About Me

Education, the knowledge society, the global market all connected through technology and cross-cultural communication skills are I am all about. I hope through this blog to both guide others and travel myself across disciplines, borders, theories, languages, and cultures in order to create connections to knowledge around the world. I teach at the University level in the areas of Business, Language, Communication, and Technology.

Monday, February 9, 2009

So much for the end of reading!

In the most recent addition of The Advocate, the journal put out by the National Education Association (NEA)'s higher education wing, there was a short article reporting on figures from the National Census Bureau (in the US) that literary reading had increased. What was surprising was that those who reported an increase in reading a book, poem, or other forms of literary reading were in the age group of 18-23.

For me, this helps to support my hypothesis that we are becoming a text based society in the US. My students would prefer to write an e-mail, text to their professors or employers (not to mention family and friends), and spend a lot of time reading on the internet.

What the article does not say is what form the literary works take. In addition to new channels (away from the book stores and now moving through the internet), there are new devices for reading books including electronic readers and even iphones/blackberries.

I wonder how these new devises will change the way that we read, although the way we publish and distribute books is already changing. Will readers demand alternative endings to books? Will the books of the future be more interactive? Will readers be able to choose the path of a story as they do in video games now? Is the publishing world even prepared for the new books of the future? I look at the Newberry Awards and the disconnect they seem to have with "popular" taste and the taste of the traditionally "non-reader". Harry Potter, Twilight, and other megahits amoung teens today do not make the list of "literary" awards. And yet, it is because of these series that youth are becoming interested in books again. I wonder if "digital literacy" will change definitions as our "digital youth" turn to new forms of literature.


Blogger In Middle-earth said...

a ora Virginia

'Text based' is a loaded term. A book is text, an email is text, a Tweet is text.

So-called 'readers' who prefer the text to be digital don't necessarily read it digitally. Many colleagues I have worked with print out communications in order to read them, yet they'd prefer the information to be sent to them digitally - sigh.

The advent of the so-called E-book type device such as Amazon Kindle provides digital text and the readers read digitally.

No so with some so-called ebooks that are really pdf files that can be so difficult to read that the 'owners' print them out in order to read them. The style of how these files are visually designed also suggests that they should be printed, for they are certainly not designed to be easily read from the screen.

Catchya later
from Middle-earth

V Yonkers said...

I agree that there are difference between the different types of "text", but it is text (language represented by symbols) rather than oral communication.

I believe that my generation (late baby-boomers) are tied more towards oral traditions as a result of TV, audio recorders, telephone, video, etc... It is amazing to me that ipods are as popular for my generation as the younger generation. I think it is because we tend not to be so "text" dependent.

I'm just not sure the the implications will be for the future. Already, I see a difference in "listening" ability among new students (and my own kids). But as you point out, the text is different than that written in a book (digital text), so the way of reading I think will be changing also.

BTW, I know many my age who convert to PDF files and then "listen" to it through the computer artificial voice.