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What Literacies Are Important?

February 14, 2010


I finished reading Pegrum’s book from From Blogs to Bombs this week and thoroughly enjoyed every word of it. He does a tremendous job of placing the digital technologies and the lens with which to look at them in the context of the current trends taking place in the global digitized landscape where we live. The anecdotes and research that went into this little powerhouse of a book ground it in the real world and make it all the more engaging. It is an important book for educators in the 21st Century.

Although I didn’t attend the Elluminate session with Mark. I did play it back and I think it’s incredible that we can take part in a workshop like this for free and interact with the author of the book we are studying. Both Mark and Vance encouraged us to reflect on which literacies are important. I created the wordle above that identifies most of the literacies found in Pegrum’s book. My initial response to the question of which literacies are important is: Well, all of them! Yet, as I look at the list, I realize that I am illiterate in many of these literacies. I don’t feel bad about this; it’s the nature of being an educator right now. The greatest thing I have to offer my students is my passion for learning and my expertise as a learner. If I can share that with them and get them excited about the possibilities for their future that having a passion for learning offers you, then I think the rest will take care of itself.

I do believe we have an absolute responsibility to teach these literacies, but more so than that we have a responsibility to encourage students to take their education into their own hands and be active participants in the shaping of their education. I want my students to find their voice, identity and passion and to utilize the powerful web 2.0 tools out there to author their personal, academic and professional narratives. This is a lifelong process. My process is very different than theirs as I started my journey when digital technolgies were in their infancy. Yet, I have a powerful opportunity to be partners with my students in learning how to use digital technologies to craft narratives and share them with the world. It’s a lot more fun than being the expert!

Are there dangers associated with this process? Well sure, but I think those are overdramatized and part of the process is to make students aware of the limitations and dangers so they can learn how to avoid some of the pitfalls out there.

I had the chance to view three of the k12online presentations that were simply fantastic: Silvia Rosenthal Tolisano’s presentation on Skype, Alex Ambrose’s presentation on Googlios, and Chris Betcher’s phenomenal presentation on the Ways of Working. They were very inspiring not only because of the wealth of ideas and knowledge generated, but also the ways in which they chose to present the material. This week I am creating my own action plan for becoming more literate in the way these master educators are.


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  1. Jennifer Verschoor permalink

    Your wordle is a great example of the literacies we must teach our students. It clearly show what literacies we need to make a difference in our students education and prepare them for the 21st century.

  2. Maria Rosario Di M??naco permalink

    Great post! Two concepts sprang to my attention as I was reading it, maybe because I feel completely identified with them: lifelong learning and taking responsibility for your own learning. In my opinion, the best teachers are those who can model and demonstrate that.

  3. Vance Stevens permalink

    Hi Yvonne, I like your Wordle, and glad you enjoyed Mark’s book and our recorded interview with him. I also have often repeated what I first heard from Stephen Downes, that great teachers (as Maria points out) model and demonstrate how to learn. The learning part according to Downes involves practicing and reflecting. We are reflecting here in our blog posts and comments at the Ning, and recently I saw that Yvonne had decided as part of her action plan to practice with Twitter, and I used her actions in carrying out this plan as a model for others in my blog post here: <a href="; target="_blank"></a&gt;. Of course it’s also true that one great way to learn is to teach, and in this post I have taken what I learned from Yvonne and placed my characterization of it where I hope it will teach others. Thanks Yvonne and all the others traveling with us on this learning journey.

  4. Yvonne Caples permalink

    Thanks for you kind words Maria, Jennifer, and Vance….as a newbie to this it’s nice to be read and heard! And Vance…I shall now go and comment on your justcurious blog post! I’m having F.U.N.

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