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e-Pages: What?

posted: 3.20.13 by Barclay Barrios

So what was it like using one of the selections from e-Pages?

Well, for starters, it’s one of the few times I’ve ever had students “like” a reading. I won’t claim that had anything to do with having the reading online; I think it had a lot more to do with the subject matter (as one student described it, “it’s about that MySpace porn star”) and the fact that the events of the essay took place in South Florida, not far from our school.  About the usual number of students actually did the reading, with about the same mix of those using laptops in class and those who had printed the reading.  For my students, it seems like it was just another reading.

What I found far more interesting was my own reaction to the reading.  I live and breathe technology.  I’ve taught whole classes using just PDFs and my iPad. I grade electronically, too. But I just couldn’t read this essay online. I had to print it out so that I could attack it properly: highlighting, underlining, annotating.

What it revealed to me was a subtle hierarchy of print and screen in my world.  Writing (including comments on student papers)? Screen. PDF? Screen (something about PDFs’ scalability and the really good annotation tools out there). Other online text? Print.

I didn’t realize how divided my print and digital literate practices were nor why (it wasn’t until I sat to write this that I realized why I’ll read a PDF online but not an essay in HTML). Am I alone in this or do you have your own quirks in terms of what’s done online and what’s done on dead tree?

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