Thursday, June 14, 2007

New literacies in Education...

I came across another great blog post that addresses this idea of new literacies and basics in education that I've been contemplating lately. The original post is very long, and covers a lot of ground on Moodle as an example. I'm presenting wholesale-size swaths of the original post by Miguel Guhlin because it is done so well--but I want to editorial rights, and don't care too much about moodle right now.
(photo by fotologic)
New Literacies Jun 13, 2007 (yesterday)
from Techlearning blog by Miguel Guhlin

How we read, write, and communicate has changed. This is an earth-shattering truth for people in any walk of life, but even more critical for educators to grasp. It is critical because educators are the ones charged with preparing children for the future. The prevalence of the Internet forces these changes in what our definition of what constitutes literacy in our world today. Moodle, a course management system, can provide a solution that can be used to maximize the impact of new literacies while helping educators survive this 21st Century earthquake.

New literacies include--as defined by Leu, Mallette, Karchmer, and Kara-Soteriou in their 2005 book, Innovative Approaches to Literacy Education-- the following:

...the skills, strategies and dispositions necessary to successfully exploit the rapidly changing ICTs continuously emerging in our world for personal growth, pleasure and work. These new literacies allow us to use the Internet and other iCTs to identify important problems, locate information, analyze the usefulness of that information, synthesize information to solve problems, and communicate the solutions to others.
In addition, citing Bloom's Revised Taxonomy, being able to create using these new literacies is of essence. In fact, it is not enough to be able to evaluate web sites, synthesize information, but important that we able to create and craft compelling narratives--digital stories--that encompass, as George Lucas shares, the "language of images and sound." Text is no longer enough, and new literacies require a level of fluency that teachers today have not yet grasped systemically in K-16 education. For people everywhere, these are defining literacies that must be learned. You either learn them, or risk a profound disconnect from the world.

In fact, many teachers, parents, administrators may be--dramatically--groaning in fear, gnashing their teeth at the need for new literacies. They see that the Internet, as its ubiquity increases, as it becomes an ever-changing tool molding itself to the mind of its users, now forces reading, writing and communication to be as changeable as the technology it is dependent upon.
The connection between reading, writing, communication and new literacies is multi-modal, engaging everyone as learners as a result of its constant, transformative nature. Multiple modalities go beyond traditional ways of communicating--such as pen and paper, keyboard and mouse--to combine old literacies with new ones. This results in increased usability, increased experience that engages learners.

The connection is also multi-directional, involving not just one or two people, but a global community networked together. As Don Tapscott and Anthony D. Williams write in their book Wikinomics, mass collaboration changes everything.' Mass collaboration involves peer production, people partnering together to create content, remix it in ways specific to their situation yet useful to others connected via a worldwide network.

As new technologies emerge, how can any one "new literacy" be used to keep up with another? In other words, how can we use technology to help us keep up with the changes brought about technology?...New literacies require us to better prepare ourselves and our students for a future where survival requires everyday technology use.
Again, this is not my writing, but that of Miguel Guhlin--retrieved Jun 13, 2007 (yesterday) from Techlearning blog. I share his words because he says clearly, what I'm thinking.

-Joel D. Galbraith

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