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Introduction


Multiliteracy Home - MultiliteracyAs technology continues to advance exponentially, the need for literacy to comprehend these developments is magnified. The meaning of literacy continues to evolve as the technologies that drive it continue to expand. The definition of literacy is modified and adapted dependent on the context in which it is applied. Literacy may be understood one way in Kabul, Afghanistan, and be applied quite differently in Mobile, Alabama (USA)


To be literate today requires more than just being able to read and write. According to A. Luke & Freebody (2000) literacy refers to the flexible and sustainable mastery of a repertoire of practices with the texts of traditional and new communications technologies. The world has become a smaller place as nations across Multiliteracy Home - Multiliteracythe globe exchange money, goods, information and customs. Transnational corporations and international political agendas accelerate this process of globalization. Advances in technology and accessibility to all kinds of information are a direct result of globalization. The infiltration of the Internet into global societies is one such example. Diverse methods of communicating and obtaining information, force us to take a look at these varying forms, their meanings, and how they can be best expressed. This process continues to reshape the way language is used. This evolving information network suggests that one set of skills or standards in which literacy is taught is implausible (The New London Group, 1996).


Multiliteracies


In response to this phenomenon, the theory of multiliteracies was created. "To be multiliterate is to be socially and cognitively literate with all modes of communication" (Anstey & Bull, 2006). The ways we have to read the world continue to grow. As technology changes, so do the literary forms and practices. Listed below are some of the growing forms of literacy. Each section offers a brief description. The link for each section leads to a more in depth examination of the literacy and a discussion of the educational opportunities and challenges. In addition, each section takes a critical look at the impact of globalization.


Critical - New technologies create many more opportunities for all types of information to be accessed. People need to learn critical skills that will allow them to successfully obtain the information they are seeking.

Cultural/Language - Communication, albeit verbal and non verbal, is an essential tool for integration into a society. Communication requires knowledge of a language, to be literate. For English Language Learners, literacy truly begins with gaining an understanding of culture - the challenge and goal is to link culture and language, making it relevant for ELL so as to become literate.

Digital - Digital literacy involves knowledge of Web 2.0 and new practices of obtaining information on line. Individuals need to learn how to find, manage, and edit digital information. Digital literacy impacts us globally as the same information is accessible anywhere in the world, if the technology is there. Web 2.0 programs such as Facebook, or YouTube are part of the daily life of many students. The benefits of this type of global connectivity are tempered by lack of knowledge of the potential dangers and risks in accessing these sites.

Family - Parents are the first teachers in our life. Children build on the motivation parents have for their success. Literacy is the vehicle that inspires families and communities to raise the achievement standard. Passing on cultural traditions and family stories, are imperative for early literacy. Technologies offer a wealth of resources for families. Yet, there is also an inherent risk of families spending less time together as
interests and attention shift to focus on technology

Media (television advertising) - How different mediums play on a person's varying senses to manipulate and/or promote a particular agenda. Whether it be television, radio, or print, advertisers are constantly looking at products placements and trying utilizing strategic data to isolate potential customers based on, but not limited to, religion, culture, age, and gender. This website will develop an in-depth analysis of how television commercials affect children and their behaviors, both in the classroom and in everyday life.

Special education - Blending new literacies with an existing literacy curriculum is a necessity to prepare students for the effect of globalization on the world. Educators who do not make this a matter of some urgency are not truly addressing the needs of the students in their classrooms. The impact of minimizing, or disregarding, multiliteracies will be felt most strongly in populations already struggling to receive a fair and equitable education. Individuals from various cultures, those who do not use English as their primary language, and children and adults with special needs and circumstances will be further marginalized


Multiliteracy Home - Multiliteracy
Education, Multiliteracies and Globalization.


The New London Group (1996) suggests that the fundamental purpose of education is to "ensure that all students benefit from learning in ways that allow them to participate fully in public, community and economic life." Literacy plays a vital role in this. Without being able to see the world through a variety of lenses, students and teachers will not be able to become critical thinkers capable of understanding and transforming social and global relations. Blacky's Blog, discusses what literacy means in relation to globalization, what educators can/should be doing to accommodate multiliteracies, and poses questions for educators. The New London group discusses the idea of Design, where teachers are the designers of learning processes and they should engage students by tapping into the student’s own experiences. Children need to be taught critical thinking skills to decode and interpret these new modes to learning. Though the phenomenon of multiliteracy provides many profound changes to the ways in which we are able to read the world, and change it, educational practices are failing to equip students with the skills they need to be responsible citizens in a global world. There are many hypotheses as to why instruction in multiliteracies is not occurring. A number of these are tackled in this site:

  • Standardized tests do not assess the concepts and skills revolved around multiliteracies.

  • Teacher education and training, or lack of it, can play a role. If a teacher is not confident with the technology, it is not realistic to ask them to teach it to their students.

  • Inequitable accessibility to the resources required to incorporate technology in the curriculum is a problem across the globe. This occurrence is known as the digital divide and affects all areas of* literacy and technology.

  • School and Educator philosophies or agendas may conflict with the idea of using different forms of literacy and technology as educational tools.

A study published in Action in Teacher Education by Mallette, Henk, Waggoner and DeLaney surveyed ninety teachers from a Blue Ribbon School based on their literacy practices. A majority of the teachers found basic literacy (reading comprehension, fluency, vocabulary, word identification, writing) to be more important and an entirely separate entity from new literacies (media, digital, family, critical, etc.). Traditional ways of teaching literacy continue to be prominent even in schools that are noted for their excellence. In order to prepare students for their futures within a globalized society, the education system needs considerable restructuring towards new literacies. This means including multiliteracies as part of a curriculum through the use of technology. The challenge now is to put these ideas into practice despite the barriers. New technologies need to be incorporated into the traditional methods of teaching. The box below highlights suggestions for adapting existing instructional practices. Though the list is not exhaustive, it does offer concise steps to move the process forward for bell and ross replica.

* A conviction that change is necessary and the knowledge and expertise to make change possible.

*Training and education in instruction of the multiliteracies and the mediums utilized to present and access them.

*An understanding of the learning needs of the students. Knowledge of what life is like beyond the school walls for the student will help the teacher to address barriers to access. This may also involve awareness of socioeconomic status or language concerns.

*Adopting a creative and innovative curriculum, based on the specific needs of the students and the school. This will help reduce the risk of jumping into a technology program which will have minimal benefits

*Instruction on safety concerns and critically analyzing information should be addressed before initiating use.

*The exchange of ideas and information relevant to multiliteracies, and educational practices, on a global level.


Ideas




Thoughts on Multiliteracy
This section examines the potential benefits and risks associated with multiliteracies. As a result, there are many questions and concerns that require further research and investigation.














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corl
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