From Pencils to Pixels: The Stages of Literacy Technologies. Dennis Baron. This article contained some interesting facts about the origins of. In “From Pencils to Pixels: The Stages of Literacy Technologies,” Dennis Baron attempts to explain the histories of writing technologies. Baron, Dennis. (). From pencils to pixels: The stages of literacy technologies . In Gail E. Hawisher & Cynthia L. Selfe (Eds.), Passions.

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Dennis Baron – Google Scholar Citations

We assume that pencils are a natural way to write because they are old — or at least because we have come to think of them as being old.

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baeon Once he developed the best pencil of the day, Thoreau saw no sense in trying to improve on his design. Overall, this was a very interesting article and I liked reading about past technologies that have influenced literacy throughout history.

Pencils to Pixels Source Analysis by on Prezi

Although most people think of writers as rejecting technological advances, he says that this is not always true. There is a lot of work that goes into its physical production and it underwent several changes before it became the pencil we see today. Written by drewloewe March 1, at 6: It is not until the technology spreads pencjls it really comes into its own.

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Carrying pens and ink pots outdoors was cumbersome. The development of writing itself illustrates the stages of technological spread.

It was also neat to read an article about computers that was written in Both the supporters and the critics of new communication technologies like to compare them to the good, or bad, old days. In the two hundred fifty years between its invention, in the s, and its perfection at John Thoreau and Company, as well as in the factories of Conte in France, and Staedtler and Faber in Germany, the humble wood pencil underwent several changes in form, greatly expanded its functions, and developed from a curiosity of use to cabinet-makers, artists and note-takers into a tool so universally employed for writing that we seldom give it any thought.


Writing About Writing p. Evelyn Tribble and Anne Trubek. The computer is also touted as a gateway to literacy. Supporters and critics compare new writing technologies to old ones.

The first PC screens were grayish-black with green phosphor letters, displaying considerably less than a full page of text. In Charles Dunbar discovered a deposit of plumbago in Bristol, New Hampshire, and he and his brother-in-law, John Thoreau, went into the pencil business.

The same goes for the computer. Thoreau did not ascribe transcendent value to pencils. Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in: So the writers and users of documents had to develop their own means of authentication. Baron describes writing as a technology in and of itself.

The Governor of Illinois thinks that hooking up every school classroom to the Web will eliminate illiteracy. In the end I chose to stay with butyl, since everyone seemed to agree that, though heavier than latex, it was certainly not the worst thing in the world to ride on. The question of authenticity of writing in the context of the computer and the internet is obviously a concern for anyone using them today.


American pencil manufacturers had a hard time convincing the public that they could make a good native pencil.

I found that I had become so used to composing virtual prose at the keyboard I could no longer draft anything coherent directly onto a piece of paper. Later, Baron discusses the development and evolution of new literacy technologies. From Pencils to Pixels: All the university people whom we have attacked have been specialists in technical fields Pencil technologies involve advanced design techniques, the preparation and purification of graphite, the mixing of graphite with various clays, the baking and curing of the lead mixture, its extrusion into leads, and the preparation and finishing of the wood casings.

Dennis Baron’s “From Pencils to Pixels: The Stages of Literacy Technologies”

Mitchell explains the process used to create this photograph of Marilyn Monroe and Abraham Lincoln that never existed in the original. Regardless of the value parents and teachers still place on knowing math facts, calculators are now indispensable in math class. Another example he uses to demonstrate the affects of technology on literacy is about spell check. We wear clothing designed to be read.

Telephone companies backed down from their demand that phones only be used by their registered owners once another technological development, the pay telephone, was introduced, and their continued profits were assured this situation is analogous to the discussions of copy protection and site licensing for computer software today.