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Technoliteracy Paper2

Technoliteracy Paper2

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Published by awilker

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Published by: awilker on Feb 10, 2009
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06/14/2009

 
Beth WilkersonComposition TheoryDr. Cynthia Haynes3 February 2009
Reflections on My Technoliteracy Histories
As I learned from the interview with my mother last week, I am primarily anauditory and visual learner, particularly when it comes to learning about everyday tasksor classroom subject matter. As far as writing goes, I find that my writing is typicallybetter when I plan it prior to sticking the pen to paper. However, most of the times Itend to write stream-of-consciousness style until I am hit with a
“Eureka!” moment.
 Typically I will write a long paper in a short amount of time and then spend a significantamount of time editing it, moving text about extensively in Microsoft Word, sometimeseven changing my thesis (or lack thereof) completely. Assuming no one is nearby, I willusually talk myself through my ideas as they are developing and listen for mistakes as Iwrite and read aloud. Thanks to the computer and the Internet, I am able to multitask asI write and learn, constantly looking up definitions for words, finding additional sourcesonline, and cutting and pasting new information into a document.
My Earliest Experiences with Writing Technology
One of my first learning experiences in regards to writing technology was with thetypewriter. My mother had an old typewriter she had used in college during the 1970sthat miraculously still worked 25 years later. When I came home from the first day ofseventh grade English and told her that I had to start
typing 
my papers instead ofwriting them by hand as I had done previously, she whipped the old contraption out fromstorage. She showed me how to move the upper part back and forth when I reached theend of a line, while instructing me to take extra precaution when typing because thetypewriter had a limited supply of correctional ink.
Because of the typewriter’s lack of
editing capabilities, I continued to draft papers by hand and later type them carefully onthe typewriter. Although I eventually grew to appreciate
the typewriter’s
ability to
 
Wilkerson 2
professionalize the look of my school papers, I remained very aware that my family wasbehind the times technologically.In middle school, my friends would brag about how their fathers had justpurchased a new Dell, how they had just received their first cell phone in their stocking,or how their favorite channels were HBO and Cinemax. As someone living in a house on adead-end road in the country, surrounded by cows and chickens, without cable, acomputer, or the Internet, I felt technologically inadequate.
 This isn’t to say that my
family was full of country bumpkins without any technological experience whatsoever, but
we certainly didn’
t go out of our way to embrace technology either. I used
my mom’s
 typewriter throughout seventh grade until my uncle discovered a used MS DOScomputer at a yard sale and bought it for us. While the
“new” computer’s typing
program did not include spell check or copy and paste, or contain the ability to connectto the Internet, it was definitely an improvement to the typewriter. I felt like my familyand I were finally moving one step in the right technological direction. Through trial and error, I learned how to draft and present papers creativelybased on the limitations of MS DOS. For example, since MS DOS did not containfeatures such as bold, italics, or underline (or allow for changes in font size), I learned tocreate text art out of letters to form my
papers’ titles
. For a research paper on thehistory of Iroquois Indians, for instance, I created a title page with a text image muchlike the following:
IIIII RRRRR OOOOO QQQQQ U U OOOOO IIIII SSSSSI R R O O Q Q U U O O I SI RRRRRR O O Q Q U U O O I SSSSSI R R O O Q Q U U O O I SIIIII R R OOOOO QQQQQQ UUUUUU OOOOO IIIII SSSSSQ
Even though I wasn’t learning the most up
-to-date technology at that time, I
was 
 learning how to make do with what little resources I had. I was also learning the value oftechnology in enhancing the writing process. After all, even MS DOS allowed for quick 
 
Wilkerson 3
editing of papers with features such as copy and paste, backspace, and delete. Even it,with all its limitations, provided a means for taking charge of my writing process.
Transitioning to a New Technology
Eventually my family purchased an Emachine computer when I was 14 along with a
year’s subscription to the local Prodigy dial
-up Internet service. Finally, I was able totype my papers with a more advanced editing function, thanks to Microsoft Word. It wasat this time that I also truly discovered the Internet. Prior to the Emachine purchase, myonly relationship with the Web was the occasional book search in the school library or apersonal
email sent from a friend’s computer.
When I was home alone during the summerafter eighth grade, I began to log on to the built-in chat room site for Prodigy. There, Ichatted with people from around the world. We shared pictures, news stories, and linksto interesting, funny, and educational Web sites. As cheesy as it sounds, the Internetexpanded my naïve 14-year-old world. I was no longer a little country girl sitting in arandom house in the middle of nowhere, but someone who was connected to everythingimaginable. My writing began to improve because I possessed unlimited access to newsarticles, e-books, and blog entries. These Internet resources served as examples ofgreat writing and as suggestions for how to improve my own. I joined a blog site,LiveJournal, and began to share my writing with others. I learned through the writings ofothers about other areas of the world, how to use blogging technology, how to postpictures, videos, and comments to blogs. I learned how to make my own icons for my journal profile, how to use basic HTML for editing the layout, and most importantly, howto write using a new technological medium.
Immersing Myself in the Newfound Technology
 Throughout high school and college, I grew so familiar with computers and theWeb that I became the go-to guru for all my friends and family members whenever acomputer problem arose. My stepdad, at the time a part-time business instructor, paidme to type and edit his student tests and quizzes. My mother called on me toincorporate her material for work presentations in flashy yet professional PowerPoint

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