The Changing Spaces of Reading and Writing

Category — Technology

Final project: Literacy and Critical Thinking

Here is the abstract of my final paper and a link to both a podcast and a print version.


The New London Group (1996) starts their discussion of multi-literacy by presenting the needs of future citizens in the work place of tomorrow. They argue that to engage and negotiate critically with a working environment, students need to have multi-literacy skills or the ability to communicate meaning through a variety of mediums. Students also need to participate in literacy activities as members of communities; they need to be able to discern meaning from multiple media sources and produce meaning using these “new media.” The change in participation and literacy is in part because hypertext, the Internet, and associated applications have changed the way knowledge is created and presented.

The author is no longer the authority. As we all become authors of a collective knowledge the authority of knowledge is no longer clear, print is no longer associated with truth as it may once have been. Knowledge is created changed and rework, represented mixed and fed in to what is becoming known as a participatory media culture. The following is both a historical and modern understanding of how western society has understood the transmission of knowledge and how the transformation of the transmission has changed what it means to be educated or knowledgeable.

Critical thinking


November 30, 2009   No Comments

Technology workshops for teachers – article

I found this article on Edutopia about professional development conducted in a US school district.  I thought it might be of interest to those of you who are teaching and for all of us really as we may be the ones who are called upon to train our colleagues within our schools or school boards.  It’s a challenge I willingly accept.

October 1, 2009   No Comments

Technology as a way of revealing

I noticed that Rich had already posted a passage from Heidegger and “The Question Concerning Technology”, but I would like to discuss another part of it. Early in this essay Heidegger states that “Technology is a way of revealing”. I think that this is important and that the “revealing” Heidegger mentions is closely connected with what he elsewhere calls “regioning”, which he says opens “the clearing of Being”. By this he does not mean a type of conscious thought or unconscious thought but rather something that makes both of these possible to begin with. It is tied up with speaking a language and with dwelling among other people in the world. (He gets rather mystical when he tries to describe it in his later writings.) The view of technology as a way of revealing would suggest that technology is inextricably bound up with the way in which we live, our practices, and our institutions. It would support Neil Postman’s claim that a technology’s function follows from its form and that new technologies threaten institutions. It may be a bit disturbing, though, as we usually like to think of ourselves as rational beings who can represent technology objectively and freely decide how we will use it. As Heidegger himself explains at the end of the essay, though, it is not necessarily a fatalistic picture.

September 24, 2009   No Comments

Poem on Technology

  As I continued to navigate through the blog and reflect on the idea of text and technology, representing our need to expand our horizons and create more outlets for our creativity, I discovered this poem. I would like to know how you  feel about it. I learnt more about meerkats. They can dig as much dirt as their own body weight in a couple of seconds! I suppose we can only equal that when we truly master the technology. I suppose viruses are like jackals which are the only creatures that can conquer us. My computer was attacked but I am Back!

Community Creatures

A colony of bloggers secure in their topic

ranging in size from massive to microscopic.

The lesser ones surround and support the great

who set the direction for the others to debate.


A flock of forums grazing on knowledge

their shepherds guiding them to fresh foliage.

Free to chew the cud and relax within their walls

trusting the guardians to banish the jackals.


A hydra, a multi-headed oracle, it must be a wiki

tackling all problems from the simple to the tricky.

The multiple heads give it so much knowledge you see.

The only problem is… they do not always agree.


A mob of social bookmarkers, much like meerkats

take turns looking out and deciding what’s good to peer at.

Hoping none of the sentinels is actually a pretender

directing them all according to their own agenda.


In the distance, a herd of social networkers

dashing all over the place. There’s no room for shirkers.

Without any shepherds they all, every day,

have a role to play in keeping predators at bay.

©Adam Rulli-Gibbs 2007

September 23, 2009   2 Comments

Mixing molten lead and Blackberries

Goss press

When I think of the technology of text, something like the image above (a small Goss newspaper press) usually comes to mind.  The first time I saw one, I was impressed by the size and mechanical complexity of it.  Later, when I met some of the older pressmen, they told me stories of the hot lead days–a few even had scars on their forearms from when the slugs (letter forms) would jam as they were sliding into place and, if the pressmen weren’t quick enough, hot lead would spray on to their arms.

Last week, I walked behind a student in the hall madly jabbing her thumbs at a tiny cell phone.  The presses always made me think of the New York Times, democracy, mass distribution, and public debate.  The cell phone makes me think: “c u l8tr” and a rendezvous at the mall. How does the medium shape the message?

September 20, 2009   No Comments


My thoughts on technology…


Suction Tool. Digital image. Flickr. 1 July 2007. Web. 16 Sept. 2009. .

technology. (2009). In Merriam-Webster Online Dictionary.
Retrieved September 16, 2009, from

September 19, 2009   No Comments

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

Text and Technology

Example of Boardmaker software

What is text? Is its classification still the same as it was when I was in school? Or my parents?

Do we allow for the shortened, grammatically incorrect form of language to be applied to this same category? The kind that is seen in countless text messages or quickly written emails?

Text comes in many forms, including the use of braille for those who have vision difficulties.
When I think of text and technology, I think of my students who cannot write. Those who use software that conveys an image or multiple images into a logical sentence or story.  Boardmaker software, as shown above, is one example of how one can express their thoughts, and feelings without using the conventional alphabet.

Though I must ask: Is it still text?

September 16, 2009   2 Comments

Technology and Nature Fusion

Technology and Nature

I must say it took me ages to get on to the blog because I did not click on a hyperlink. I am relieved that I am finally able to share in the discussion which I have  been silently involved in since September 8. I have been fascinated with the etymology of the words we have been exploring. Before exploring the denotative meanings of the words, I wrote down my initial understanding of them and discovered that I was somewhat misguided and narrow in my thinking. I saw technology as predominantly man-made. Yet my attitude and instinctive actions are contrary to what I thought were my original views. Though I felt that these were man-made devices which are expensive and difficult to manipulate; that did not stop me from acquiring them, one after the other-computer,cell phone and recently Laptop! I realize that internally I have been viewing technolgy as scientific inventions that are created for humans by humans. Thus I am beginning to formulate a philosophy that technology has evolved naturally and will continue to evolve and expand heavily dependent on the innate desire of human beings to venture into new frontiers. In other words, our trajectory trek from papyrus to cyberspace riddled with gains and losses could not have happened without humankind wanting the mission accomplished. To some extent we are the masters of nature!


September 16, 2009   No Comments

Melding the two T’s

I have used wikipedia to define some of the commonly held meanings of the words text and technology. I believe the melding of these two words demonstrates the interconnectedness of text and technologies and their significance in the 21st century. D. Ryan

YouTube Preview Image

Melding the two T's

September 16, 2009   2 Comments

The question concerning technology.

A way that human's do things.

Martin Heidigger (1977), in his pivotal essay, “The question concerning technology” deconstructs and examines the essence of technology.  I have to admit that this piece of work was one of the most challenging pieces of philosophy that I have encountered so far in not only my MET but in my academic career.

That being said, the essay examines in depth what technology is.  Heidigger contends that “the essence of technology is nothing technological” (Heidigger, 1977, p.4) but is instead a system.  It is really not an end in itself but a way of doing things as well as being a human endeavour.    Or put in another way, technology is far more then just things. An examination of technology with this view of technology being a material object essentially produces “blind spots” so that we cannot fully examine the scope and range of what human’s relationship with technology is.  Even a definition of technology as being a human endeavour that strives to achieve to get something done, does not go far enough for Heidigger’s tastes.

I have to admit it is at this point of the essay that I become lost in all the terminology (enframing, revealing, Gestell and shining forth).  I would welcome a further “revealing” of the essence of “The question concerning technology.”  I apologize for the confusing post and for some even bring up Heidigger however a blog post concerning technology that at the very least does not mention Heidigger would be a “incomplete”.

Work Cited

Heidigger, Martin (1977).  The question concerning technology.  Downloaded on September 16, 2009 from

September 16, 2009   No Comments

Technology is…by Tracy Gidinski

To continue from my “Text Is” post, this quotation from Ayn Rand summarizes my thoughts on what technology is fairly well:

Technology is an applied science, i.e., it translates the discoveries of theoretical science into practical application to man’s life. As such, technology is not the first step in the development of a given body of knowledge, but the last; it is not the most difficult step, but it is the ultimate step, the implicit purpose, of man’s quest for knowledge.  (Ayn Rand. Apollo 11. The Objectivist, Sept. 1969, 9.)

Rand describes technology as the “ultimate step” in the quest for knoweledge, yet new technologies implicitly create the ability for future technologies.  In relation to text, then, technology is its leading edge – technology paves the way for new forms of text, which leads to new forms of thinking, on a continual “quest for knowledge.”

Or is it?  Instead of a leading edge, do text and technology work together as a double-edged sword?  Is text the leading edge for technology in the same way that technology is the leading edge for text?

September 16, 2009   No Comments

Technological System…

Web 2.0, originally uploaded by Rod Monkey.

“Technology is a system. It entails far more than its individual material components. Technology involves organization, procedures, symbols, new words, equations, and, most of all, a mindset.” (Franklin, p. 2-3)

Technology is more commonly perceived as any human-made object that does not occur naturally in nature, but often imitates more naturally occurring phenomena, and are often used to aid us in some fashion.

However, technology is ecological in that it doesn’t just add or subtract; as Postman puts it, “it changes everything” (Postman, 1992, p. 18). The printing press revolutionized our access to knowledge. Internet has changed our communications patterns.

Thus, technology is a system, inextricably linked to human life.



Franklin, U. (1999). The Real World of Technology. Toronto: Anansi.

Postman, N. (1992). Technopoly: the surrender of culture to technology. New York: Vintage Books.

September 15, 2009   No Comments

Technology is….

Balance Prime

Balance Prime

The word technology is something that I struggle with often.  I see technology as any tool that aids in the creation of some other object or allows work to be completed with some amount of ease.   Consider a rock.  If I use a rock to hit another person, it is now a weapon.   If I use a rock to draw a picture on a cave wall, it is a tool.   My perfered definition of technology is best described by Ursula Franklin in the CBC Massey Lectures.   Franklin states “Like democracy, technology is a multifaceted entity.  It includes activities as well as a body of knowledge, structures as well as the act of structuring.”  (Franklin, 1999, p. 6)  Franklin further defines technology as “practice…ways of doing something.”  ((p.6)   This ‘process of work’ can be categorized into two distinct spheres including holistic and prescriptive technologies.    Holistic technologies can be equated to those events whereby the same individual envisions an idea, prepares the means to accomplish the idea, and results in an end product that was created from start to finish by one set of hands; a painting, a goblet, or writing on a cave wall.   Prescriptive technologies can be best summed up by mass production, compliance to a standard and little to no deviation or creativity for the worker; Fordism or Military training

Franklin, Ursula. (1999) The Real World of Technology. (CBC Massey lectures series.) Concord, ON: House of Anansi Press Limited.

September 15, 2009   No Comments

Technology is…. magic

Sir Arthur Clarke, co-author of 2001: A Space Odyssey, was a science fiction and otherwise “speculative fiction” author, inventor and “futurist”. He coined the three laws of prediction as follows:

  1. When a distinguished but elderly scientist states that something is possible, he is almost certainly right. When he states that something is impossible, he is very probably wrong.
  2. The only way of discovering the limits of the possible is to venture a little way past them into the impossible.
  3. Any sufficiently advanced technology is indistinguishable from magic.

The last two laws in particular represent a commentary on technology from my perspective. The notion of the impossible becoming possible; the notion of having to reach beyond what is currently afforded in order to truly see what we are capable of achieving; the notion that present innovations would have been considered magical in the past. Technology is anything that furthers our current capabilities into the future, by keeping the lessons of the present and the foundations from the past in mind.

September 15, 2009   No Comments

What is technology?

When I think of technology, I’m reminded of the many years I worked as a technical writer learning about and documenting many telecommunications’ technologies: Creating conceptual and procedural information to accompany complex telecommunications equipment. I’m also reminded of the fact that technology speaks to me as being something that’s supposed to make our lives easier, better, and is very important. Its importance is described by Postman: ” Technology imperiously commandeers our most important terminology. It redefines freedom, truth, intelligence, fact, wisdom, memory, history, all the words we live by. (Postman, 1992 pp.8-9)

Postman, N (1992). Technopoly: The surrender of culture to technology. New York:Vintage Books.

September 15, 2009   No Comments

Technology: Making Lives Better.


I believe that technology is a process that is ongoing and is hard to define. After all, we consider items like Blackberries and Computers technology, but technology is really everywhere as represented by this article,  I love this story because it caused an uproar and made for great talk show fodder. Most people were being overly critical about merging technology with sports, as if this has never happened before.

Technology seems to be constant changing and supposedly attempting to make our lives easier and better. In education this is a double edged sword, which is why I choose this picture. Another reason I chose this picture is because it merges technology and teaching together. Although technology does improve our lives it can also take away. I like this picture because it makes me wonder where we are heading as educators. Are we eventually going to give students a topic, have them Google it and present it as fact? Or is that already what is happening?

September 15, 2009   No Comments

Technology – Definition

YouTube Preview ImageDid You Know?

I used the “Did you Know” YouTube presentation created by Karl Fisch and modified by Scott McLeod. I like it simply because it is a technological presentation, created and broadcast globally through YouTube and because of the information it presents on the information age. The technical aspects it mentions are both the exciting and  disturbing aspects mentioned in the Papyrus to Cyberspace broadcast and well as some of the  others readings. This presentation reflects that new technologies can be both a positive and ominous force. It also demonstrates the creation and use of technology and how it’s interrelated with life. I find it helps illustrate where and how technology fits in our Western society.

Highlights of the presentation include:

– If Myspace were a country it would be the fifth largest

– The amount of text messages daily exceeds the population of the planet

– There are roughly 540,000 words in the English language ( five times the amount in Shakespeare’s time)

– New amounts of technical information doubles every two years

– Those taking a four year technical degree will find that the information they learned in their first year will be obsolete by the time they graduate

September 14, 2009   2 Comments

Defining Technology

The last time I was at UBC it was to complete a degree in Technology Education.  Contrary to what you might expect the technology education that I was studying had very little to do with computers.  Technology Education was (is) the name adopted for the field that used to be called Industrial Education.  I suppose the name was chosen in an attempt to make the area more in line with the times and to broaden its scope.  What it actually did though was force Tech Ed teachers  to be constantly correcting people about what they teach, ‘oh, you teach computing…’  Personally I hate the name.  For this reason the word ‘technology’ has always seemed to me to be a bit vague.  We spent a fair bit of time back then as a class discussing technology and what it means and I don’t think we ever really came up with a completely satisfying definition.  And now I find myself thinking about a definition again and still not really coming up with anything very satisfying.  Before I try to add my definition though let me quote from my ETEC 511 material, where I just read, “Technology – the world generated as artefact, or the activity, knowledge and will to make it so”.  To me that definition is even more wide open than I could have imagined, to now including ‘knowledge and will’ without necessarily any action, (conceptual technology?).  So I would like to throw a simple definition out there and say ‘technology is the means of change’.  Simple, but I don’t think it’s too bad.  I would argue that technology is about change, but unlike other definitions mine doesn’t imply that the changes brought on by technology  is good or bad, it merely changes what was to what is.

As an aside, I don’t know if anyone else experienced this but all the way through that paragraph I kept having the urge to capitalize ‘technology’.

September 14, 2009   1 Comment

Technology OED style

“OED was built up from the contributions of thousands of amateur philologists all over England and, later, the world.” (vista ETEC 540 sept09).  Well in the style of the OED I google images with the search criteria “technology.”  If google is understood as access to a collective intelligence of the web (to find out more) than the images it produces could be understood as a collective understanding of technology as an image.  After searching I took the top ten images and mashed them into one. Voila technology as understood by google….

Ten top images of technology using google images.

Ten top images of technology using google images.

September 14, 2009   No Comments