Tag Archives: reading

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.”

image

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!

Advertisements

Creativity is Key

With all of the technology available at our fingertips, it is easy to lose sight of human contact and every day communication with others.

intro6

Technology has a way of getting people to communicate behind a screen, which can be very detrimental to the way people work together in the classroom, workplace, and out in the “real” world. Many people argue that technology is hindering the creative learning process of students, but others say that creativity is sparked by technology and creative arts that interest the students in the classroom.

There is a universal push for STEM in many schools, which stands for science, technology, engineering and math.  Nicky Morgan, the author of the article Creativity is the key to education, so why aren’t we pursuing it?, said that “the choice by pupils to study traditionally creative subjects, the humanities and arts, would in fact restrict their career choices.” STEM gives students the ability to study and focus on the “non-traditional” topics that are usually studied in school.

STEM

“Creativity in schools isn’t just restricted to the teaching of “creative” subjects; art, English etc. In fact even that definition of what subjects are creative is a misstatement of what creativity can mean,” (Morgan). A lot of the time, students lose their sense of creativity in the classroom because of a lack of interest in the topics being studied. Tailoring lessons too fit the needs and interests of the students in the classroom is one way to get creativity stirring. Once the students find a topic that interests them, they will be more likely to complete assignments and do something out-of-the-box. They will be less likely to hold back because they feel confident and comfortable with the subject matter.

Lessons can be tailored to fit any subject area, too.  Sherry Turkle, in her article Who Am We? was showing creativity with her various nickname; she was able to change her identity and play off of them to fit what she was writing about. Like Turkle, if a teacher is presenting a history lesson to the class in a monotone way, the students will lose interest within five minutes, but when the teacher is enthusiastic about the material,  the students will be more likely to be enthusiastic as well.

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?

proxy

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?