Emig and Eldred

Emig begins her essay by stressing the importance of verbal language on writing. Acquiring language without a doubt assists in the writing process because it enables one to generate ideas. These ideas then must be decoded into written characters. While talking creates ideas, acting as a sort of prewriting, it does not completely transfer into elegant, clear, and logical prose. Emig says, “pre-writing is not to say that writing is talk recorded, an inaccuracy appearing in far too many composition texts”.  There are several differences between these two forms of communication. Perhaps the most significant contrast stems from the fact that writing is an artificial process whereas talking comes from mimicking a language enriched environment. Furthermore, writing is a form of “primary technology” while talking on the other hand comes natural and prior to writing. Since talking does not represent a rough draft of writing, it must contribute in some other way to our ability to write. Emig believes that we learn to write, indeed learn in general, through reinforcement and feedback. By being selective and making use of propositions and hypothesis, we gather information and learn through seeing images, restating words, and doing (also called kinesthetics). Like Faulkner who claimed “The Sound and The Fury” derived from an image of a muddy girl’s drawers, we too use these more right brained aspects to compose writing—what many considered solely a left brained activity. Ultimately, writing gives meaning to our three major tenses of experience (past, present, future) by a process of analysis, breaking down important parts, and synthesis, forming connections between these parts and creating a unified meaning. In Eldred’s piece, she discusses the growing concern of digital communication’s role in University composition. While the divide between professor can be great, with some relying on digital communication and others using traditional tools of paper and pens, Eldred contends that on both ends of the spectrum teachers need to learn more about “new media”. In one instance, students created a virtual museum as a pedagogical website. This site served as a model for scholars interested in digital learning and even allowed its authors to address potential problems. While other concerns exist, the major drawback to this wave of digital learning is purely political. Certainly, some people will profit as technology progresses while others are left behind and specific cultural values will be embedded in the software of digital learning. Selber in Eldred’s article, states, “computers often exacerbate the very inequities that technology is so frequently supposed to ameliorate”. In other words, with technology comes new problems. This isn’t to say that we should regress to the stone age; instead, we need to address these issues. One way includes issuing students the responsibility to produce digital texts that present information in a more user friendly manner or into the “territory of writing and communication”.  Surely, this alleviates, to a certain degree, the question of profits by having students create informational websites, hypertextual bibliographies, and other online documents. All in all, new media should incorporate a range of “materialities” of texts. By doing this, we can examine the components of digital texts, from interfaces to graphics, that hinder or help individuals learn different subjects.

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