Multiliteracies in ELA Classrooms

Blurred Lines

July 13th, 2014 · 2 Comments

After presenting the other day on blogging as a form of classroom learning I was reflecting on the discussion aspect that focused on the prevalence of blogging and digital media in the classroom. I wanted to particularly contemplate the point of how students are already so immersed in the digital world outside of the classroom that they want to take a break from it during class time. In my personal experience and in my preference I can understand both sides of the argument. On one hand, students should be able to use and participate in building online resources and materials in an academic and elevated way. On the other hand students should not have to participate in an activity that mimic their own Internet practices at home. I find activities that attempt to be “cool” or very relevant actually dissuade me from wanting to participate. These “cool” assignments sometimes blur the lines between school and home, a distinction I would like to keep separate.
In Lankshear and Knobel’s article Blogging as Participation: The Active Sociality of a New Literacy I was interested to see the emphasis on “collective intelligence” and with the Internet space “as open, continuous and fluid” (pg. 1). Collective intelligence and open, fluid space definitely bring certain benefits to the production of knowledge but it again blurs the lines for myself in terms of who is actually responsible for the creation of certain pieces of the puzzle. It also begs the question, where does the Internet space stop and where does reality begin? I could go into an extremely philosophical discussion about what is real and what is not but I will refrain from doing so! I also know that many people experience the Internet as a reality but for myself I do not feel like what I do on the web is part of my existence in the material world.
That being said, these blurred lines (to quote Robin Thicke) are only made more so by the accessibility of the Internet for all. Internet blogging tools have “made it relatively easy for internet users who were unfamiliar or uncomfortable with using hypertext markup language and the principles of web design for coding and designing their own weblogs” (pg. 3). Now everyone can contribute to online knowledge as well as us and our students. I wonder, however, whether students, like myself, find the nature of online intelligence and the accessibility we are now afforded, almost an uncomfortable fusing of realities and worlds. Would it be better almost to give students class time to complete their blogs like we would give them time for exit slips? To what extent are we expected to maintain our classroom life at home? Perhaps I am too antiquated in my perspective of how one should be consciously involved in the spaces around them but I would prefer to keep my worlds separate. I want my school life and my home life to be distinct as well as the line between my Internet activity and my physical reality.

Lankshear,C.and Knobel, M.(2006).Blogging as Participation:The Active Sociality of a New Literacy. American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, US.

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2 responses so far ↓

  • ajlee // Jul 13th 2014 at 9:52 pm

    Your discussion of blogging and digital media as belonging to the “home” or personal life versus school life and how some students may not want their at home internet practices to be mixed into their school practices is quite interesting. Sometimes I find myself pondering the same issue. However, I think we should acknowledge that the aforementioned dilemma (if we can call it that) perhaps exists because schools have been slower to adopt digital and internet mediums into the classroom, and since these activities are not part of school work expectations, it by default, has led some students to claim social media and digital practices as being relegated solely their personal practices.

    I wonder if we revisit this topic a few years or a decade from now and have schools encourage students participation online, such as through group discussion threads or written work posted to internet spaces, just to name a few, would students still feel blogging and internet participation activities as something that is invading their personal online practices?

    For me, I would be one of those people that experience the internet as a reality and I side with the stance that what many people contribute on the web and their interactions with and via social media are very much part of their existence in the material world. Therefore, I feel that teachers should include opportunities for students to be active participants in social media in school practices. It would allow students to grow and apply critical thinking to their behaviours and interactions with media online. I think by being open to including internet participation in school practices, we can start to examine how we can extend students’ critical thinking skills to the media that they already engage with as content creators, online audience and critics.

    As well, digital practices in the classroom bring more collaborative opportunities. I too am interested in Lankshear and Knobel’s point on “collective intelligence” and the internet space “as open, continuous and fluid” (2006, pg.1). Reflecting on the B.Ed program, I recognize that had it not been for social media and “tools of and for participation, the collaborative nature of this program would be much more difficult to navigate, to say the least (2006, pg.7). Our open access to Wifi grants us connection to instant resources for our discussions and assignments, which we can share instantly and gives transparency during group work in researching assignments collaboratively. Furthermore, using “tools”, such as, Google Drive and it’s web-based office suite, help facilitate into our “collective intelligences”. Group assignments and presentations would have been more difficult to complete if these mediums were not available. I think if our students have this sort of access and opportunity in the classroom they would value the use of social and digital media in schools.

    To end this post, I would like to share this infographic that I came across while thinking on this topic. Any thoughts?

    — Angela

    Source: <a

    Lankshear,C.and Knobel, M.(2006).Blogging as Participation:The Active Sociality of a New Literacy. American Educational Research Association, San Francisco, US.

  • ajlee // Jul 13th 2014 at 9:58 pm

    Not sure if the link I attached in the previous comment worked. So here it is again:

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