New Literacies

Consistency of Change

The Future is Today

Access points for literacy are ever changing. In 1984, literacy was primarily defined as being able to read and write. However, Nicholas Negroponte saw the potential of the future. His ideas were well beyond his time: touch screens, laptops, electronic books, computer programming/app design, and video teleconferencing. See the TED video below to understand where we were in 1984 and how crazy the technologies that we use today seemed back then.

At 9:20 of this clip, Mr. Negroponte provides an example of how a young child was not able to read, and admitted that he could not read. However, he could read a computer manual and program computers. When pressed to respond to how he read the computer manual and was able to program computers, the child retorts that "it's not reading". Many teens and youths today are quite adept at reading Twitter and other Social Media sites, but are not proficient at reading textbooks or other academic literature.

Nicholas Negroponte

Literacy at an Early Age

When discussing literacy in children (pre-teens), we still tend to focus on reading and writing. However, as Thomas Suarez, 12 years old, shows in his TED talk below, of technology, specifically apps, is touching the lives of our children. Thomas is an example of how technology oriented and capable today's children are. It seems that Thomas has been raised in an environment where he is encouraged to explore and to figure out what works for him. For Thomas, as for many of today's youths, technology is the centerpiece. Taking advantage of media in the classroom as early as possible will help to expand the knowledge and capabilities of our youths. Listen to Thomas's TED Talk below, and hear his recommendation to teachers.

Integrating Technology Into the Classroom

Many of these "New Literacies" should be integrated into the classroom. Media is an asset, a tool to be used to connect with students. Students speak the language of media and technology. If we allow them to bring this language into the classroom, we can better influence their learning and prepare them to function in a tech-centered society. Watch the video below for ideas on how to integrate technology into the classroom.
Technology in the 21st Century Classroom: New Literacy

Literacy in Today's Environment

In his TED Talk, Andrew Fitzgerald explains how storytelling has evolved thanks to the use of today's social media. Teens think in small bytes, and therefore read and correspond in small bytes. Twitter is a great example of this phenomenon. Exploiting the capability of social media in an educational setting can help teens to expand their capabilities with respect to literacy. Watch Mr. Fitzgerald explain how a story developed on Twitter corresponds to the 1940s radio shows and even to newspaper story telling. 20 years ago, we could not have imagined storytelling in such a way; 10 years ago it would have been unbelievable. Times are changing, and education needs to change with it.