Friday, August 7, 2009

Are you literate? Writing in the 21st Century - making connections

Jeff Utecht posted to his blog from Bangkok. He attended the BLC '09 conference in Boston last week. Clearly, he is in the zone, and he is a leading voice in defining the educational conversation. I like what he has to say.

Digital Literacy vs Networked Literacy | The Thinking Stick

For those of us above the age of 25 it can be a strange conversation. Yeah, we know how to read. This is a new type of reading. We are looking at broader contexts and skills and making connections. There are new paradigms and different stakes. Education is to provide children with the critical skills to work and provide a livlihood for themselves and their families, right? If you are a 22 year old college graduate chances are you are struggling to find a job. Has your education really given you the skills you need to compete? To contribute? These are tough times. A lot of people are being left behind. We can do better. We have to do better.

Literacy = reading and decoding skills
Digital reading = technology access skills
Networked literacy = understanding and making connections

From Jeff Utecht:
"Networked literacy is what the web is about. It’s about understanding how people and communication networks work. It’s the understanding of how to find information and how to be found. It’s about how to read hyperlinked text articles, and understand the connections that are made when you become “friends” or “follow” someone on a network. It’s the understanding of how to stay safe and how to use the networked knowledge that is the World Wide Web. Networked Literacy is about understanding connections."

Take a look at what the National Council of Teachers of English have to say about Writing in the 21st Century.

For our kids to be literate they need to have the skills to create their own networks, frame new questions, seek reliable information, assess for bias, identify alternate sources from around the world, collaborate, generate opinions, and share their results. These are new and incredibly powerful skills. This is a great time for education.

Image: Wordle - word cloud generator
Text source:Digital Literacy vs. Networked Literacy, The Thinking Stick

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