Will reading and writing remain important in the future?

Literacy

That’s the question The Economist poses in a recent article that examines the changing nature of literacy in our digital world. It’s a very thought provoking piece, since what it deals with essentially is not just literacy, but the manner in which humans relate to each other differently because of the growing access to the web and Internet. 

I didn’t have a PC or access to one when I did my undergraduate studies. Today, it’s tough to find a student in most universities who don’t either own their own PC, laptop or have easy access to one. I used to hand write all my papers. I can’t write anything more than a page now, since for over 8 years all my writing has been on a computer. My handwriting sucks.

I read more on the web than I read in print, yet I enjoy what I read in print more. Maybe that’s because what I read on the web is I have to and what I read in print is what I want to. 

My son, now 18 months old, takes to the computer as easily as he takes to books. As the Economist article notes, “Tomorrow’s adults live in a world of ubiquitous connectivity and pervasive proximity. Their direct experience of the world is wholly different from yours or mine.”

I just hope they don’t ever forget the pleasure of reading a book. Or its smell and the feel of paper. 

3 comments on “Will reading and writing remain important in the future?

  1. Kevin
    May 20, 2008 at 12:38 pm #

    I wonder if the generation growing up outside formal educational institutions in the developing world will ever need the literacy which Western diplomats value so much. For example, if they communicate predominantly through mobile phones, is reading and writing such an important skill?

  2. ivonotes
    May 20, 2008 at 8:40 pm #

    Ever check out the Institute for the Future of the book? Fun and provocative projects. http://www.futureofthebook.org/

    Cheers – ivan

  3. Sanjana Hattotuwa
    May 20, 2008 at 8:47 pm #

    Fascinating link that – thanks!

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