R U Reading Across a Generation Gap?

Picture of Child Being DigitalI have been taking a break from blog writing over the past week.  I wish I could say that I’ve just been taking a break, but that is not the case.  Yesterday, about 4:30 PM, I finished the final draft of a major project that I wish I could share with you.  I’m actually much more excited, right now, to have it out the door than what it’s about.  That will come. [Image ((Jason. ?Hei?e Schokolade ohne Sahne on Flickr – Photo Sharing!.? 25 Oct 2007. 28 Jul 2008 <http://flickr.com/photos/jasmic/1745660158/>.))]

Anyway, blog fodder appeared yesterday in the form of a New York Times piece, Literacy Debate: Online, R U Really Reading?  It was actually a fairly balanced article, though it seemed to spend more time out on the edges, the fringe of the debate, than in the middle.  Will Richardson has already done some picking at the article — and I urge you to read his money’s worth (Kids Prefer Reading Online…) — as have other folks, smarter than me.  Here’s a link to a Google Blog search of entries that mention the article, as well as an RSS feed, if for no other reason than just because you can.

What struck me as I read through the article on my phone, was something that somebody said to me many weeks ago, about today’s dramatic generation gap.  I dismissed the notion because I was part of the highly contentious  generation gap of the late ’60s and early ’70s.  By comparison, our relationship with our children across all endeavors is fine and friendly.

Yet, as I read through the Times article, It seemed to be pointing at a vast gap between my generation’s notions of education and literacy, and that which our children practice as part of their millennial culture?

What struck me as ludicrice was the conviction that test scores are the true indication of whether our children are being appropriately prepared for their future, or even that government test scores are any better at predicting future prosperity than establishing a successful presence on a social network, garnering a readership on FanFiction, or earning a respectable number of experience points in World of Warcraft.  I do not think we even know. 

I guess it is a debate that has to be argued, that from the fringes, we will find the middle ground.  What makes it so hard is that the media seems happier reminding us of the more extreme points of view.  It may be completely up to us, educators, to figure out what literacy really means today, and then tell that story.

Oops!  Did I just give you a hint?

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.