You all will need to forgive the quality of this post as the cold that I suffered from is still lingering and I am still exhausted. I will do my best in my final reflection of this course.
I will start by saying that this course was a definite challenge for me. I am from the hard sciences and this course with its historical and sociological perspectives was a challenge for me. I had a hard time wrapping my head around some of the readings and had difficulties conversing about some of the topics. However, from reading some of the former posts in the weblog and by doing the research for my final research project, one thing did jump out to me. How much literacy has become so much a part of our lives.
In my final project I examined how workplace training evolved from the apprenticeship training of early history to what we see today. From this research, what struck me was how the ability to read text and knowing how to find information, whether it be in a manual or the world wide web, was so important. Without such skills, people could no longer be valuable members of society. This was in stark contrast to early history where oral traditions were valued. For instance, in African cultures the more aged members in society were valued because of all the information that they held in their heads. Being close to such members was important because it allowed others to access the knowledge that they had easily. Now with the internet and with books (and E-books), information is printed, copied and made accessible with one click sometimes. The advent of books and such print material has allowed the author to be worlds away from us and yet we can still pick his/her brain with relatively little effort.
I have found many of my classmates’ posts have resonated this same theme. For instance, Gordana Jugo’s post “Text can save life” exemplified this wonderfully. Without being able to read, you won’t be able to read a sign that can save your life. Steph also showed the “Power of the written word”, when she spoke about letter campaigns the simplicity of words to connect with people with the human experience in her hyperlink Parisian Love. In addition, words have the power to evoke beauty and emotion with the many poems that have been quoted in the following posts:
The exclusion and isolation that can be experienced when not having literacy skills is exemplified in the Scott Alexander’s post The Power of Text. The video that is linked to this post is touching, but also shows what can happen when people do not have the literacy skills that they need. They are isolated and in some ways excluded from the fundamental connections that literate people take for granted.
The problems with poor literacy and the subject of multiliteracy is also touched in
Jennifer Stieda’s essay “Multiliteracies for the Marginalized”. Topics such as multiliteracy, digital literacy, and their subsequent teaching challenges and possible teaching solutions are also explored in the following posts:
- Sian Osborne’s essay “Unwired Curriculum in a Wired World”
- byhill’s “Net-Generation: How to teach and read their way”
- Dennis Pratt’s “Commentary #3: Alexander’s Web 2.0: A New Wave of Innovation for Teaching and Learning? and Web 2.0: Storytelling, Emergence of a New Genre”
In addition, social media which links people together with either long posts or short tweets have changed the way that we communicate with one another. This topic was covered by Scott Alexander’s final project on social media.
The above by no means is a complete compilation of all the wonderful work, thoughts and ideas posted by my classmates. If anything, the above only shows what I could manage in my exhaustive and unwell state. I pray that what I have written shows the connections that I was able to make from this course. I do find it interesting, however, what I still was able to learn in a subject that was well out of my comfort zone.
I will admit freely that I am not a great thinker, but more an applier. Through this course and through my classmates’ posts I was able to see and experience their thoughts and connections that they were able to make with the subject matter. I was also able to realize how certain terms such as text, technology and literacy I took for granted.
I do believe that after this course I will think more about the terms and words that come across my way. I will delve a little deeper and perhaps take less for granted about the little words that come my way. After all, the words that we type and read are not just a collection of letters. They can represent complex thoughts, concepts and ideas and if gathered appropriately, can change the world.
Peace and Love,
Omolewa, M. (2007). Traditional African Modes of Education: Their Relevance in the Modern World. International Review of Education 53 (5/6). pp. 593-612