Thursday, October 14, 2010

Analysis and Monks

Well, I have just finished doing the counts of the survey. I know that the title of these analysis pieces include the word weekly. Well, I haven't been able to keep up with a weekly analysis. The numbers were have here are an amalgamation of a couple or three weeks of surveys. I am not to concerned over how accurate this is because the shorter data sampling rate is still consistent with the timeline that I am currently using.

The numbers are holding for most of the indicators. 100% of all students using a typewriter on a daily journal activity enjoy using the typewriter. This is an identical answer rate as on the 29th of September. The only difference is that 75% versus 85% on 9/29 strongly agree that they enjoy using the typewriter.

The numbers for statement 5 (The computer is better to write on.) are sliding clearly to the center with 50% being neutral to the statement. I take this to mean that more and more students are seeing that the mode of writing is secondary to what is being written. The typewriter is a tool to write as is a computer or a fountain pen. I would imagine that if I included students using fountain pens in the data set the numbers would be roughly the same.

The students' reply to number 6 (My writing has more meaning [when I use the typewriter].) has jumped to 60% either agreeing or strongly agreeing with the statement. They are seeing value in their writing when using a typewriter. Why would a typewriter make them feel their writing has more meaning?

I have the feeling it has something to do with the artistic nature of using a typewriter. Typing on a typewriter has, for lack of a better word, a primitive feel. By primitive, I mean visceral; like painting with a brush or drawing with a piece of charcoal. With these processes you can feel the act of artistic creation through the soft glide of the bristles over canvas or the scratch of the coal in the peaks and valleys of the paper. There is an innately artsy aspect to pressing the key. You can press softly and barely make an impression. You can press firmly and make a dark, distinct mark. There seems to be an infinitely variable amount of opportunity with a typewriter. As the artist can make the brush or charcoal go in any direction the typist can control the process of creation. The forms, the shapes, the typefaces all lend to this artistic process. The writer can be connected through this arcane, primitive (there's that word again) process and become an artist.

An artist values his work and sees value and meaning in it regardless of the value that society (or an English teacher in Phoenix) places on it. The effort that went into creating this art is akin to illuminated manuscripts made by the monks on Lindisfarne. The difficult process made art that was immensely valuable to the creator. This art, simple typed journal entries, become illuminated manuscripts; beautiful in their form and the crafting of each individual letter.

I feel this way when I type something nicely on my HH at school. My seating chart is an example. I type it on my wide-carriage HH. That way I can type in landscape. When all the names are in their places I take the paper out and admire the dark neat letters. Simultaneously perfect and imperfect; little illuminations on a piece of paper.