Literacy can be seen as a function of social, cultural, institutional and technological change (Lankshear & Knobel, 2012, p.45). This means that the resulting methods of communicating and engaging with different types of media have paramount implications for what it means to be ‘literate’ in a 21st Century classroom.
Gone are the days of exclusively engaging and learning from simple print media, or ‘traditional literacies’ – textbooks, encyclopaedias, journals, etc. Enter the endless opportunities and breadth of digital media – the internet, social networks, blogs, smartphones, tablets, gaming, video, applications and programs. In order to keep abreast of the knowledge, skills and fluencies required for students to thrive in a technologically-evolving culture, new, digital literacies must be integrated into the teaching and learning process.
What’s exciting is the very essence of new literacies as information consumption linked to changing values and technologies. This implies a continuously transformative practice (Houtman, 2013): what is considered new today may not be new tomorrow. Teachers therefore are responsible for adapting and embracing new methods of imparting information to students to suit the current literacies of their world, “increasingly become orchestrators of learning contexts rather than dispensers of literacy skills” (Leu et. al in Houtman, 2013).
Houtman, E. (2013). New literacies, learning, and libraries: How can frameworks from other fields help us think about the issues? In the Library with the Lead Pipe. Retrieved from http://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2013/new-literacies-learning-and-libraries-how-can-frameworks-from-other-fields-help-us-think-about-the-issues/Accessed February 14th, 2014
Lankshear, C., & Knobel, M. (2012). ‘New’literacies: technologies and values. Teknokultura. Revista de Cultura Digital y Movimientos Sociales, 9(1), 45-71. Retrieved from http://everydayliteracies.net/files/RemixTeknokulturaEnglish.pdf Accessed February, 2014