Technology and the Web
--ebook Web. The best single site on the Net for finding out about the ebook industry and developments in areas ranging from hardware to copyright.
--The Electronic Paper Chase. A Scientific American article about electronic ink, which is expected to make e-books as easy to read as the paper variety.
--Computer-Mediated Communication resources. Yes, TeleRead could spread the technology around. But how to make the best use of it? What about the human side? And just what are people doing now with the technology? Check out the Computer-Mediated Communication Studies Center and related resources, including Computer-Mediated Communication Magazine. The May 1995 issue offers a fascinating article, "How Will This Improve Student Writing?" A preliminary investigation found that "Students who were more than able to get their point across in the online environment wrote stilted and stiff prose in the offline environment, and each rater commented on the difficulty of reading and evaluating the off-line texts when compared with the online texts." In my opinion, as society increasingly goes online, net.writing will count for its own sake. Just the same, we must ask, "What can educators to do improve offline writing as well?"
--The Web as a true many-to-many medium. A Net-smart writer named Misha Glouberman proposes "third-party databases that correlate user-contributed comments with the addresses of Web pages. Effectively, the system would make it possible for users to add comments to any page on the Web." His Webbed proposal includes links to others with somewhat similar ideas. Way to go, Misha! I've long felt that a TeleRead-style library should let readers annotate e-books and even exchange comments among themselves. Readers could easily ignore or switch off such capabilities, or could subscribe to private services that were selective in the comments posted.