Literacy skills for teachers

Which are the literacies we need to learn in order to prepare our students for the 21st century?

Digital literacies is “the ability to understand and use information in multiple formats from a wide range of sources when it is presented via computers

Literacy has not become technological, but there has been a shift from print to digital technologies, and with this, the emergence of new families of literate practice. On the basis of this, theorists of digital literacies argue that the revolution in communication and information technologies has created new types of textual surface and hence, new literacies (Bigum & Lankshear, 1997; Durrant & Green, 2000).

Mark Pegrum arrays a spectrum of literacy skills into four “literacy groups”.

1- Language literacies Check this online journal full of interesting examples on how teachers used Language literacies in the classroom

According to Mark we can`t neglet traditional printed literacies. We need to be aware on how language is changing. We can see new forms of puntation, text speech and hyperlinks. David Weinberg´s talk on Knowledge in the Age of abundance is a clear example of Language literacies.

“hyperlinks are a new type of punctuation, but instead of telling you where to stop, they tell you where to start” —David Weinberger

Hypertext changes the way we read and write. Hypertext is text which is not constrained to be linear.

Hypertext is text which contains links to other texts. The term was coined by Ted Nelson around 1965

HyperMedia is a term used for hypertext which is not constrained to be text: it can include graphics, video and sound , for example.

M. Wesch created a very clear video explaining the concept of Hypertext

Mark Pegrum reports that the New London Group has been talking for a long time about Multiliteracies . We need to educate students in video, audio etc literacies. We are moving to the Web 3.0 a web that will look more to a virtual world.

2-Information literacies

Once we start navigating the ocean of possibilities Internet offers we feel overwhelmed by the information overload we are exposed to.  Currently in the Multiliteracies Evo session we are dealing with Tagging, Rss, Aggregation and Mash-ups all are new concepts for most participants.

Mark says the way “we access and assess information has changed . You need to have a good understand of how search engines work, you have to learn how to tag information and how to filter information. Information needs to be evaluated.”

Information filtering or filtering literacy is a key concept we have to teach our students. Below you will find several definitions of this concept:

“a field of study designed for creating a systematic approach to extracting information that a particular person finds important from a larger stream of information” (Canavese 1994, p.2).

tools … which try to filter out irrelevant material” (Khan & Card 1997, p.305)

´a process of selecting things from a larger set of possibilities, then presenting them in a prioritized order (Malone et al. 1987).Filtering literacy

We can use different filters as for example a technological filter as  Rss or personal /human filters. We need to know how where to find the experts says Mark Pergum

We must understand the concept of Continuous partial attention. “It is a state most of us enter when we’re in front of a computer screen, or trying to check out at the grocery store with a cellphone pressed to an ear — or blogging the proceedings of a conference while it’s underway. We’re aware of several things at once, shifting our attention to whatever’s most urgent — perhaps the chime of incoming e-mail, or the beep that indicates the cellphone is low on juice. It’s not a reflective state.
—Scott Kirsner, “Are your feeds turning into too many long tails? Filter!.” The Boston Globe, June 27, 2005´

3-Connection literacies

It is important how to hook into networks, how can you contribute and influence those networks. Jenkins talks about Particapatory literacies. The following video clearly explains this concept

We need to teach our students what are the consequences of Participatory Literacy . Which are the advantages and disadvantages according to Mark Pergum. Personally I think we have to show students different examples on how Participatory Literarcy has been used.
4-Remix literacies

We are surrounded by this culture. Digital natives are constantly creating new content and sharing it with the world. I found this long video by Connie Yowel a nice example of what is happening in our educational system. The seemingly simple nature of online access to information requires that we give students concrete tools to critically assess the information they find there. How can we make sure that we are engaging students both in the classroom and on their own. As teachers we have a big challenge ahead that can only be achieve successfully if we learn how to network together.



  1. Another great post! Some nice media here. I hadn’t seen the Weinberger show, and the one on Web 3.0 resonates well with the ideas in as well as with Mark Pegrum’s book and video. I haven’t had a chance to listen to all of Connie Yowell, but if you’ve flagged it, I’ll check it out (when I get an hour :-((

    Great minds think alike!

  2. Great videos, the idea of keeping literacies up to date is an important one. Our methods of communication are quickly changing and it is essential that we equip our students to adapt and create with these new literacies.

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