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Interchange – Keeping a Hand in Mind: Reading and Writing in a Digital World


Should we try to understand reading and writing as primary ways of making a particular kind of human; a way we embody consciousness. Are you “formed” in the forming act? For example, with your hands you made letters and words–you write (not type) a self–you are embodied in the language you craft. Memory lives in the act. Without the act the self subsides and you become the vessel–the clay pot and not the potter.

How does digital mediation affect not only how we read and write, but who we are?

The physicality of books (smell and touch); the aspect of “possession” of the tangible book as opposed to the ephemeral nature of the digital; children’s use of a pen or pencil to practice writing letters enhances language learning.

The Myth of Impoverished Signal” (Naomi Baron on the “Smiley”)

Brain activation patterns resulting from learning letter forms through active self-production and passive observation in young children” by Karin James

Naomi Baron is the author of Always On: Language in an Online and Mobile World and most recently Words Onscreen: The Fate of Reading in a Digital World. She is a Professor of Linguistics and the Executive Director of Center for Teaching, Research and Learning World Languages and Cultures at American University in Washington, D.C.

Karin James is an Associate Professor of Psychology in the Department of Psychological and Brain Sciences, and Director of the The Cognition and Action Neuroimaging Laboratory at Indiana University. Her research program centers around the idea that direct, physical interactions with the environment changes the brain processing that underlies learning, and is important for the acquisition of many cognitive skills.

“Words I Manifest” by Gang Starr
“My Pen and Pad” by Blackalicious
“Kodachrome” by Paul Simon
“Read a Book” by Pylon

Producer & Host: Doug Storm
Board Engineer: Joe Crawford
Executive Producer: Joe Crawford

Interchange – Minded By Algorithms: Digitizing the Word


Host Doug Storm talks with Ted Striphas, an Associate Professor in the Department of Communication & Culture at Indiana University and the author of the 2009 title The Late Age of Print: Everyday Book Culture from Consumerism to Control, about the ways that book technology has evolved and the ways in which humans evolved with it. 

In discussing the digitization of “the word” we look at  Amazon.com’s Kindle: not only at the ways we read Kindles (and how they mimic the form of the book) but also how Kindles read us by sending information about our very marginalia back into the Cloud of knowing.

We also discuss the ways in which a digital information age bears a striking resemblance to what Hannah Arendt called a society where “there is nobody left with whom one could argue, to whom one could present grievances…in which everybody is deprived of political freedom, of the power to act; for the rule by Nobody is not no-rule, and where all are equally powerless we have a tyranny without a tyrant.”

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