Handbook of Literacy and Technology: Transformations in a Post-Typographic World

Handbook of Literacy and Technology: Transformations in a Post-Typographic World

Handbook of Literacy and Technology: Transformations in a Post-Typographic World

Handbook of Literacy and Technology: Transformations in a Post-Typographic World


"The major shift going on today in the technologies of reading and writing raises important questions about conventional conceptions of literacy and its role in education, society, and culture. To what extent and in what ways is literacy being transformed by new technologies? This central question is addressed in this volume from diverse, multidisciplinary perspectives. The contributors met as a group to discuss drafts of their chapters at a one-day meeting convened and sponsored by the National Reading Research Center; they also read each others' chapters prior to this gathering. This meeting was followed by a two-day conference attended by approximately 180 researchers, educators, and policymakers who responded to an open invitation to present papers and to attend sessions focusing on the six major themes of this volume. Contributors then revised their chapters based on interactions with fellow contributors, conference participants, and the volume's editors." Title Summary field provided by Blackwell North America, Inc. All Rights Reserved


David Reinking The University of Georgia

There is something ironic, maybe even perverse, about reading this printed page, given that this edited volume is about how electronic forms of reading and writing may be transforming conceptions of literacy as the world moves into the 21st century. It might even be argued that, as a book, this volume undermines a major premise justifying its existence. As implied by its title, the rationale for this volume is founded to some extent on the belief that we are heading toward a post-typographic world; that is, one in which printed texts are no longer dominant. Or, as Negroponte (1995) put it, again ironically in a printed book entitled Being Digital, a world that is moving from atoms to bits. Creating a conventional printed document aimed at exploring that premise might in itself seem to be a strong counterargument against its major thesis.

However, there is another view that must be considered. The conventional printed pages between two covers here mask the strong undercurrent of change that was much more evident in the preparation of this volume than is evident in its final form as a printed document. For example, taken as a whole, the many e-mail exchanges among the authors and editors working to prepare this book would rival the length of the book itself. Likewise, much of the work in writing manuscripts and preparing them for publication in this volume was done electronically. There was also an extended discussion between the editors of the book and representatives of the publisher about conditions under which portions of this book might be made available electronically on the World Wide Web. Thus, electronic forms of reading and writing have affected the development and final form of this work in subtle but important ways.

From this perspective, a printed book about electronic reading and writing is not a contradiction, but more a testimony to the fact that we are in the midst of a transformation that is not yet fully consummated. Even more, that view points to the importance of reflecting on and analyzing the transformations that are occurring now before their effects are fully realized. Understanding how literacy may be affected by a shift from printed to digital forms is more than an academic exercise. The cumulative force of the perspectives put forth by the contributors of this book advance a convincing argument that the . . .

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