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Renee's Academic Realm\Essay 3

A. The Electronic Text

C. Print vs. Online Literacy

D. Electronic Texts: implications for an Online Literacy

E. Re-defining Literacy

F. Conclusion


B) The Notion of Literacy

A simplistic definition of literacy would be the ability to read and write. But what is reading and writing? In this electronic age, can reading and writing still mean the same as reading and writing traditional texts? As Tuman argues, these meanings are themselves unstable, and

  • "even worse, their meanings have shifted in the past, and may shift again in the future, precisely in response to technological change." (Tuman, 1992: 2)
  • Hence, we have a problem of trying to define something that does not even have a stable meaning here. However, it is insufficient to say that just because the meanings are unstable, it is pointless to discuss about them. Instead, we should recognise here that this apparent instability is a result of change, and so as long as we can identify the changes, it will be meaningful and useful, in fact, to examine this issue of defining literacy in the face of technological change. In this particular case, I seek to examine the impact of electronic texts on the notion of literacy.

    Copyright Renee's Realm. 2000.