speech in order to achieve communication. His definition does not include those so-called ‘primitive’ methods, although he does state that, “writing is and will always be so many different things to so many different peoples in so many different ages.” (Fischer, 2001, p.12)

The way we store and communicate information has developed, progressed and drastically changed over the years. For hundreds of years writing was as typically defined: the forming of written characters on a durable surface. However, we are now living in a digital and technological age, where more and more writing is done on the computer, and in many cases stored on the Internet. It is evident that we must rethink our traditional definitions of writing, in particular that it must produce marks on a durable surface. Wiki pages are now a main means of retrieving and storing information. Anyone, from anywhere in the world, can contribute, edit and access the information stored on these Internet pages. Since this community page allows such open access, we are effectively choosing as a society what we feel is the important knowledge to store and share.

The way a society currently communicates and stores information, be it on rock, on paper or in a computer, is a reflection of what has been created and what is available at that present time. As technology, and the availability of technology, changes, so will the method of writing. Chandler (1994) lists various characteristics and features of the written word, including (but not limited to) the following: visual, external, fixed, ordered, objective, quantifying, abstract, detached, individual. These terms help to describe a more flexible definition of writing.

In conclusion, a more encompassing definition of writing could be: “The communication and storage of information for the purpose of access, by oneself or others, immediately or at a later time, in a form that is useful and purposeful for the current society”.


Chandler, D. (1994). Biases of the ear and eye: “Great Divide” Theories,   Phonocentrism, Graphocentrism & Logocentrism [Online]. Retrieved 25 September, 2009 from:

Fischer, Steven Roger. (2001). A history of writing. London: Reaktion Books.

Gaur, Albertine. (1992). A history of writing (revised edition). London: Cross River Press.

Ong, Walter (1982). Orality and literacy: The technologizing of the word. London: Methuen.

Writing. (1989). Oxford English Dictionary Online. Oxford University Press. Retrieved on September 25, 2009 from:

* Image by Sidhartha retrieved from


September 30, 2009   1 Comment

My reflection

I love looking at the diverse collection of photos and submissions on this site!   I find it fascinating how different each photo is, yet each still captures an aspect of communication through orality, text, and/or technology, many in ways I had never thought of.  I have appreciated the insights and comments from my peers.  As I read through Ong’s, “Orality and Literacy” I have pondered how our comments and posts would differ if we were all together discussing these topics face-to-face.  I have found that when posting to the blog site, I usually just sit down and begin typing what comes to my mind, in a style more similar to how I would speak.  In this way I feel that this weblog allows for such a high level of creativity by offering a comfortable and accepting (and perhaps more informal) learning community.  I do find the threading aspect of the discussions within Vista a visually more pleasing method of connecting our discussions.  However when writing a discussion to be posted in Vista I tend to rewrite and rework my passage much more than I do when posting a blog!  I enjoy and appreciate the variety of methods (Weblog, Vista, Wiki) for sharing our thoughts and I have and would continue to use these methods with my students.  I have found that my students love seeing their work, comments, projects, artwork (anything!) posted on a blog site for everyone to see.

September 20, 2009   No Comments

Shedding light on the meaning of technology

Here is a brief video of someone’s description on technology that I found to be well put.

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September 13, 2009   2 Comments

Shedding light on the meaning of text

This is a passage from Richard Vella’s lecture originally presented in a fourth year composition class at the Sydney Conservatorium of Music, 1989. Entire lecture can be viewed at

Text does not mean words but rather the word text comes from the latin texere , to weave. Textum came to mean the tissue or web of a thing which is woven. The texture is then anything that is woven, the quality of the weave. In other words the text is the weaving together of all the elements into a shape, fabric, form. In music this came to mean texture. The text of a book or essay is the weaving together of all the various arguments via words. In film and opera the text is the weaving of the sonic and visual via their respective technologies. Texture is the fabric, text is the argument.

The setting of words to music is not simply text and music but rather the text is the overall weaving of the literary text with the musical texture. The text is the `meaning’ (argument) the composer wants to communicate via all these elements.

September 13, 2009   No Comments

Australia Indigenous dancers

Aboriginal dancers, originally uploaded by NeilsPhotography.

Hello everyone, my name is Ashley Jones.

I picked this picture of Aboriginal dancers for a couple of reasons. I am currently residing in Australia and the beliefs and traditions of the Indigenous People facinate me. Oral communication is greatly valued within Aboriginal communities and serves as a method of passing down specific cultural practices, values, beliefs, languages, laws, histories and family connections. These can be communicated through storytelling, song, dance and art. It is believed that there were over 700 distinct language groups in Australia prior to the European Invasion.

As for myself, I completed a Biology degree and then went on to complete a year-long internship to obtain my teachers certificate. Soon after I took off to teach for a year in a small town in Costa Rica where I developed a passion for surfing and cooking with hot chilli peppers!

Upon returning to Canada, I taught at a Secondary Distributive Learning School in Victoria, BC for three years. The courses I taught and developed were all online for the students to access, while I was avaliable at the school for drop-in help, tutorials and to supervise test writing.

This year, my husband took a year-long job in Australia so I am fortunate to be able to complete my Masters while in beautiful Perth!

I look forward to getting to know you all as we go through this course!

September 8, 2009   No Comments