Although this course has been a struggle for me due to time constraints and personal challenges I have found it to be extremely interesting, far more so than I expected when I signed up. I have enjoyed the readings and find there are many connections that can be made between the topics and have been by others. In this post I am going to describe a couple of topics that I found particularly intriguing and how they relate to my teaching practice.
Oral Cultures – I had never contemplated what it would be like to live in a primarily oral culture before and found Walter J Ong’s portrayal of an oral culture in ‘Orality and Literacy’ to be extremely fascinating. I found the following quotes from Postman to be food for thought when deciding how to deliver a lesson to my classes:
- ‘orality stresses group learning, cooperation, and a sense of social responsibility’
- ‘print stresses individualized learning, competition, and personal autonomy’
Changing Definition of Text – At the beginning of this course I defined text as being writen language and would have defined literacy as being able to read and write. Now I agree with the New London Group that the definition of literacy should be expanded to one of multileracy that includes meaning making from images, audio, and text (New London Group, 2000). It is becoming more and more obvious to me that print is being remediated by hypertext and hypermedia. As an educator I am unsure of how to incorporate multiliteracy in my daily classes even though I am sure it is often more important to my students to learn to navigate the digital information available to them than to memorize all the facts in their textbook. However the realities of the classroom teaching environment with one computer and projector, two bookable computer labs for a school of 800 students, and a school-wide ban on electronic communication devices are frustrating parameters on what I can do to implement student learning and communication using multimodal methods.
Articles related to multiliteracies and education in this weblog: ‘Commentary #3 – Bolter, J. The Electronic Book – Chapter 5‘, ‘Why Professor Johnny Can’t Read: Understanding the Net Generation’s Texts’, ‘From Multiliteracies to Social Equity’, and ‘Power Shifts Reflected Through Changing Literacies’.
New London Group. (1996). A pedagogy of multiliteracies: Designing social futures. Harvard Educational Review, 66(1), 60-92.
Postman, N. (1992). Technopoly: The surrender of culture to technology. New York, NY. New York.