Baron, Dennis "From Pencils to Pixels: The Stages of Literacy Technology"

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In “From Pencils to Pixels,” Dennis Baron asserts that “the computer is simply the latest step in a long line of writing technologies” (118). Before stating his assertion, Baron provides a short glimpse of reactions to technologies, specifically to computers: some people love them and some people are extremely adverse to them. He also describes the general trend of reactions to new technologies introduced into society: excitement and confusion, tried out, rejected, and adapted into daily life while adapting ourselves to it as well. Baron proves this point by going all the way back to the first writing technology: writing.

Since ancient times, many have been skeptical about writing, for some had been used for fraudulent purposes. However, today we are surrounded by text and have adapted ourselves to the written word. Baron continues to describe the development of the pencil. While many are so familiar with this technology that they believe is the “natural” and “traditional” way, the pencil was a created and changed the writing process. Then came the telegraph to which the creator of the modern pencil--Thoreau--was opposed. Baron goes on to discuss the controversy of the telephone, in which elicited many unrealized predictions. Finally, Baron discusses the history of computer technology. For the full adaption and acceptance of the computer (like with all other technologies), people need to be able to authenticate the writing to ensure their trust and confidence, in addition to attributing expertise to the author. Since this task is so difficult on the Internet, the task becomes trying to create ways or methods in which people can do that. Baron finishes his article with a few predictions that some have made regarding the future of the computer and the Internet and states that it is still too soon to see what is in store for the future.

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