Copy and paste literacy by dan perkel
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Copy and paste literacy by dan perkel. A Socio-technical model of literacy. According to Andrea diSessa: Literacy is the convergence of a large number of genres and social niches on a common representational form

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Copy and paste literacy by dan perkel

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Copy and paste literacyby danperkel

A Socio-technical model of literacy

  • According to Andrea diSessa:

    • Literacy is the convergence of a large number of genres and social niches on a common representational form

    • For a literacy practice to be powerful, it must be “two-way,” involving a “reading” and a “writing” component

    • Values, beliefs, community practices, economies, and history play roles in thinking about the development of new literacies

    • Defines genre as “the specialized form in which we find literacy exercised in production and consumption”

A Socio-technical model of literacy

  • Bakhtin says:

    • that generic forms shape how we choose our words and construct thoughts in communication;

    • and on the flip side, the generic form we hear in others’ speech shapes how we interpret and construct meaning

  • Genre is the conceptual glue that binds social activity to technical activity

  • diSessa argues that any new media-related practice can only be considered a part of literacy if it involves production as well as consumption

Myspace profile creation and new media literacy practices

  • There are many technical things in why a MySpace page can look different than others:

    • Members can use the profile forms to enter HTML and Cascading Style Sheets (CSS) codes that override the basic look of the page.

    • Members “embed” media in their pages by pasting codes that links to images, video, audio, and even games.

    • People can comment on other people’s pages that often include embedded media.

The role of the medium – from “coding” to “copy and Paste”

  • People are not copying and pasting media. They are copying and pasting codes that link to the sources of that media.

  • The pages are materially connected  Through members’ choices and those by their friends in comments, each person’s form of expression is connected to others’ expressions, which in turn are connected to others’ and so on.

  • The creation of a MySpace profile is neither “reading” or “writing,” but is somehow both at the same time.

The role of the medium – from “coding” to “copy and Paste”

  • The idea that the same message in different form is still the same message implies that social context of use, the specifics of the activity, and the specifics of the medium have little importance in determining meaning.

  • Even if this is true, how good of a learning environment is MySpace for mastering this technical aspect of web programming?

The role of the medium – from “coding” to “copy and Paste”

  • Networked computational media changes the act of copying and pasting in a number of distinct ways:

    • Members can copy and paste links to almost any type of medium- images, sounds, music, video, and games

    • Members can continuously update what their profile looks like, changing what is there or adding what isn’t.

    • Copying and pasting on the web is easy; a lot of material is available through the same browser interface

Participation and remix – new conceptual tools

  • Ito offers the concept of “participation” as an alternative to consumption.

  • If “participation” is a socially oriented word that challenges the consumption/production dichotomy, then “remix” may be its technical counterpart to bridge the reading/writing dichotomy.

  • The word “remix” was originally used to describe the mixing of music, but has been appropriated over the past few years to describe the mixing of a variety of media forms to create new products.


  • From the perspective of the social niche of traditional schooling, to copy and paste is to plagiarize, unless there is credit to the sources.

  • But, on the other hand, from other social niches, such as software development, copying and pasting is routine and is a fundamental part of everyday practice.


  • How might ‘cutting and pasting literacy’ fit in the education system in a socially constructive way?

  • Think of a time when you used ‘cutting and pasting’ literacy in your education, how did this practice help you to interpret and/or make meaning?

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