Literacy and Learning in the 21st Century

I’m here in Indian Wells with secondary educators learning about literacy. I’m asking three new questions (participants’ responses are in italics):

1. What is literacy?

Reading, Writing, Thinking, Listening. Making connections. Speaking. Using symbols to communicate.

2. How is literacy changing?

Moving from hardcopy to eletronic media. Texting and other non-traditional spelling. More of a focus on retrieving information than memorizing it. There’s new ways to access information.

3. What does this change mean for you and your students?

We need to incorporate these changes into our teaching – to relate to kids – so they can related. We have to educate ourselves as teachers in order to help our students become functioning members of society. We need to empower veteran teachers. There’s a greater disconnect with our prior knowledge of literacy. We’re learning the new symbols from our students. It’s increasingly difficult to address the access issue. We have to adjust.

UPDATE: This post was a live demo at my opening session at the CLMS/CLHS Summer Literacy and Learning Institute in Indian Wells. Visit edtechlife.com/indianwells/ for descriptions of my daily sessions and links to each workshop wiki.

Please leave a comment if you have any questions or feedback regarding these session.

7 Responses to “Literacy and Learning in the 21st Century”

  1. Kyle Brumbaugh Says:

    Mark:

    I Tweeted this too…. Student work on a wiki to help each other learn. Students evaluated each others work afterwards.

    http://csd.wetpaint.com/page/Geek+Celebrity+Project

    KB

  2. Prakash Deo Says:

    Dear sir
    defining literacy and technology in such short terms will not suffice. Literacy also relates to audio and visual. You will have to define literacy responce to audio literacy and visual literacy too.
    Similarly technology in education also needs to be defined in broad terms.
    Prakash Deo, Reader, M.P. SCERT
    Bhopal, India

  3. mrsdurff Says:

    1. Literacy is the ability to communicate fluently in a medium, whether it is printed in a book, painted on a canvas, spoken to an audience, played on an instrument, or typed on a keyboard. It includes all those mediums not mentioned or invented.
    2 & 3. Literacy is expanding, fluency levels are more ubiquitous, and education is finding itself in a culture that increasingly demands that we teach more literacies.

  4. Mark Wagner Says:

    Hi, Prakash. I agree with you of course. This post was the welcome activity (and live technology demo) from a session I lead at a conference for teachers. These are the ideas they came in with – not the ideas I shared in the session. I just added this update to the post:

    UPDATE: This post was a live demo at my opening session at the CLMS/CLHS Summer Literacy and Learning Institute in Indian Wells. Visit edtechlife.com/indianwells/ for descriptions of my daily sessions and links to each workshop wiki.

    Thanks for piping in, too. :)

    And, hi, Durff. Thanks for sharing your perspective too. I particularly appreciate how open ended it is as it looks to the future.

  5. Gail Desler Says:

    Mark, have you seen the NCTE’s Toward a Definition of 21st Century Literacies? I particularly like the concept of “malleable” included in: “These literacies—from reading online newspapers to participating in virtual classrooms—are multiple, dynamic, and malleable.”

    Gail Desler

  6. Gail Desler Says:

    Oops, let me try that link again – 21st century literacies

  7. Mark Wagner Says:

    That is a great quote – and a great word for it. I think I’ll be sharing that with folks in my workshops in the future. Thanks. ;)

    -Mark