backAmong Johndan's Texts


In 1997, Johndan Johnson-Eilola wrote:

I take composition to mean something much broader than it currently does to many of us: not only traditional argumentation and prose style, but also the writing and reading of online documentation, the construction and use of vast online databases, and the electronic messages sent back and forth between participants in electronic discussions on bulletin boards, local area networks, and the Internet. (p. 7)

Years later, he encouraged compositionists to teach with spimes, or semiautonomous texts:

Spimes are simply objects that are aware of their own contexts and communicate about those contexts, usually using relativley cheap, wireless, networked sensors. (2010, p. 38)

Not only did Johndan encourage thinking differently about writing and texts, he practiced it. Here he is with a "proof of concept for a book tracking surface. The white cards (or a similar small chip) embedded in the bindings of specific books can be used to track the books when they pass scanners" (Johnson-Eilola, 2012). An inexpensive RFID reader:

Texts, in this world, gain identities: They move, they form alliances and make friends. More importantly, we gain the ablity to see how those texts move. What will it mean when we can show each other detailed maps of the migration of texts in a gifted scholar's workspace? When we can examine our own and others' maps to note useful patterns or disruptions? (Johnson-Eilola, 2012)