Posts Tagged ‘literacy’

Stuart Selber “Multiliteracies for a Digital Age”

September 18th, 2009 No comments

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.

The definition of literacy evolves with the blog

September 9th, 2009 1 comment

Jill Walker Rettberg does a fantastic job of following the development of “web-logs” and the expanding definition of literacy in her book, Blogging:  Digital Media and Society Series. She finds the progression of communication is directly proportional to the broadening definition of literacy, making some of the same points and references that we mentioned in class.
Rettberg uses the introduction of the written word in ancient Greece as her starting point. Plato favored oral communication for its immediate acceptance of a response or objection from the listener. Stories, theories or arguments that were written, rather than spoken, and were questioned or found to be incorrect, could not be retracted as easily (32).
We’ve come a long way since Plato’s time. Since the creation of high-speed Internet and the ever-declining cost of computers, many more people are able to become a part of the “participatory media” (1). The shift from the uni-directional mass media that Plato seems to almost have predicted forming, to participatory media, via easy-to-use technology that is in many cases mobile, has many journalists concerned about the future of news.
Rettberg does a fairly good job of remaining unbiased while portraying arguments for bloggers’ comments on current events and the reporting news, and the opposing views of media-employed journalists in pursuit of truth.
She lists three types of bloggers without structured guidelines to abide by that may convey more truthful, unfiltered angles to stories: chance witnesses, gatewatchers and opinionists. Journalists, however, check their sources and represent the companies they work for, and so, would not publish falsities to protect the credibility of both their own names, as well as company names. The bloggers refute the argument of credibility by arguing that all news is filtered and chosen by the editors. Comments are at the discretion of the editor (85).
I’m left thinking about one puissant quote by journalist Abbott Joseph Liebling that Rettberg uses to introduce both arguments, “Freedom of the press is guaranteed only to those who own one” (84). Maybe bloggers need to be respected as reporters, too, as literacy evolves to support participatory media.