Sunday, 20 November 2011

What does it mean to be literate in these times of abundance? #change11

In a blog post entitled A New Definition Of Literacy In An Age of Abundance  explore some interesting ideas.  One of these notions is a definition of what literacy is in the 21st century.  They state:

 “A person is literate when s/he can take part in, critique, deconstruct, interrupt and shape the dominant discourses and narratives in his or her local and in global contexts”.
Now I love it when academic folk bring in big words like dominant discourses.  It make me feel very inferior and very dumb, but I did enjoy reading the post.  I think I agree with the part of the quote about global contexts.  Having an understanding of the wider global community is an essential skill that a 21st century learner must possess in my opinion due to the connected nature of our environment in 2011.

Another reason that I enjoyed reading this post was the following statement that they made:

Are we merely content to teach students how to navigate the internet and Web 2.0 programs, or should we be teaching them to think critically about the limitations and hidden agendas?
Now we are starting to get something that I am passionate about.  There is to much focus in education put on the tool and not enough on the pedagogy that drives decisions.  As I say to my kids all of the time, It is not about the bling bling, it is about the learning sting! I think that as educators we need to have a more broad sweeping approach to 'doing techy stuff'.  But the key question that I think we need to get our students doing is asking themselves about the tools that they are using and why they are using them.  I feel that there needs to be more focus put on the decisions and thought processes behind it.  Until as a education universe we are not at this point, I feel that we will be paddling upstream quickly with no paddle.  Learners need to be empowered to makes and therefore improve their ability to make decisions.

So what does it mean to be literate in these times of abundance?  I feel that being literate in the 21st century requires students to be active participants in their learning cycle and critical analysiers of information due to the information overload that our students experience on a daily basis.  The ability to synthesis and ask questions is almost becoming a lost art form.  In my humble opinion, this is critical to students in the 21st century and the quicker that we grasp onto this concept, the better off our students will be.

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