The Loss of Print

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To anyone impacted by modern-day technology,

These two articles by Bolter were confusing to me, as I tried to make a connection between my life and the points that he was trying to make about digital technology. He states that “our culture wants both to multiply its media and to erase all traces of mediation: ideally, it wants to erase its media in the very act of multiplying them,” (Bolter 2). This word was a completely new concept to me, and while I was reading through the article about remediation, I noticed a brief connection to my life

My first though about this idea was the use of Myspace when I was younger. It was the biggest craze, and everybody that I knew had a unique profile. Kids begged their parents to let them get one, despite the fact that they were young and vulnerable to Internet safety. Once the Myspace craze faded out, people were searching for the next big fad. What seemed to come in next was a huge range of

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different social networking websites, such as Facebook and Twitter. The amount of Myspace profiles decreased drastically, and as this media was erased, the new websites became more popular than ever. This is much like Bolter’s idea of remediation, which identifies an example of new media multiplying by the day.  As these websites and new ones continue to grow, more and more media will begin to be erased to create space for new fads.

Bolter’s second article, Introduction: Writing in the Late Age of Print, describes the future

Ipod mini 1G

Ipod mini 1G (Photo credit: Wikipedia)

of print. He discusses that “some educators imagine a classroom in which books are replaced by virtual environments,” (Bolter 5). I thought about my brother when I read this section, who is 13 years old. Now in middle school, his learning experience is much different than mine was at that age. 8 years ago, we had just begun using Macs, and the iPod mini was just released. Advanced technology was at a minimum, and I remember doing a lot more writing. My brother is in 7h grade and does not have good writing skills. He cannot spell, and has handwriting that is almost completely illegible. Now that technology has taken over the importance of print and classrooms are almost all digital, he has missed out on learning skills that will help him in the future. He completely refuses to write out anything, opting to use his computer or some other form of technology to do his work. The future of print seems to be on its way out, and I think that Bolter’s statement about teachers wanting a completely virtual classroom is unethical. The basis of school and learning is writing.

Bolter’s ideas in these pieces of writing share thoughts about the future of print and the multiplication of media.  This is completely different from when I was a kid, and I think that if this technology continues, basic learning skills are in danger of being unused.

Love, Hope

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Writing is Evolving into a Technology

In Jay Bolter’s article “Writing as Technology,” he describes that writing is a form of technology and it has evolved drastically. He argues that someone has to be able to read and write in order to successfully write and use it as a technology. If you cannot read or write, then you are not using writing as a technology. He also states how writing has been evolving into electronic configurations such as computers. Most of us, like myself, now use Microsoft Word in order to write papers or essays and do not use the form of hand writing anymore. I never write anything onto paper unless I am told to do so. It just seems like writing on a computer is now the new form of writing and many are used to it now just like me. He believes using computers as your technology improves someone’s writing which I feel definitely does for me. I am more involved and interactive on the computer. “Electronic writing still requires our physical interactions with terrestrial materials – with the keyboard, the mouse, and the computer screen” (Bolter 18). So even though we are not using a pen and paper, writing on technologies such as the computer still require our minds to produce the same ideas that we would write onto paper. Bolter also says how writing helps preserve knowledge and memory. Even though we do not write much on paper anymore and we have evolved into a computer age, it is still something that requires intellect. Bolter stated “The best way to understand electronic writing today is to see it as the remediation of printed text, with its claim to refashioning the presentation and status of alphabetic writing itself” (26). It is only a change in the form, but not a change in the material written down.

Likewise in another Jay Bolter reading “Introduction: Writing in the Late Age of Print” he states “Word processing, databases, e-mail, the World Wide Web, and computer graphics are displacing printed communication for various purposes” (2). This is so true because the world today is turning to electronics in order to find out information or write anything. “…many texts may never be printed, but distributed in digital form” (Bolter 2) since that is the new trend that everyone relies on. For me, I like to read books in printed form with pages like the traditional way of reading. However, with our technology now, this is changing into digital forms of writing on iPads. Even though I like having the book in my hand, if I did own an iPad, I probably would buy books on there. Bolter states “The shift to the computer may make writing more flexible, but it also threatens the definitions of good writing and careful reading that has developed in association with the techniques or printing” (4). Writing on the computer may change the way a single voice might sound if it were written on paper. Traditional print makes it seem as if they are speaking to one audience rather than in digital text, it may appeal to a larger group.

Still Have A Lot To Learn About Technology

            Reading J. D. Bolter’s articles on writing and its connections with technology put me in such a state that I wanted to chuck all of my connections to writing that I own out of my window—my laptop in my lap, my tablet atop my laptop keyboard, a sheet of paper and a pen to the side of my electronic devices that I used to take notes of the articles, and my TV standing on my dresser…which I barely even use—I wanted it all destroyed.

Putting what I was reading, how I went about reading it, and my thoughts about writing in my future into perspective was a jumbled cluster of confidence in my “natural” writing, doubt and feelings of failure in the ways that I attempt to use digital technologies, and confusion by which my dreams of teaching young children were becoming foggy with the question of “how?”

Bolter’s first excerpt I read was, Writing as Technology. In the beginning of my reading, I was feeling good about myself as my beliefs about handwriting were right there on page fifteen:

“Still, the manuscripts were produced at the relatively slow pace of the scribe’s hand, not the insistent rhythm of the machine, and we can see on each page the variations in size and shape of letters that indicate direct human production…we admire the manuscript as art, however, what we admire is the apparent negation of technology, the fact that the codex is not a printed book and therefore not the product of a machine” (Bolter, 15).

As a writer, I stand a firm ground in the appreciation of texts written by hand; even printed texts are okay in my book. However, I am not one to have disbelief in that modern writing technologies today are more effective. I feel comfortable with the Greeks’ translation of techne, which is “a set of rules, system or method of making or doing, whether of the useful arts or the fine arts” (Liddell & Scott, 1973, p. 1,785). I also agree with Bolter’s point, that, “It is not the complexity of the devices that matters so much as the technical or literate frame of the mind” (17). When arriving at the words on page nineteen, however, I was not feeling so comfortable anymore; “The technical and the cultural dimensions of writing are so intimately related that it is not useful to try to separate them…” (19). I took a look at my workplace on my bed, with all of the technologies mentioned earlier surrounding me; shoot. Why I read one article off of my laptop and the other on my tablet while I took notes on both with paper and pen is way too long of a story to explain…however, this situation is not far off of from my usual writing ritual involving digital technologies; it’s always a long and complicated process.

In Bolter’s Introduction: Writing in the Late Age of Print, the line, “The shift is happening throughout our culture, away from patterns and habits of the printed page and toward a new world distinguished by its reliance on electronic communications,” scares me (5). If I can’t even get in sync with digital technologies of today, how am I going to teach children in the future about writing of their time?  When I used to think of my future profession as a preschool teacher, I thought of the library of books with words and pictures that I will put together in my classroom; I thought of those sheets of paper with chunky lines on them that I used as a kid that I would have my students use to practice writing their names. “Can printed picture books hope to compete effectively with broadcast television and interactive video?” (6). Well, only time will tell; however, I can’t keep relying on the things that have made me the writer that I am. I have to get with the times and learn to widen my opportunities in other modernized writing technologies and environments.

Picture Books.

Picture Books. (Photo credit: San José Library) 

I didn’t end up throwing anything out of my window. Although I do not have any answers yet for why I write the way I do, why it’s difficult for me to be more efficient when using digital technologies, and what I am going to do about it in my future career, I need to embrace the idea that I am still a student in college to resolve my problems in writing. It will be readings such as these that will remind me to evaluate my thoughts on and my techniques in writing, and how I can do better in the times ahead.