The idea of what constitutes a ‘text’ is no longer constricted to a printed book. Instead, it now encapsulates other forms of communicating made possible through our digital advances, such as via SMS, blogs and wikis. As a product, the concept of literacy in the 21st century (aka ‘new literacies‘) is one that is in a state of constant transformation due to our emerging and evolving digital technologies and practices.
These new literacies are multimodal. While in the literature of the past text and images were typically quite separated and the linguistic mode tended to dominate, digital communication is changing what it means to write. Digital texts convey meaning through the blending of writing, images, film and music (the visual and auditory modes). They ‘combine letters, symbols, colours, sounds and graphics to extend language and the ways we communicate’ (Houtman, 2013).
New forms of strategic knowledge (e.g. research skills, technical skills and critical analysis skills), ethical understandings and social practices (such as collaboration and networking) are required in order for individuals to be proficient with these new literacies (Lankshear & Knobel, 2012). As a result, teachers have an important and changing role in the development of their students’ literacy skills – in an environment where literacies are constantly evolving and developing they can become orchestrators of the learning contexts, encouraging their students to take lead.
Houtman, E. (2013). New literacies, learning, and libraries: How can frameworks from other fields help us think about the issues? In the Library with the Lead Pipe. Retrieved fromhttp://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2013/new-literacies-learning-and-libraries-how-can-frameworks-from-other-fields-help-us-think-about-the-issues/ Accessed March 18th, 2014
Lankshear, C., & Knobel, M. (2012). ‘New’literacies: technologies and values. Teknokultura. Revista de Cultura Digital y Movimientos Sociales, 9(1), 45-71. Retrieved fromhttp://everydayliteracies.net/files/RemixTeknokulturaEnglish.pdf Accessed March 18th, 2014