There have been many over the years that have eluded that to know where you are going, you must first understand where you’ve been. This course has been excellent in providing that perspective. I have learned a lot of very interesting information about orality, literacy, print, digital literacy and the promise of multi-literacy. I had no idea that “language is so overwhelmingly oral that of all the many thousands spoken in the course of human history only about 106 have ever been committed to writing to a degree sufficient to have produced literature and most have never been written at all” (Ong, 1978). Quite a staggering fact coming from a culture that relies so heavily on text.
I think this course, overall was excellent in helping the learner make connections throughout. This is one of the few courses I have experienced in MET (and I start my last course in January), where assignments (not just discussions) have been shared amongst the cohort. The posting of the Research Papers, Thought Questions and Major Papers, not to mention this Making Connections reflection really has helped me tremendously. I have found in MET that we learn most from our peers, reading about what they find meaningful and their perspectives and connections helps me in scaffolding my own. To this end I think Ong was correct in saying ‘more than any other single invention, writing has transformed human consciousness (Ong, 1978).
What I would have liked to have seen, personally was less reliance on having printed textbooks, having the option of purchasing an eBook instead would have been extremely beneficial, as Bolter says “Digital Media are refashioning the printed book…the idea of the book is changing” (Bolter, 2001). I have been surprised throughout my MET experience that there is still such a heavy reliance on printed texts throughout. As someone that has a 4 hour commute daily to work (2hrs each way) I like to read on the train, but lugging around a bunch of textbooks is not ideal, I LOVE my eBook reader. Having the option would add a new dimension. There has to be something that would be relevant “Today, the sheer quantity and range of texts that are now available online has become a defining aspect of digital literacy” (Dobson & Willinsky, 2009) :o) I did however appreciate the incorporation of tools like the Wiki, Delicious and especially the Rip.Mix.Feed. Activities like Rip.Mix.Feed afford exposure to the potential of new tools, and as Bolter says, “Electronic technology provides a range of new possibilities…”. Now that we have our new knowledge, awareness and perspective hopefully we can aspire to “ensure that all students benefit from learning in ways that allow them to participate fully in public, community and economic life.” (New London Group, 1996).
Bolter, J.D. (2001). Writing spaces: Computers, hypertext, and the remediation of print (2nd Ed.). Mahwah, NJ: Lawrence Erlbaum Associates.
Dobson and Willinsky’s (2009) chapter “Digital Literacy.” This is a submitted draft version of a chapter for The Cambridge Handbook on Literacy
The New London Group. (1996) “A Pedagogy of Multiliteracies:Designing Social Futures.” Harvard Educational Review 66(1), pp. 60-92.
Ong, Walter J. (1978). Literacy and Orality in Our Times. Retrieved October 23, 2010 from http://onlinelibrary.wiley.com/doi/10.1111/j.1460-2466.1980.tb01787.x/pdf