Template literacy

In the richer parts of the world, computers are integral in all kinds of communication. Schools in many countries are changing their teaching so they can better prepare their students to communicate with computers.


As schools begin to teach the skills of digital literacy, computers with easy-to-use authoring software become a new electronic "writing pad" for projected presentations, homepages, weblogs, or digital audio and video. These writing pads don't have blank sheets, however. The user begins his or her creation with a template.

A template is a piece that is already partly made: it has a selected visual (or aural) style, a hierarchy, and has blank fields for the necessary parts of the piece that the user must remember to create.


Studies published by Gordon Shaw, Robert Brown and Philip Bromiley and by Edward R. Tufte indicate these templates strongly influence what is created.


It seems that a broader understanding of how templates influence finished works is an important part of digital literacy.

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