Tag Archives: literacy

Let’s Talk!

Barton and Hamilton discuss literacy and social practices in depth in their article titled, “Literacy Practices.” The authors explain how mout forms of literacy have always had some type of social connection attached. Weather it be literacy connected to verbal communication, or simply reading for pleasure, there is usually a human connection that occurs. The social response tied to literacy can have drastic differences depending on the discourse communities it reaches. For example: a community living in poverty would have a very different reaction to a news story about…oh I don’t know…free Thanksgiving dinners, than a community living in Beverly Hills would.

Dicpscourse communities are a topic I have studied extensively here at Rowan University, and can be broken down into a definition as simply as, “A community of people who share a common interest and use similar language to communicate…which usually only makes sense among the community.”

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To give a further example of discourse communities: I have studied ballet my entire life, and sometimes write for dance blogs, magazines, or forums. There is very highly specialized vocabulary in the ballet world that only dancers would ever understand. If I used the same vocabulary in my everyday life that I use when speaking amongst fellow dancers, people would look at me like I was insane! All ballet dancers have a deep understanding of other dancer’s lives and can therefore speak freely without worrying about not being understood by outsiders.

This article by Barton and Hamilton was fairly eye opening, but I feel like most people already knew social aspect was tied to literacy. Maybe I’m wrong!

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Myths of Creativity

Fellow blogger, Kylie Trush, tweeted an article titled, “5 Creative Myths You Probably Believe,” written by Christian Jarrett.

Jared states that we often believe that only right brained people have the capability to be creative, and that those left brainers are left thinking they have no chance at creativity. Thinking back, I know I have heard this excuse for lack of creativity in the past! Little comments such as, “My brain doesn’t work that way ” or, “I don’t have the creative gene” are both things commonly said….not just among school students, but adults as well! Are we really creatively stunted because of being left or right brained? Jarrett says “NO.”

“When it comes to creativity, yes, there’s research showing that the right hemisphere is important for problem solving, but there’s also evidence that the left-hemisphere is adept at story-telling.”

This section of the article ends with a point that made me laugh. “Real neuroscience says: if you’re human and you’ve got a brain, you’re capable of being creative.” Love that!

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Another myth Jarrett argues is, “It is Simply Not Possible to Bribe People to be Creative.” It isn’t? Yes it is. Why do we participate in collaborative work at school? What is the point of working together? We share ideas with each other that results in sparking ideas in group members minds. We continuously influence and inspire each other. Of course, it is important to avoid letting someone take charge:

“It’s also important to conduct brainstorming sessions in the right way. Groups need to guard against those dominant characters who shoot down other people’s ideas; and more passive individuals need to be encouraged to share their thoughts without fear of being judged or ridiculed.”

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We all have the power to be creative, and the potential for imagination lies in all of us. Creative writing can be unstoppable just as soon as y discover how you personally can spark creativity! Good luck.

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The New Social Norms: Technological Literacy

What exactly is technological Literacy?

In accordance to the national project to expand technological literacy, technological literacy involves “computer skills and the ability to use computers and other technology to improve learning, productivity, and performance.” This definition, and also a second more social definition, can be found in an article called “a New Literacy Agenda and its Challenges” by Cynthia Selfe.

The second definition, which according to Selfe, is in reference to “complex set of socially and culturally situated values, practices, and skills involved in operating linguistically within the context of electronic environments  including reading, writing, and communicating” and it differs quite dramatically from the previous definition. The first definition involves skills, which not everyone has; however, the second definition refers to to social values and practices, which implies that technological literacy has been adopted into society as required norm.

The interesting part about society’s adoption of technology is the various generation gaps, which can especially be seen in the world of education. In an article called, “How schools are Using Apps to Engage Students, Parents, and the Community” by Chirag Leuva, which was found from a tweet by Kylie Trush, the focus is exclusively on all of the advancements technology has to offer. Before listing various amounts of helpful educational apps, Leuva makes the claim that, “an app can creatively take the education beyond stereotype boundaries”, however, what exactly are these boundaries?

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The boundaries Leuva mentions exist because, as New Literacy and its Challenges writes, technological literacy was a skill at one point. Due to new adaptations, it has slowly become a practiced value. The problem is that not all educators know how to find, let alone share, new apps; while the newer generations are embracing technology, older generations are lost in the wave.

While the gap between old and new technologies will eventually close, right now, technology stands in an extremely ambivalent gray space. The merging of technology and literacy happened in a dramatic fashion; at this point, educators who reject or misconstrue technological literacy, will drown under the currents of articles and societal pressures to conform.

So, to answer the appointed question, “what is technological literacy?” my answer is that it is our new leap. Every century has something to set it apart, something that defines the work put into the years in the spotlight. Centuries from now, students will be reading from something (definitely not a textbook, maybe not even a computer), and they will read about when “technological literacy” was first introduced and how it caused such a stir amongst those unable to throw papers away. A laugh will emerge from students after they read these claims, mostly because they will wonder how something so common now so controversial then. Technological Literacy is both the end and the beginning; RU ready?