Monday, 3 December 2007

Multiliteracy in another media

One thing that I find interesting about the idea of multiliteracy is that it encompasses different media. Literacy here is not only about the written word, but the several means by which we can create, understand, and reproduce content. This is a video (posted by Anna Jane from Australia 2 days ago) about multiliteracy that gives an idea of what it is using a different means for conveying the concept of multiliteracy. I hope you like it.

1 comment:

Dennis said...

Oí, J.A.

I liked the video very much: it made me think.

In a nutshell, the presenter said that available technology is changing rapidly and that as a result, our belief systems and our ways of deriving meaning are developing in new and different ways. The presenter also noted that the "digital natives" (today's young people) are not, as some have said, illiterate, but, rather, literate in ways other than how literate is commonly understood: as being "well-read" and capable of deriving meaning from printed text. The presenter goes on to say that in addition to text, speech, images, and other factors can be carriers of meaning. Finally, the presenter says that most who value education of the young do so with the belief that the "mission" of education is to foster analytical-critical thinking with the aim of equipping the young to be informed global citizens.

I would go a little further in two areas, at least.

First, the vehicles of meaning can include facial expression, tone of voice, the setting in which communication takes place, paralinguistic gestures, indicators (e.g., "I'm-following-you noises") that influence or modify what one is saying, and so on. Also, words themselves—whether in text or speech—can be modified in many ways, such as level of formality, level of technicality, level of appropriateness (vis-a-vis the setting and purpose of a communicative act). Further, images not only carry meaning by what they depict; they also modify that meaning through such variations in size, color, style, movement, etc.

Second, part of being literate (textually, visually, aurally, socially, etc.) is being able to recognize what is appropriate and what is not, but much of what takes place in the edusphere deals with appropriateness / inappropriateness only from a narrow, formal, traditional point of view. Those who are "well educated" in the traditional sense recognize, of course, that one talks, writes, and behaves in different ways at different times and/or in different surroundings because communicating effectively means modifying one's mode of expression so that it provides the "best fit" for a particular audience. However, traditional educators usually pay scant attention to helping young people realize that what's appropriate for texting or synchronous chat is not appropriate for most conference presentations, business letters, job interviews, or academic writing, and simply telling students that something is unacceptable because it's slang or colloquial or "improper" makes no sense when the "offending" communication is 100% appropriate in venues which are not formal or are in a setting which is quite different from the academic or corporate worlds.

The presentation also reminded me of something I posted for the Multiliteracy course several years ago. Click HERE to see it.

Dennis in Phoenix