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Rote to Note – Changes to text and technology

In summary, the transition from rote to note, from personal slate to personal notebook reflected the transition from orality to print based cultures. Postman outlined “orality stresses group learning, cooperation, and a sense of social responsibility” while “print stresses individualized learning, competition, and personal autonomy”. (Technopoly, p. 17) Each of these characteristics is representative of the classroom where slate or notebooks were primary tools for writing.

The notebook did for learning what the manuscript did in it’s time – allowed for individual production and retention of text. It freed the ‘knower from the known’. (Ong, p. 104) Students retained the ability to create their own knowledge through personal reflection and analysis. This idea is echoed in Bolter’s statement “In the act of writing, the writer externalized his or her thoughts. The writer enters into a reflective and reflexive relationship with the written page, a relationship in which thoughts are bodied forth.” (Writing Space, 2001)  The internalization of thought, through the writing of notes in notebooks, created a culture where it was hard to determine ‘where the mind ends and the writing space begins”. (Bolter, p. 13) This in turn changed the cultural and social contexts, not only of the classroom, but also of the geographic and community environments in which it resided.


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