“Literacy refers not just to being able to read, but to having taken in a whole culture around reading, a culture which usually comes through reading. With multimedia, the role of the written word may become much less important. In the future I suspect we will be less likely to associate people who are educated with people who have the ability to read books; someone who hasn’t read a single book might be an extremely well-informed and culturally rich person. I think we need to make a distinction between the connotation of literacy that has to do with cultural richness and the connotation of literacy that just has to do with print medium.
To make this point I’ve introduced the word “letteracy,” which refers to a very special knowledge about letters as distinct from the richer knowledge which is what we really care about. These two meanings are evident when people talk about computer literacy; by computer literacy they mean that you know a little bit about computers and yet if somebody knew just that little about books, you’d say they were illiterate. So computer literacy means just knowing the mechanics of something, and not even very much of that.”
Cody, S. & Greene, C. (1995) Interview with Seymour Papert entitled, “Learning through Building and Exploring.” In Multimedia Today, v3 n4 p30-39 Oct-Dec 1995.