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 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.