Chapter Five: 1981-1985
The chapter highlights the stories of participants who were 20 to 24 years old at the time of participation and who finished high school or were actively pursuing an advanced degree. Two new concepts are introduced: cross border gateways and technology addiction. Participants in this generation were born at a time when the home computer was becoming accessible and affordable for many families on both sides of the border. Through the stories of these participants, clear cultural and economic differences come to light as well as the importance of literacy sponsors in the participants’ lives. Another important trend revealed is that exposure to and use of technology appears to enhance participants’ acceptance and willingness to learn new technologies. In this generation, electronic learning is more integrated into classrooms on both sides of the border, allowing for cross-border gateways. In addition, one participant refers to his enthusiasm for technology as an addiction, a concept not expressed in previous generations.
Scenters-Zapico comments on the instrumental role direct and indirect sponsors played in participants’ learning experiences. Likewise, sponsors of electronic literacies, whether they were indirect (an unexpected donor of a computer) or direct (a teacher) helped encourage and support technological literacies. The roles that shift between direct and indirect sponsorship as it relates to electronic literacy is something Scenters-Zapico has observed in this chapter, though he admits it is perhaps the least understood concept in regards to literacy sponsorship.