Thursday, October 22, 2009

Topic: Literacy vs. Visuality.

10-second review: Wired’s Kevin Kelly: “We are now in the middle of a second Gutenberg shift—from book fluency, to screen fluency, from literacy to visuality.” p. 56.

Title: “ ‘The Lash of Film’: New Paradigms of Visuality in Teaching Shakespeare.” JH Cabat. English Journal (September 2009), 56-57. The secondary school journal of the National Council of Teachers of English (NCTE).

Summary/Quote: “The arrival of visuality means that students are now able to manipulate images as easily as text.” p. 57.

Quote: “…our days of showing clips from films as a supplement to the text to an essentially passive audience are numbered.” p. 57.

Comment: What can books do that pictures and films cannot? I prefer to think of text and pictures and film as complementary.

Students are able to manipulate images as easily as text? That’s a mighty big assumption. The use of images in Power Point is mindless, according to any number of critics. What they lack is a powerful, well-organized presentation by means of words.

If students are able to “manipulate text” so easily, why do we bother teaching writing? According to this statement, students already know how to organize, develop, summarize, revise and edit text.

The mindless use of pictures in English education journals is an example of the lack of evocative ideas that are much more clearly and completely expressed by means of words in the text.

What can books do that pictures cannot? What can pictures do that text cannot? That is the question. RayS.

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