Real critical literacies

Howard Rheingold’s recent speech delivered at education.au seminar in Melbourne, prompted my thinking in terms of what we need to teach our students (and teachers), to become C21 citizens, not just in terms of essential researching /information skills but also what we should learn from a deeper understanding of modes of interaction between the ‘digital natives’. Rheingold is particularly concerned with how to apply the social technologies to engage students in civic awareness; “this population is both self guided and in need of guidance; although a willingness to learn new media by point and click exploration might come naturally, there is nothing innate about knowing how to apply their skills to the process of democracy.” Too often critical literacies are confined to traditional approaches of information consumption, but its time to better understand what kids are really doing with their laptops/ipods etc.: discovering and enabling new behaviors and literacies associated with being creators and providers for new media channels.

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    About thand

    I'm a currently working at NSW Departrment of Education & Training, Connected Classrooms Program, Sydney.
    This entry was posted in Commentries, digital natives, education, Informal learning, information organising, knowledge, libraries, literacies, schooling, Social networking, Wikis. Bookmark the permalink.

    One Response to Real critical literacies

    1. Marg says:

      I think also, Tim, that it’s about engaging beyond simply reconstructing our societal ‘habits’ and ‘cultural conserves’ (and actions informing these) to embedding reflective ways in which we interact. Critical literacy, as you say, is it as far as I’m concerned – we need to reawaken ourselves (as teachers) to that notion as underpinning the experiential learning ethos we espouse, so that learners ‘get it’ too. We can’t be doing ‘critical literacy’ right if it’s simply reaffirming traditional approaches – that doesn’t compute – it’s thus not ‘critical’. To me, it’s in the various sites for learning that we must engage these ideas, not simply the technologies (although I’d agree they can enable such a discussion).

      Adult education is in great danger of slipping in a ‘skill sets’ frame of mind which only serves to continue to conserve the current status quo, that is learners continuing to simply reconstruct what is already there – how do we critically engage learners to see beyond ‘the doing’ to the ‘how and why’ of ‘the doing’?

      Perhaps we need to revisit educators like Dewey and Lewin to remind ourselves of ‘why’ we educate (and thus learn) in the first place!

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