Today, I’ll talk about contemporary literacy again, but at a conference that is entirely about literacy — The Literacy Promise Conference. There isn’t a web page for the conference, but here’s the brochure, using a tool called Issuu, which I learned about from Ian Usher.
I’m rethinking some of the verbiage of the presentation. When I talked about literacy at NAACE (a technology conference) and asked for questions at the end, a delegate offered a piece of constructive criticism about my use of the phrase “Exposing Truth.” It’s not the first time I’ve heard this. The term, TRUTH, has meanings to people that do not seem to fit in with a conversation about literacy. The TRUTH seems almost mystical, like it belongs on a higher plane.
I use this phrase as a catch all, not only for what we traditionally think of as reading skills, but also skills that address concerns that come up more frequently in conversations about technology — how do you know that information from the Wikipedia is authoritative?
The questioner suggested that what I was talking about was finding the value in the information, and he was exactly right. Reading is more than just decoding the text on paper and understanding it. It also involves uncovering its value in terms of what you are trying to accomplish. There are other terms that I’ve considered that are perhaps more appropriate than TRUTH, but they would all require more explanation — what do you mean by value. Truth is pretty clear, and I think I’m going to stick with it for the time being. Perhaps I’ll try Exposing What is True, rather than Exposing Truth.