ETEC 540 – Text Technology Reflections:
Although I found this course presented me with some personal challenges, mostly in the form of the amount of reading, I also found the course to be relevant and interesting. Looking back and reflecting, I realize just how much I’ve learned and how these pieces fit into my personal pedagogy. It has allowed me to reconsider and change not only how I present information to my students, but how I can offer that they present information and demonstration of their skills to me.
Before embarking on the ETEC540 journey, I had found it hard to make a solid shift in my concept of literacy, from reading and writing in the form that I had grown up with, to what I was noticing from my students. Each year, as I see my next group, I have thought to myself that they are becoming less and less literate, their writing lacking what I had expected for their grade level. However, as we have progressed through Text Technologies, Ong (1982) has helped us to explore primary oral cultures, through the ages, to today’s version of literate cultures. Readings by Postman (1992) and Bolter (2001) have allowed me to reconsider this, and my previous understandings, and have helped to lead me to see how perhaps we are not becoming less literate, but how we view literacy is changing. Some feel that the written word is disintegrating however, when we browse the internet, we quickly see this is not the case. It is the form that has changed.
Current technologies, such as some that we have explored and even used in ETEC540, have demonstrated how tools, from papyrus to cellphones, typewriters to digital story-telling programs, and the internet, have changed the way that we can communicate with others. Not how we are necessarily forced to. With each change, whether small or large, is brought about by advantages and challenges, pros and cons. If the benefits outweigh the challenges, we/society adopt the change. If not, it either falls to the wayside or becomes modified and adapted until it is advantageous to utilize.
When I reflect on the literacy around me in all of its forms, I am no longer in the same struggle with my concept of “What is literacy?” and “Am I doing enough as a teacher to promote literacy in the students whom I work with?”. With all of the changes evidenced through history, I know that only time will tell where we are headed, and will be based on what our ever-changing definition of literacy is at any given time. Be it the long flowing, thoughtful texts and beautiful, artistic scripts initiated many centuries ago, or the shortened versions and multimedia presentations witnessed today, each needs to be considered as literacy and communication with society and the world around us.
Bolter, Jay David. (2001). Writing space: Computers, hypertext, and the remediation of print [2nd edition]. Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum.
Ong, Walter. (1982). Orality and literacy: The technologizing of the word. London: Methuen.
Postman, N. (1992). Technopoly: The surrender of culture to technology. New York: Vintage Books.