Tuesday, April 9, 2013

Post Literacy or Hyper Literacy?

When we speak of a post literate era we do not mean no literacy.  It is like speaking of Europe as post Christian.  It does not mean there are no Christians, it simply means that Christianity is no longer central to life.  Statistics can be right and yet very misleading.  Recent headlines on NBC News Website  states: "More than 50 percent of students at four-year schools and more than 75 percent at two-year colleges lacked the skills to perform complex literacy tasks."  Depending on what you read it gets much, much worse.  "How can it be that, between 1982 and 2007, reading declined by nearly 20% for the overall U.S. population and 30% for young adults aged 18–24, or that 40 million Americans read at the lowest literacy level?" (see the whole article).

But maybe there is another way of looking at it.

We are moving into an era where literacy as we know it is no longer the main or only way to amass knowledge and information.  This might be a good thing.  God did not create us with the means to read and write.  We cannot simply watch someone else do it and automatically pick it up.  It is a skill alien to us and must be learned through rigorous study.  That is not a bad thing but it may not be the best thing.  With the advent of the digital age (and beyond) there are more ways to learn that are more akin to how we were created to learn.  The following link will take you to the new business book.  It has all the information of the traditional business book but is designed to more easily flow with the natural way we learn: Book Yourself Solid.  

Imagine if textbooks were written like this.  Well the day is here.  More and more information is being passed on and processed visually (which is far more efficient).  The question is "how important is literacy for the future?"  The answer may be "not very important."  This will come at a price but it is not a matter of choice.  The future is already here.  In the next decade more and more of the world will absorb information more than read it.  If you are interested read this book/blog: Beyond Literacy is a thought experiment about the demise of literacy and the rise of other capabilities, capacities or tools that will effectively and advantageously displace reading and writing.