WHAT ARE “NEW LITERACIES”?

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We are in the midst of a literary revolution (or evolution). To prepare our young people of tomorrow to be active contributors to modern society, the children of today not only need to be literate in the traditional views of literacy (reading, writing, listening,  speaking and responding), but will need the ability to apply this across an increasingly expanding range of formats such as social networks, television, media platforms and film.

The term “New Literacies” can be used to encompass this transformation of the way we learn, communicate and interact in a society which is multimodal, multiliterate and increasingly in the digital domain (Houtman, 2013). The multimodal aspect refers to the way meaning is created and shared across a vast array of written, spoken, visual and kinaesthetic modes. Multiliteracies refers to the way these forms of meaning making are taught, used and created by society and how interaction will shape the learning experience. The interplay of these new and transforming forms of communication and the the ever changing digital environment we live in, forms the term we can coin as “new literacies”.

In a world where popular teenage fashion bloggers have a greater influence on young children than renowned scholarly authors, teachers must embrace “new literacies” in the classroom to be more socially, culturally and technologically relevant and interactive with the students we teach. A focus should be placed on the word “interactive” in the above statement as students will take the lead in the learning and Leu et al. (2013) states “teachers will increasingly become orchestrators of learning contexts rather than dispensers of literacy skills” (as cited in Houtman, 2013). However, it is important that focus still be placed on quality literature and adapt the way these are communicated to students and change the mode through which students interact with them.

References

Houtman, E. (2013). New literacies, learning, and libraries: How can frameworks from other fields help us think about the issues? In the Library with the Lead Pipe.  Retrieved fromhttp://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2013/new-literacies-learning-and-libraries-how-can-frameworks-from-other-fields-help-us-think-about-the-issues/ Accessed February 14th, 2014

- MR. QUAN

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