Tuesday, June 12, 2007

The Gap

From Michael Gorman's Web 2.0: The Sleep of Reason on the Brittannica Blog:

The difference is not, emphatically not, in the communication
technology involved. Print does not necessarily bestow authenticity,
and an increasing number of digital resources do not, by themselves,
reflect an increase in expertise. The task before us is to extend into
the digital world the virtues of authenticity, expertise, and scholarly
apparatus that have evolved over the 500 years of print, virtues often
absent in the manuscript age that preceded print.

Admittedly, when I saw this come through on Joyce Valenza's blog, I thought it was going to be an indictment of all things that rely on the wisdom of crowds. However, this quote stood out for me as something more than the theory of "the rising tide to lift all boats." It has validity, and I think it clearly defines what our push for new literacies must strive to do: make all of our learners ethical, thorough and utterly discerning citizens.


Bach said...


Related to your idea, here is a comment I also put on David Warlick's blog from his post this morning. (http://davidwarlick.com/2cents/2007/06/13/how-has-information-changed/)

One thing that is a constant between the past and present regarding information is what I call a person’s “comfort source”. When I was in elementary and middle school, that comfort source was the very old set of Encyclopiedia Britanica that my dad had bought. It was convenient (in our house), reliable (or so my Dad and teachers thought), and filled my need. (Gave me information to complete a homework assignment or school report.) Granted, there certainly were better sources had I chosen to have mom or dad drive me to the library, but again, the comfort. Today, even though the amounts of information has expanded exponentially and access is as easy as turning on a computer in the next room, I argue that a large amount of people (especially students) still turn to the electronic equivalent of my old encyclopedias because they “know” them. It might be wikipedia, it might be an online encyclopedia, or just the first hit that comes up in an unsophisticated Google search. Either way, I think the average student doesn’t look for writing that has “… express[ed] ourselves compellingly” (though that is an added bonus), they look for “comfort sites” that they know and that will get the task done.

Patrick Higgins said...

I couldn't agree with you more. A prime example is that this year we moved from SASI as out SIS and took on a product I am sure you have heard of called Genesis. The uproar is still being heard here among the teachers and the secretaries. The product is fine, but you would be hard pressed to hear many people say it. Because we removed a comfort source, as you call them, we through an equilibrium out of balance, even though the abilities of the new system are far superior.