New Literacy Article…

How I know when my kids are home from college
This is how I know when my kids are home from college.

I received an e-mail yesterday with a link to this article The New Literacies from District Administration, and was very happy to read it and to realize that school administrators are also reading it.

The New Literacies:

Foundational or traditional literacy is about print on a page, or decoding and making sense of words, images and other content that a reader can string together and then begin to comprehend. They are the words and pictures students read and pore over that are contained in textbooks, in novels, on standardized tests, and even in comic books.

The new literacies encompass much more. Their utility lies in online reading comprehension and learning skills, or 21st century skills, required by the Internet and other information and communication technologies (ICTs), including content found on wikis, blogs, video sites, audio sites and in e-mail. They require the ability not just to “read” but also to navigate the World Wide Web, locate information, evaluate it critically, synthesize it and communicate it-all skills that are becoming vital to success in this century’s economy and workforce.

Central to the article seemed to be “a recent PEW Internet and American Life study,” The Digital Disconnect: The widening gap between Internet-savvy students and their schools (8/14/2002) that states…

students are spending 27 hours a week online at home, compared to an average of 15 minutes per week at school.

It’s ironic that the article referenced a five year old report, which, when I downloaded it, didn’t seem to make any mention of this statistic.  If anyone can track down the source of this statistic, it would probably be helpful.  Assign your students. 😉

The article went on to describe the work of the New Literacies Research Lab at UCONN, a group I have high respect for, and have been in awe of, for many years.  Donald Leu, Douglas Hartman, and Julie Coiro have been amazingly resourceful in uncovering exactly what the new literacies are, and also in exploring the contexts of how students learn these skills.

I also found interesting the work that is being done in some countries, including Ireland, Finland, the UK, Japan, Singapore, and Mexico, where…

there is a national policy to make Internet access available to all schools in all classrooms  and all homes in the next 15 years.

According to Leu, Finland…

..has a national training model for teachers to integrate the Internet and other ICTs into the classroom. The government gives fi ve weeks of paid release time for professional development to all teachers, Leu says. “They know their kids are going to have to compete with other kids,” Leu adds. “And they also have a priority for an information technology economy. They’re very focused on that.”

I strongly recommend reading through this article and posting it to your Del.icio.us library.

Does DIGG have an education category yet?

Author: David Warlick

David Warlick has been an educator for the past 40+ years. He continues to do some writing, but is mostly seeking his next intersect between play, passion and purpose, dabbling in photography, drone videography and music production.