Category Archives: Commentary 1

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A Moderate View

In Orality and Literacy, Ong (2002) presents an elaborate account of a well reasoned, and highly detailed, but polarizing description of the social and psychological consequences associated with technological determinism as it applies to literacy and literate culture.  This account … Continue reading

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Literate Bias in a Literate Society

In “Biases of the Ear and Eye”, Chandler outlines some possible problems involved in “Great Divide” theories which create dichotomies based on orality and literacy. In particular he points to the exaggeration of differences found in oral and literate cultures … Continue reading

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The Great Leaders’ Technophobia

Upon my visit to the Grand People’s Library in Pyongyang, I saw a room with people accessing information for free, in a public place. I was excited. I wanted to use the North Korean Intranet. My handler set out to help … Continue reading

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Critiquing Ong and the Relationship of Literacy to Culture

Walter J. Ong is a renowned scholar, university Professor of English and Humanities in Psychiatry and the author of several highly influential studies on the transformation of human consciousness (Ong, 1982). He is an expert in the field of orality … Continue reading

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Oral cultures and writing: Where does Deaf culture fit in?

Walter Ong’s (1982) ideas on oral cultures and writing are not altogether correct in that they exclude Deaf cultures and their communities. This fault lies in his narrowed view that not “only communication, but thought itself relates in an altogether … Continue reading

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Farewell to Fixity: The Virtual Library Fantasy

In “The Virtual Library: An Idea Whose Time Has Passed,” cultural historian James J. O’Donnell challenged the ideal of a virtual library. The present-day version of this ideal – a universal, digital library that includes all the world’s literature from … Continue reading

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Bringing School Change Through Technological Determinism

Technological determinism as described by Warschauer, is a phenomena in which “the mere presence of technology leads to familiar and standard applications of that technology, which in turn bring about social change” (2003, p. 44). With this in mind, technology … Continue reading

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A Universal, Virtual Library – Coming Soon?

Humans have always felt a need to record and preserve information for later access. Tracing back to Mesopotamia, libraries have functioned to collect, organize, and retain the writing of a culture. As we step further into the digital future, not … Continue reading

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The Influence of Writing on Thought Processes

“If you can’t explain it simply, you don’t understand it well enough” (Einstein, as cited in BrainyQuote, 2012). “The best [science writing] flows like poetry; the worst actually impedes progress of science” (Jared Diamond, as cited in Kovac & Sherwood, … Continue reading

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Virtual Libraries: The Question of Copyright

In their discussions of the creation of online libraries through the scanning of texts, both Kelly (2006) and Grafton (2007) highlight the potential that this trend has in making texts accessible to a much larger percentage of the world population … Continue reading

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