New Literacies: How Can We Define New Literacies in the 21st Century?

Lankshear and Knobel- “New” Literacies…

Wysocki and Johnson-Eiloa- Blind by the Letter…

Lankshear and Knobel- Sampling “the New” in New Literacies

The notion of being literate has become a very broad topic in recent years, because there are a variety of areas that a person can be literate in. These “New literacies can be studied from a range of research and theoretical orientations…” (Lankshear and Knobel). Some of the more popular new literacies that have been becoming more widely accepted are:  “… visual literacy, computer literacy, video literacy, media literacy…” (Wysocki and Eiloa-Johnson 717). In basic terms, being literate can be defined as being able to read and write, but nowadays, to be considered literate, you need to be literate in a variety of areas. Generally, people need to, not only, have an understanding the English language, but they also need to know what it means to be computer literate. Specifically, this new literacy needs to be acquired to be able to be considered literate, because it is necessary in almost every aspect of life.

Lankshear and Knobel do not offer a concrete definition of new literacies, but instead, they offer examples of some new literacies that have risen to popularity since the new millennium. Some of the new literacies that are being learned and ultilized, are fan fiction writing (fanfic), Manga, and weblogging (blogging). These widely used new literacies impact and influence our lives on a daily basis, personally, socially, professionally , and, most importantly, educationally. Now, more than ever, technology is being implemented in the classroom. “Research provides rich accounts of new social practices mediated by new technologies and multimodal texts can help inform teachers and others involved in education…”(Lankshear and Knobel). Educators are devising ways to use technology, and foster new literacies in the classroom by using power point presentations, to online forums for discussions, to blogging, and to even using YouTube to emphasize points or facts. Technology is enhancing the educational and learning experience by reaching more students, in ways which tradition methods were not capable of achieving.

In the realm of academia and education, technology is beneficial, however teachers need to be aware that not all students are bringing that same, elevated technological/computer schema to the classroom.


2 comments on “New Literacies: How Can We Define New Literacies in the 21st Century?

  1. Hi, my name is Jasmyn Madden, and I bring you greetings from Valparaiso University. I am in an English class where we discuss the concept of meshing technology with literacy due to the change in today’s world and culture and some of what you mention is relevant to quite a bit of our conversation throughout the class. So if you have a chance please check out our blog Thank you!

  2. Jasymn’s comment up there is a lovely example of new literacy being used for educational purposes. Our blogging is not only a analysis of the concepts behind evolving technology, but part of a network of educators and learners. Teachers won’t be able to rely on students getting tech savvy, but it’s obviously happening to at least some degree.

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