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Stuart Selber “Multiliteracies for a Digital Age”

College professors are the expected audience for Selber’s book. He says, “This book was written to help teachers of writing and communication develop full-scale computer literacy programs that are both effective and professionally responsible.” (Selber, 2004, p. xi) Selber goes on to say that, “…too few teachers today are prepared to organize learning environments that integrate technology meaningfully and appropriately.” (p. 1) As we discussed in class, Selber also sees some resistance on the part of professors to learn and utilize technology.

Selber indicates that students are more apt to be prepared for the world of digital media than some professors are. He states, “…students will undoubtedly know a great deal.” (Selber, 2004, p. 19) He goes on to give students credit for a certain knowledge base with regard to computer programs and usage. Selber states, “In many instances, students will actually know more than their teachers about operating computers…” (p. 19) He also says the following, which I have found to be true to my own experience: “In academic settings, students tend to learn about computers on their own, with the help of their peers…” (Selber, 2004, p. 30) Further still, I see computers in the classrooms in elementary and secondary schools are playing a large role. My children are comfortable with any computer situation or program and are not fearful of the new technologies as they develop – a situation that is not all that common with older students and professors.

Selber concludes that his mission is to “…help teachers envision a full-fledged program that integrates and emphasizes functional literacy, critical literacy, and rhetorical literacy … even if some departments are rather fearful of technology.” (p. 183-184) Perhaps, if we raise the bar for muliliteracies, then our colleges and universities will become more literate in this growing and evolving computer age.

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