Moving at the Speed of Creativity by Wesley Fryer

What are the new literacies?

After participating in Friday’s online discussion in Elluminate organized by Josie Fraser about digital literacy and 21st century skills, Dean Groom’s post from yesterday resonates with me:

Why have a ‘shared drive’ when you can have a wiki? What does an email do for a group that a wiki won’t do better? We are not going to putting emails into folders, because we are ‘tagging’ them with metadata, which aligns with our folksonomies and wiki taxonomies. This to me is the new literacy. Not to just use a blog, or a wiki – but to recognise how, in the workplace, we are increasingly moving from files, folders and shared drives to group negotiated taxonomies and organizational knowledge – in order to be co-productive, collaborative and co-operative – regardless of distance.

I have loved using Basecamp as a project management environment for the ISTEconnects blogging project because it allows people to move all conversations OUT of email. (People can still have email notifications turned on if desired, but it’s optional.) I think Dean is on the right track in identifying the move to tagging, folksonomies, and cloud computing– and away from desktop / local server file thinking as being an essential part of the collaborative skills needed as a part of a broader “digital literacy” skill set today.

Day 83: Fifty Fingers - Hands Together
Creative Commons License photo credit: susanvg

I’m also struck by how the “digital knowledge divide” seems to grow larger by the day. How many teachers at your school can define “folksonomy” today? More people are aware of tag clouds and Wordle, but how many are USING them regularly to navigate and manage information flows with tools like delicious?

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5 responses to “What are the new literacies?”

  1. Kobus van Wyk Avatar

    These new literacies call for educational strategies to be adapted to cater for them. One cannot assume that they are “instinctive” and that learners will pick them up – these literacies and how to use and interpret them must be taught explicitly.

  2. kirsti Avatar

    I agree – they do need to be taught explicitly and I am willing to bet not a lot of people can define folksonomy…yet I do think our students have a clue about how they work, even if it is not a technical clue. More a relational, communicative clue about what these technologies can and cannot do and how and why we should use them. Personally, I hope they take us along a path of more collaborative and community learning. This is their true power.

  3. Dave Winter Avatar

    The social side of this collaboration is a big thing. Elgg as a social network is helping redefine old literacies. Do you see these literacies as empowering or just as skills we need to have? I have a post on new literacies just off to add folksonomie and personal learning network management to the list. Kia ora Dave

  4. Wesley Fryer Avatar

    Dave: I definitely see aspects of the new literacies as empowering, but other aspects laden with pitfalls– stuff like permanent digital records/digital footprints. Thanks for the link!