The Changing Nature of TEXT

When asked to define ‘text’ my initial response was written language. I now see a broader definition of text as a something that holds a message or information that others can interpret.

The following quotes from Postman (1992)

  • ‘orality stresses group learning, cooperation, and a sense of social responsibility’
  • ‘print stresses individualized learning, competition, and personal autonomy’

illustrate how the nature of text can affect learning. Historically learning took place through oral methods, only since the invention of the printing press would learning through printed texts have become commonplace. Interesting that I grew up learning from textbooks and my initial definition of text was printed words. As today’s job market changes and greater demands are placed on interpersonal skills and networking, I wonder how this will affect the texts we use in the future for education. Will there be a return to traditional emphasis on oral texts or, more likely I think, a change to using the fluid and collaborative affordances of the internet as the major text medium for education?


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

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