From Pencils to Pixels: The Stages of Literacy Technologies. Dennis Baron. This article contained some interesting facts about the origins of. In “From Pencils to Pixels: The Stages of Literacy Technologies,” Dennis Baron attempts to explain the histories of writing technologies. Baron, Dennis. (). From pencils to pixels: The stages of literacy technologies . In Gail E. Hawisher & Cynthia L. Selfe (Eds.), Passions.

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Those who braved the clumsy technology to type text were condemned to using a system that seemed diabolically abron to slow a writer down well below anything that could be done on an IBM Selectric, or even with a pencil. Overall, I found this article to be very interesting!!

But technology has a trailing edge as well as a down side, and studying how computers are put to use raises serious issues in the politics of work and mechanisms of social control.

The question of authenticity of writing in the context of the computer and the internet is obviously a concern for anyone using them today. I mean we were tracking that sensitive intelligence.

Evelyn Tribble and Anne Trubek. Security experts, well aware of the problems of digital fraud, are developing scramblers, electronic watermarks and invisible tagging devices to protect the integrity of digital files, and hackers are probably working just as hard to defeat the new safeguards.

Therefore, the original text is easier to manipulate and becomes harder to trust. It starts to become more familiar to users, which allows it to evolve into new uses and forms. By the time Gesner observed the pencil, it had been adopted as a tool by note-takers, natural scientists or others who needed to write, sketch, or take measurements in the field.


Moreover, in a kind of backward wave, the new technology begins to affect older technologies as well. Writing lacks such tonal cues of the human voice as pitch and stress, not to mention the physical cues that accompany face to face communication, but it also permits new ways of bridging time and space. Needless to say, fraudulent computer text is even easier to compose and promulgate across the bandwidth.

This article contained some interesting facts about the origins of some of the most commonly used writing technologies we use today and how they developed. Email required Address never made public. But to do these things, he was also an engineer and marketing expert.

Baron then summarizes the stages literacy technology goes through: At last, in the early s, programs like WordStar began to produce text that looked more like the typing that many writers had become used to. One of the major technological advances in pencil-making occurred in the early twentieth century, when manufacturers learned to attach rubber tips to inexpensive wood pencils by means of a brass clamp.

When computers were first established they were very expensive and rare. No erasing or crossing out.

A Study of Baron’s “From Pencils to Pixels: The Stages of Literacy Technologies” | caseyneville

However, I wish he had given examples outside of this very specific situation. Successful new technologies must be accessible, useful and trustworthy. You are commenting using your WordPress. It was resisted at first because it was untrustworthy, but eventually caught on. As a literacy technology like writing begins to become established, it also goes beyond the previous technology in innovative, often compelling ways.


Doubters could question witnesses, watch their eyes, see whether witnesses sank when thrown bound into a barin. By continuing to use this website, you agree to their use. Thoreau and Pencil Technology.

Theories of Literacy

It also talks about how the development of new technologies is always accompanied by supporters and detractors. The Technology of Writing. Early pencils had knobs at one end so that they could be fastened with string or chain to a notebook, creating the precursor to the laptop computer. I found it interesting that Baron viewed writing by hand as overwhelming and constricting.

Writing therefore remained exclusive, until cheap paper became available, and the printing press made mass production too written texts more affordable and less labor-intensive. For writing to spread into a more general population in the ancient world, it had first to gain acceptance by approximating spoken language.

The same goes for the computer.

But even today, most written text does not transcribe spoken language: You are commenting using your Twitter account. New York Times March 16p. Baron writes about how the telephone has become one of the main ways information is passed around.