Literate Lives in the Information Age: Narratives of Literacy from the United States

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Lawrence Erlbaum Associates, 2004 - Education - 259 pages
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This book chronicles the development of electronic literacies through the stories of individuals with varying backgrounds and skills. Authors Cynthia L. Selfe and Gail E. Hawisher employ these stories to begin tracing technological literacy as it has emerged over the last few decades within the United States. They selected 20 case studies from the corpus of more than 350 people who participated in interviews or completed a technological literacy questionnaire during six years of their study. The book is organized into seven chapters that follow the 20 participants in their efforts to acquire varying degrees of technological literacy. Each chapter situates the participants' life-history accounts in the cultural ecology of the time, tracing major political, economic, social, and educational events, factors, and trends that may have influenced--and been influenced by--literacy practices and values. These literacy histories are richly sown with information that can help those in composition and writing studies situate the processes of acquiring the literacies of technology in specific cultural, material, educational, and familial contexts.

These case studies provide initial clues about combinations of factors that affect--and are affected by--technological literacy acquisition and development. The first-hand accounts presented here offer, in abundant detail, everyday literacy experiences that can help educators, parents, policymakers, and writing teachers respond to today's students in more informed ways.

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About the author (2004)

Gail E. Hawisher is an associate professor of English and the director of the Center for Writing Studies at the University of Illinois at Urbana-Champaign.


Cynthia L. Selfe is a professor and head of the Humanities Department at Michigan Technological University.

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