ERIC Number: ED259376
Record Type: RIE
Publication Date: 1985-Mar
Reference Count: 0
The Functions of Literacy: The Past as Future/The Future as Past.
Edwards, Bruce L., Jr.
In Western culture literacy encompasses a constellation of values and beliefs far beyond what might be attributed to the mechanical ability to read and write. Many people prize literacy as an end in itself, and attribute to it a whole spectrum of values and social privileges disproportionate to its actual functions in society. They forget that writing ability is a human invention created to satisfy specific needs in a society. This ambivalence toward literacy is exemplified in the skepticism with which teachers have met the intrusion of computers into the English curriculum. Cowering at this technological invasion, some seem to fear that computers may signal the end of literacy. The old literacy fostered writing--transcription, a particular technology; the new literacy facilitates composing, leaving the medium of creation open. Computer technology bridges both present and past, and past and future. Understanding the past functions of literacy and how new technologies usurp their place can free teachers from the bondage of time and linearity, helping them to embrace the future. (HOD)
Publication Type: Speeches/Meeting Papers; Opinion Papers
Education Level: N/A
Authoring Institution: N/A
Note: Paper presented at the Annual Meeting of the Conference on College Composition and Communication (36th, Minneapolis, MN, March 21-23, 1985).