The Changing Spaces of Reading and Writing

The Art of Text

Coming from a design background, I have come to see text as an art form that is often manipulated as content or as part of a layout and for me, that is usually how I intermingle text with technology. Text is no longer a static form but it can also be animated. Looking back at the origins of text in its more static form, some examples of text as an artistic, symbolic form is its use in hieroglyphs and asian characters. Technology works to, in some form, mechanize the text through writing tools, printers and other text-making tools.

One mingling of text and technology that came to mind is the use of calligraphic tools not just for communication but as an art form. In Asia, the calligraphic brush was more widely used in the past to paint characters in languages. When painted, the symbols have flowing strokes and lines, with some strokes more emphasized than others. Today, those same characters in print have been “mechanized” and converted into harsh lines and strokes that are even throughout. The same can be said for handwriting.

What are the implications of text and technology today: How much have computers created a kind of convenience in the way we communicate and will handwritten texts still exist in the future? In the last 10 years alone, I think technology has done a great deal in changing the way we look at and learn how to use text using computers, cell phones and other, more advanced non-traditional devices.


September 18, 2009   2 Comments

David Berljawsky’s Refelctions.

I am impressed by the amount of material that has been posted on the weblog. Although I am aware (obviously) that this is an online project taken on by multiple students, the sheer amount of work that has been gathered in a short amount of time is nothing short of impressive. One can only imagine how a classroom of students would react to seeing a large amount their work online. One slight critique is that if I was new to blogs I might have had a difficult time navigating the site. I have read some extremely informative opinions on the nature of technology and text. I’ve noticed that there are many different and open ended views on the definition and I’ve enjoyed reading all of these varied opinions.

This is my first online course, and I feel that this activity was a wonderful introduction to me. Ironically, I think that I may have spent more time online in the forums and weblog than I may have actually spent in a regular class.

I’m unsure how to answer the question about my opinion of the structure of the existing web. It’s not perfect, but it is what we have and we need to use the positive aspects to our best ability. The entire communicative and collaborative nature of the web is what attracts me to it as an educator. Everyone is able to add their opinion and views to the web regardless of their technical expertise. This activity is a perfect example of how this is possible.

September 18, 2009   No Comments

Module 1 Reflections

I have enjoyed creating blog entries for the first module and reading my classmates’ entries. It’s surprising how many unique images people chose to represent the curriculum of Module 1. In the past, I have enjoyed creating bog entries for ETEC courses and think that they offer a great opportunity for me organize my thoughts, watch my progression through the course material, and learn from others. I also imagine how I could use the same means when I design elearning courses.

September 18, 2009   No Comments

Text/Tech:The World’s Fastest Text Message?

YouTube Preview Image

Upon browsing various sites for multimedia related to text and/or technology, I stumbled upon this video.  Initially, I wanted to find two separate items with which I could create two separate entries, but this video provides a nice, although literal, juxtaposition of the two.

Text: What is it, exactly?

If I had been asked to define text 10, or even 5 years ago, I might have come up with something such as:

The words of something written; “there were more than a thousand words of text”; “they handed out the printed text of the mayor’s speech”;

the main body of a written work (as distinct from illustrations or footnotes etc.); “pictures made the text easier to understand”

Today, I have a slightly different understanding of what text is.  Having read several definitions and analyses of the origin of text, today I believe that text is or can be considered to be:

  • A representation of meaning and language
  • written word
  • oral word
  • represented through media such as video or sill image
  • is a part of literacy
  • authoritative or questionable
  • dynamic rather than static
  • uniquely human

As educators, our definition of text will impact our teaching.  Is it acceptable, for example, for language arts students to create a video in place of writing am essay? Is it necessary that teachers ensure all forms of text are taught and practiced?

My response to this is that in B.C., we are able to do so. For example, the language arts curriculum, even at the elementary level, allows teachers to transcend the traditional boundaries put upon us by our former definitions of text and literacy.  Although there are mandated curricular goals for reading, writing, viewing and representing, we are able to move beyond the pages of the classics, and forge ahead into new text (and new media) spaces.  

Technology: From the Wheel to the Smart Phone

Technology, like text, has a complex definition, and similarly, if I had been asked 5 or 10 years ago to define technology, I probably would have said something about computers and telephones.  I find that it is almost easier to preface the word technology with some sort of adjective that narrows it down: digital technology, information technology, computer technology, assistive technology, medical technology and the like.

Princeton’s Wordnetweb defines technology as, “the practical application of science to commerce or industry” (  My “newish” Oxford dictionary of English has a similar definition.  It is intriguing to me that a word that has so many varying connotations might have such a simplistic definition.  This is another reason why I chose to present my thoughts on both text and technology in the same post.

The Text/Technology Connection

In the video at the beginning of this post, we are able to see very clearly, and as I mentioned previously, quite literally, one link between text and technology.  We use technology every day to create text, whether it is “texting” on a cell phone, speaking to a friend on Skype, writing a grocery list with a pencil, or typing an essay on the computer.

As Ong (1982) proposes, “writing (and especially alphabetic writing) is a technology, calling for the use of tools and other equipment…[and] by contrast with natural oral speech, writing is completely artificial” (p. 80-81).  Upon looking back at the above list of possible daily “texts”, and thinking of other possibilities,  labelling writing itself as a technology makes good sense.

As we continue on our journey through “the changing spaces of reading and writing”, I anticipate feeling the need to revise and update my current thoughts on text and technology in the near future.  I suppose that is the beauty of a dynamic text space such as a weblog–it can always be a work in progress.



September 18, 2009   No Comments