THINKING ABOUT OUR FUTURE AS RESEARCHERS:NEW LITERACIES, NEW CHALLENGES, AND NEW OPPORTUNITIES Donald J. Leu University of Connecticut
The New Literacies Research Team at UConn Julie Coiro Athena Lentini Jill Castek Erica Berg Laurie Henry Teri LeBel Kent Golden Amber Hovland Don Leu Pam Worthy Doug Hartman
Literacy is All About Change We change the world one child at a time, as we teach each one to read, write, think, and learn.
Today, The Very Nature of Literacy Is, Itself, Rapidly Changing • Globalization has produced other nations and states who are “racing the U.S. to the top” in the effective use and integration of ICT into the workplace and our daily lives (Friedman, The World is Flat)
Consider… • Graduates started their school career with the literacies of paper, pencil, and book technologies… but will finish having encountered the new literacies demanded by a wide variety of ICT: word processors, World Wide Web browsers, e-mail, spreadsheets, presentation software, instant messaging, video editors, plug-ins for Web resources, listservs, bulletin boards, web logs (blogs), avatars, Web editors, virtual worlds, and many others.
Literacy as Deixis • As the technologies for reading and writing change so, too, does the very definition of literacy and what it means to be literate. • Literacy, reading, writing, communication all have become deictic terms. (Leu, 2000)
The Internet drives the deictic nature of literacy in the 21st Century. It is this generation’s defining technology for literacy and learning
Just as literacy skills are required to use book, paper, and pencil technologies effectively, new literacies are required to effectively use the Internet and other ICTs.
What are these “New Literacies” of Reading Comprehension? The new thinking and reading comprehension skills required to use the Internet to: identify important questions; locate information critically evaluate that information synthesize information; communicate the answers to others. Leu, Kinzer, Coiro, and Cammack (2004)
New Literacies Define a New Vision of the Reading Comprehension Curriculum • Identify Important Questions • Locate information • Critically evaluate the usefulness of that information • Synthesize information • Communicate answers to others
New Literacies: Contested Space • Literacy as social practice (Street) • Literacy as Discourse (Gee) • Literacy as multiliteracies (New London Group) • New Literacies (Lankshear and Knobel) • New Literacies (New Literacies Research Team)
New Literacies (The New Literacies Research Team) • The Internet is this generation’s defining technology for literacy and learning. • Literacy as deixis • Focus on informational text, comprehension, learning, communication • Focus on classroom contexts • Draw upon multiple theoretical perspectives and constructs: discursive, social practice, constructivism, reading comprehension, learning theory, and communication frames of reference.
From 2000-2001, use of the Internet at work among all employed adults 25 years of age and older increased by nearly 60%, from 26.1% of the workforce to 41.7% (U.S. Department of Commerce, 2002).
In 2005, 93% of workers in companies with more than 100 employees used the Internet and online information resources in the workplace. (Websense’s Sixth Annual Web@Work Survey, 2005)
In 2004, nearly 75% of all households reported they had Internet access.(Neilson/NETRatings, 2004)
87% of all students between the ages of 12 and 17 in the U.S. use the Internet, and 78% of these students (nearly 11,000,000 students) do so daily.(Pew Internet & American Life Project, 2005)
In 1994 only 35% of public K-12 schools in the US had an Internet connection.Today, 99% do.
In 1994, only 3% of all K-12 instructional rooms in the U.S. had access to the Internet.Today, 93% do.
Ireland manufactures more software than the US or any other nation.
Finland provides teachers with five weeks of paid, release time, professional development at integrating new literacies into the classroom.(Leu,Kinzer, Coiro, & Cammack, 2004)
Japan has broadband in nearly every home that is 16 times faster than the broadband in US homes, for only $22 per month.(T. Bleha, Foreign Affairs, 2005)
Companies in India provide online tutoring for US students in reading, math, and science.(NY Times, September, 2005)
Mexico is investing more than $1,000,000,000 to install an Internet computer in every every primary grade classroom by 2005 as part of its e-Mexico Program(Education Week, 2004)
Australia, the U.K., Finland, Ireland, Japan, and most developed nations have Internet portals for educators, far superior to anything the US has produced.
Why Are These New Literacies So Important? • Economic Arguments • Democratic Arguments • Individual Empowerment Arguments • Global Peace and Diversity Arguments • Reading Skill Development Arguments
We continue to assess student performance with paper and pencil assessments of largely factual information based on traditional literacy and learning skills, ignoring…
globalization and economic competition; • the changing nature of the workforce; • the digitalization of information and communication; • and the changes taking place to learning, reading comprehension, writing, and communication as the Internet enters our lives.
No state permits all students the opportunity to use a word processor during their state writing assessment.
No state currently assesses the ability to critically evaluate information online.
NCLB has taken us back to our literacy past, not forward to our literacy future.
And, it is important to understand…… online assessment DOES NOT necessarily mean the assessment of online skills.
While some states are moving assessment online, no state assesses, online learning.
The Irony Of Our Time • The organization in our society charged with preparing students for their future has, because of NCLB, invested in the assessment of their past.
Research Projects at the New Literacies Research Lab • National Assessment of Adult Literacy (ETS, NCES) • 50 States Assessment Study • Somers Study of Science Instruction and the New Literacies of Online Reading Comprehension • US Dept. of Ed - Online Reading Comprehension with Priority Schools (Clemson) • Nila Banton Smith Research Award - Reading during Online Searching • Carnegie Grant
Reshaping the Doctoral Experience • High expectations for scholarship and teaching • Working as colleagues • The essential nature of conference participation • Making transparent all that professors do. • Working shoulder to shoulder • Developing a common commitment to one another
Rethinking Our Work: 10 Steps We Might Take Together To Change Our Literacy and Learning Worlds
Step 1:Recognize That Literacies are Multiple: New Literacies Do NOT Replace Traditional Literacies
Step 2:Realize That Systemic Change is Necessary in Order to Include the New Literacies of the Internet into the Classroom.
Step 3: “Many Hands Make Light Work.” • Whatever you study, whatever you teach, we need your voice, your perspective, and your insights to help the field better understand the changes that are taking place.
Step 4: Recognize That Each of Us Is On a Journey and That We Each Have Something to Both Learn and Teach
Step 5:Recognize That In An Age of Change, Knowing How to Solve an Informational Problem May Be More Important to Measure Than Knowing Factual Knowledge