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Squaring Off

In the Chronicle of Higher Ed’s blogs this week, two voices sound off on the state of literacy or, as I like to think of it, the “Why Johnny Can’t Read 2.0” debate.

Laurie Fendrich, “Bad Student Writing? Not So Fast!”

vs.

Mark Bauerlein, “Technology and the Seduction of Revolution”

Each references a recent Wired entry by Clive Thompson relating an interview with Andrea Lunsford where she notes:

“I think we’re in the midst of a literacy revolution the likes of which we haven’t seen since Greek civilization,” she says. For Lunsford, technology isn’t killing our ability to write. It’s reviving it—and pushing our literacy in bold new directions.

What I particularly like happens in the comments on the Bauerlein piece, where a reader reminds us all that seismic shifts in literacy take a long time to manifest; we need time to sort out what new forms our writing will take in this new medium, a process no doubt complicated by the increasing pace at which the medium itself changes. I sometimes wonder when we’ll hit a stable platform, what the digital correspondent of the bound book will be?

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