Writing Vs. Speaking

The difference between writing and speaking has always interested me. I come from family of writers- my mother was a published author and fairly successful speaker. There was lots of time for me to contemplate speaking and writing when I would help out at the conferences my mother attended.

Until quite recently, speaking has always been more important than writing. The ancient Romans were expected to deliver speeches regularly, and would actively dictate almost everything that they "wrote". Until the dawn of modern education, speaking was always a cornerstone of any good education. If you couldn't orrate, you weren't educated.

Then came the 20th century, the dawn of mass produced education, and suddenly speaking was pushed to the side. It's hard to quantify what makes a great speech, but a paper can be dissected, analyzed, and given a final grade by a teacher long after the fact.

That system worked wonderfully until the dawn of the Internet. Suddenly everybody had the ability to make HD videos with a device that costs less than 50 bucks, and spread it to every person on earth for free in a matter of minutes. Learning changed almost overnight to focus more on the aural and visual.

I still love reading books. There's something unique about processing information via text on the page, but I'm not convinced it's necessarily the best way to learn.

The question my generation faces is when there are no boundaries to make one form of communication better than another, what is really the best way to accomplish learning?

Thoughts?

P.S. this entire blog was transcribed From an audio file but I recorded, for free, by an online program. Bonus question: When it's this easy to transcribe speech, should we? And should that change what we emphasize in school?