Ball State University
8:15 — 9:45 Townhall II:
E-Literacy and Orality —
The Hands-Free, Voice-Activated,
Any-to-Any Future Classroom
Dene Grigar, moderator
John Barber, Tari Fanderclai, Ted Nellen, Kay Robinson, Rich Rice,
Carlton Clark, Nick Carbone, Jeff Rice, Becky Rickly
This open forum will include reflections about future iterations of
technological tools that may be used in the writing classroom by
some members of the Computers and Writing Community working
in cutting–edge fields or teaching in innovative ways. Speaker positions
are available at www.bsu.edu/cw2001/ townhall.htm. The question:
What tools will we likely use in the future, and why? Each presenter
will have 2–3 minutes to provide an opening statement.
My parents never imagined man would walk on the moon, but they saw it happen. I never imagined I'd
have the opportunity of getting into space, but I may now as a tourist. We imagine many things and
they seem to become realities in time.
One of my favorite movies, Men in Black has a scene where J and K are sitting on a bench and the K
1500 years ago everyone knew the Earth was the center of the Universe.
500 years ago everyone knew the Earth was flat.
15 minutes ago you knew people were alone on this planet.
Imagine what you will know tomorrow.
I like this because we have imagined that we will be able to communicate telepathically. And yet
this is becoming very real. NASA has recently announced and shown how with a watch wristband type
device equipped with sensors, they can guide a jet. This device translates the movement of the arm
and what it would do to guide that jet without using any other input device like the joystick,
mouse, or keyboard. They further demonstrated how this device could be used to type a letter my just
moving ones hands and not touching anything. They plan on using this device in space to perform very
difficult and heretofore undoable tasks in space. And this is only what they have made public. One
can only imagine what other input devices that tap our brains and nervous system, NASA is playing
around with. And of course we know from NASA, that once they perfect something it becomes a
commercial product like Velcro. Technology for the differently abled like retinal recognition is a
reality in education and has been around for awhile as developed by IBM and now being considered by
banks for us the customers. The ramification of these developing technologies for education is of
course phenomenal and will be exploited in the very near future because there is money to be made
and to recover some of the R&D monies and to provide funds for further development.
Nick spoke of the implant of a chip in the brain, yesterday, but said it may be 200 years from now.
I don't think it is that far away. Computers are archaic with the advent of palms and the like and
soon will become obsolete as we know them today in the very near future. In the West are medical
practices differ greatly from many Eastern practices like acupuncture and the like. It is said we
only use 10% of our brain. NASA is playing around with ways to tap more of its potential to allow us
to communicate without actually using any input device other that the impulses of our forearm. In
time they will develop ways to tap our brain to capture our thoughts and print them on a screen and
eventually to another without using the screen and make machines function.
I don't think it will be too long before we will be able to tap the electrical impulses of our brain
to write a composition without having to touch anything. Telepathic beings of Star Trek were a far
fetched idea and yet we are getting very close to seeing that happen in humans, if it isn't already
possible and NASA hasn't told us about it yet. Science fiction writers write about the not yet,
technology writers announce their coming of age, and English teachers bring it to the public.
What future iterations of technological tools may be used in the writing classroom? We can only
imagine and they will happen.