It’s interesting to me to be thinking about literacy in terms of new online technologies while actually using those technologies to in some way understand the concept. I don’t think I’ve ever been involved is more of a metacognitive process; every post I write about this topic is weighed against what I am experiencing. Everything is reflective. How has my literacy changed? How has my writing, my reading changed? What do I need to know to be “literate” in this medium that I didn’t need to know before? What of what I’m doing now really is significant? Is any of it significant? What will stick, and what will that mean for my students? Is this really a collaborative exercise, as Tom asks?
Some amazing thinkers are writing about this stuff. Much of it is way over my head, and I fear they are thinking about it in ways that go beyond my fairly simple attempt to define what, if any, new skills and abilities we will need to function and prosper in a Web infused world. While there may be a need to rethink a need for literacy at all, I’m trying to stay grounded in that “how can we make sure our students are prepared for their future” question as much as I can. I kind of feel like my own guinea pig.
Anyway, just some snippets from around the horn to pull into one piece. (Does that make this collaborative?) From Charlie Lowe:
It is within a free culture, to reference Lessig again as Will did, that collaboration really happens because we begin to deny ownership of our texts, and instead value contribution to community more, and within that free culture, creativity through reworking of texts and working together is invited, rather than a taboo where one must seek or have permission to work or use the “author’s” text. This is why weblogs and wikis are indeed creating more “open texts” (although, I don’t like that term because it is a bastardization of open source principles), because they exist within a community discourse which is highly connected (not the other way around) and many of the participants are those that seek a free culture.
From Derek Mueller:
The tapping and commenting and fisking–linked, interested, etc.–seem more prevalent than the sort of sharing and appropriating, which is to suggest that blogging as spontaneous media doesn’t prefer to wait. Entries are often buried in a matter of days, comments with them, and the temporality machine rolls, calendars overturn. I get the feeling that blogs play the moment, invite the rush; whereas collaborative efforts can be slow and laborious, blogs thrive on freshness, vigor, never expiring.
And from Alex Reid:
My point is that new media “opens” the concepts of text, reader, and author to the point where they cannot be distinguished. In its place are physical machines, both organic and inorganic, whose symbolic behaviors and interactions produce, among other things, cognition and consciousness.
Now regardless of how these other ideas sit with mine, this process is what I’m thinking and talking about. Just these acts in this post, the reading, the synthesizing, the writing, the selection of what to cut and paste, the hyperlinking, the reflection, the sharing of the experience, the publishing…all of it is a new form (genre) of…of…learning.
Which, as it so often does, brings me back to Anne, who today keeps it all in focus.
I don’t think we have a complete grasp of how the open nature of weblogs and all the different dialogues are going to shape our future. I know a lot of people still are not into these “conversations” and I also know that we have yet to harness the true power of it in our classrooms, but more and more each day I realize that the main reason I’m blogging is to learn. In addition, I want to enable our students to have a voice in this journey and learn right along with us. The focus of learning with technology through reading, writing, responding and reflecting on weblogs gives me hope.
Can I get an “Amen?”