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In this paper, we discuss in particular detail the educational publishing project, Connexions , as an example of a new technology that is both a natural evolutionout of literacy and the printing press and a revolutionary change or paradigm shift that will be as disruptive as were writing andprinting. The reason we do this in a historical context is to develop Connexions in a deliberate way, to achieve the positive goals we currently envisage for education as well as generalinformation usage, and to use a strategy that will attempt to maximize the positive unintended consequences and minimize thenegative ones. We try to take a “holistic” approach, taking into account what goes on (or can go on) in the human brain, what goeson (or can go on) in individuals or small groups, and what can go on in large societies or cultures.

Because this short paper covers a large span of time, ideas, and history that cannot be fully developed, weprovide a fairly comprehensive set of references.


The emergence of writing and literate activity some five thousand years ago transformed human life as profoundlyas the earlier revolutions of intensive agriculture and language. [Goody]

The earliest uses of writing were to record lists of inventories and of sale and purchase transactions. Later,writing served as a means of helping the memory of storytellers in the oral tradition—writing was used as a prompt, not as part of anintellectual or creative activity. The people who read used writing to help them remember stories they and their audiences alreadyknew. Only later did people read stories that writers had created, not merely recorded.

Without writing, the literate mind would not and could not think as it does, not only when engaged in writingbut normally even when it is composing its thoughts in oral form. More than any other single invention, writing has transformed humanconsciousness. [Ong, p. 78]

Resistance to change occurred even in the earliest stages of literacy. As intellectuals, leaders, andthinkers considered the merits of this new “technology” called writing and literacy, they predicted its potential shortcomings. Inthe Phaedrus , Plato has Socrates say that writing is inhuman, a pretender, establishing “outside the mind what in reality can beonly in the mind,” then adding that “writing weakens the mind.” Perhaps writing does weaken the memory, just as the calculator mayweaken the memorized knowledge of the multiplication tables or speed-dial may reduce the memory of telephone numbers. Experiencehas demonstrated, however, that some very positive personal and societal effects accompanied these “weakenings.”

Some of the dire predictions came true, of course, because they were grounded in what was known. The positivethings produced by literacy generally outweighed the negative but were often not predictable because nothing like them had ever existed. Literacy created a new culture, but it also destroyed partof the old one, and that should be kept in mind. This example illustrates the Law of Unintended Consequences .

Questions & Answers

what is Nano technology ?
Bob Reply
write examples of Nano molecule?
The nanotechnology is as new science, to scale nanometric
nanotechnology is the study, desing, synthesis, manipulation and application of materials and functional systems through control of matter at nanoscale
Is there any normative that regulates the use of silver nanoparticles?
Damian Reply
what king of growth are you checking .?
What fields keep nano created devices from performing or assimulating ? Magnetic fields ? Are do they assimilate ?
Stoney Reply
why we need to study biomolecules, molecular biology in nanotechnology?
Adin Reply
yes I'm doing my masters in nanotechnology, we are being studying all these domains as well..
what school?
biomolecules are e building blocks of every organics and inorganic materials.
anyone know any internet site where one can find nanotechnology papers?
Damian Reply
sciencedirect big data base
Introduction about quantum dots in nanotechnology
Praveena Reply
what does nano mean?
Anassong Reply
nano basically means 10^(-9). nanometer is a unit to measure length.
do you think it's worthwhile in the long term to study the effects and possibilities of nanotechnology on viral treatment?
Damian Reply
absolutely yes
how to know photocatalytic properties of tio2 nanoparticles...what to do now
Akash Reply
it is a goid question and i want to know the answer as well
characteristics of micro business
for teaching engĺish at school how nano technology help us
Do somebody tell me a best nano engineering book for beginners?
s. Reply
there is no specific books for beginners but there is book called principle of nanotechnology
what is fullerene does it is used to make bukky balls
Devang Reply
are you nano engineer ?
fullerene is a bucky ball aka Carbon 60 molecule. It was name by the architect Fuller. He design the geodesic dome. it resembles a soccer ball.
what is the actual application of fullerenes nowadays?
That is a great question Damian. best way to answer that question is to Google it. there are hundreds of applications for buck minister fullerenes, from medical to aerospace. you can also find plenty of research papers that will give you great detail on the potential applications of fullerenes.
what is the Synthesis, properties,and applications of carbon nano chemistry
Abhijith Reply
Mostly, they use nano carbon for electronics and for materials to be strengthened.
is Bucky paper clear?
carbon nanotubes has various application in fuel cells membrane, current research on cancer drug,and in electronics MEMS and NEMS etc
so some one know about replacing silicon atom with phosphorous in semiconductors device?
s. Reply
Yeah, it is a pain to say the least. You basically have to heat the substarte up to around 1000 degrees celcius then pass phosphene gas over top of it, which is explosive and toxic by the way, under very low pressure.
Do you know which machine is used to that process?
how to fabricate graphene ink ?
for screen printed electrodes ?
What is lattice structure?
s. Reply
of graphene you mean?
or in general
in general
Graphene has a hexagonal structure
On having this app for quite a bit time, Haven't realised there's a chat room in it.
how did you get the value of 2000N.What calculations are needed to arrive at it
Smarajit Reply
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