Saturday, September 6, 2014

ED 7720 Questioning New Literacies

For this week's readings, we were asked to read
- Coiro, Knobel, Lankshear, and Leu. Central Issues in New Literacies and New Literacy Research.(2008)
- Lankshear and Knobel. Researching Literacies: Web 2.0 Practices and Insider Perspectives. (2007)

Like a good student, I read the readings and took notes - on paper, of course. Thoughts kept popping into my head as I read about the skills required to navigate the 21st Century Literacies, especially the Lankshear article.
"Is understanding what you watch on TV a literacy?"
"Can you fully experience the internet without print literacy?

As teachers added filmstrips, overhead projectors, and VCR's to their classroom repertoir, did they talk about literacies? The kinds of things teachers could project on an overhead were much different than figures on a chalkboard. Watching video clips provided a whole different experience than reading the information in a book. 

Did the talk of new literacies start with the internet? or are we just doing the same things in a flashier package? Are we adapting popular culture to hold students' attention in the classroom? Yes, the world is internet savvy. Businesses expect new employees to be prepared for the world of work, but are we giving all of our students enough of "the basics?" It is frustrating to encounter ninth graders who can't use a ruler. Did creating a SimCity make ruler technology obsolete?

I understand that the Web 1.0 skills are using the internet as a heirarchical way to disseminate information and Web 2.0 tools involve collaboration and building group knowledge. (Lankshear),
So does debate.
So does a discussion.
Debate and discussion require face-to-face ettiquette.
The new literacies involve person-to-person collaboration with the addition of the connectivity of the Internet. This teamwork can happen anywhere in the world. It is interesting. It can be engaging. Is it really all that different? Is it as meaningful as collaborating with someone you can eat lunch with or play ball with after school? On the internet, we may be engaging with classmates, or age-mates in another part of the world, but there is an electronic barrier of potential anonymity.

Would someone without basic print literacy be able to successfully navigate a computer/device other than the most basic visual prompts? Could they attain any REAL literacy on an internet-capable device? If not, is basic button pushing a "literacy?" Looking at it this way, it is easy to see why policy-makers focus on basic print literacy (Coiro et al) and not expensive new technologies. Without the building blocks of basic print literacy and numeracy, discerning credibility of websites and game coding make no sense.

Am I overthinking this?

* Photo CC licensed by Nevit Dilmen.

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