ERIC Number: ED367989
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1993-Apr
Reference Count: N/A
Electronic Literacy: What's in Store for Writing and Its Instruction.
New technologies brought about by the computer are causing writing to take on more and more the features of orality. The computer's emphasis on speed reduces or even eliminates distance, which is one of the key features of orality. Orality is immediate and relies on assumptions, on gaps to be filled in by the auditor. It is also "socially minded" and agonistic. Literacy, by contrast, is anything but immediate--it accepts distance, even encourages it. Literacy minimizes assumptions and fills in gaps. Two transformations (hypertext and electronic mail) are reinforcing existing aspects of literacy and communication while at the same time transforming them. Hypertexts are the first texts in which the elements of meaning, of structure, and of visual display are fundamentally unstable. Hypertext has speeded up the circumvention of linear manuscripts begun by pagination, indexes, and bibliographies. An age of "secondary orality" (as Walter Ong terms it) is dawning. Secondary orality is the orality of telephones, radio, television, virtual reality, and electronic mail, all of which depend on texts for their existence and operation. It is the lack of distance--permitted by speed--that makes electronic mail messages seem conversational and sometimes combative. Teachers of literacy need to get ready for secondary orality and prepare students for a future which includes hypertext, electronic mail and virtual reality. (RS)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Identifiers: Computer Communication; Orality; Writing Contexts
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (44th, San Diego, CA, March 31-April 3, 1993).