Monday, June 16, 2008

Some thoughts about the readings for 6/17

There were several key insights that I gained from reading these fine literary works. First, I found the definition of literacy suggested by Lankshear and Knobel (quotes #3 & #4) to be specifically useful in considering how these new literacies, which are exponentially growing due to the rapid gains with technology, actually fit into the idea of being literacies and not just skills associated with technology: “We define literacies as ‘socially recognized ways of generating, communicating and negotiating meaningful content through the medium of encoded texts within contexts of participation in Discourses” (pp. 64). & “They say that literacy is not a matter of knowing how to read and write a particular kind of script but, rather, a matter of ‘applying this knowledge for specific purposes in specific contexts of use’” (pp. 66). In a sense, this quote (“We define literacies as ‘socially recognized ways of generating, communicating and negotiating meaningful content through the medium of encoded texts within contexts of participation in Discourses” (pp. 64). ) works to subdue the intensity that is felt by this quote from Larson & Marsh: “The theoretical framework introduced was one in which, in an era of swift technological advancement, the nature of literacy has been subject to interrogation and uncertainty” (pp. 98). The second topic that these articles made me consider was the implications of using technology in the classroom on a regular basis. It is clear from Leander (“These contrasting lists begin to suggest how monospatiality is contested through ubiquitous online access, and also through the “hyperliteracy” of online interaction in the classroom. Teachers lament that everyone seems to be writing, but no one talking” (pp. 37)) that using technologically based literacies, such as the internet and laptops, changes the dynamic within a classroom. I think that this is true, however; I think the way that the classroom dynamics are changed depends on how the technology is integrated and utilized in the classroom. It seems from the following quote that many of the teachers in the case study were using an “old wine in a new bottle” approach to utilizing the laptops (and related technologies):

“The idea that teachers might “keep doing what [they’re] doing,” and that technology might “enhance” or be an “outgrowth” of the curriculum, is essentially a guarantee that the social space of schooling will be saturated by the relations set forth in current curricular practices…a key difficulty, of course, is that “keep doing what you’re doing” discourse is not merely about refusal, but about giving reassurances to teachers that change can happen gradually and incrementally” (pp. 46). Other thoughts: (Thought #1) In the Leander article on page 38, the author talks about how Barbara compares her use of online spaces to that of Kristin, another teacher. She says: “I mean…for Kristin it’s not a problem. For me it’s a problem. But she’s…she’s in her 20s, I’m in my 40s. That’s the difference.” I think that this ties into the quote above from Larson & Marsh (pp. 71), which talks about whether or not there can be a “perfect synergy” between schools and technology. I wonder if this issue comes from the teachers’ perceptions of their abilities or the schools inability to provide the proper technology training for teachers. It seems, to me, that both of these factors are playing into the situation. (Thought #2)“A prominent conception was that curriculum must remain at the center of anything “new,” and that new technologies must support goals already in place from the curriculum” (pp. 46). In this quote Leander explores how technology should only be used when it furthers the goals of the class and the curriculum. To some extent, I agree with this because (most) everything in class should be linked back to the goals of the course and the curriculum. However, I think that with this era of “new literacies” that our curriculum needs to change to incorporate the new skills related to technology.

1 comment:

Hali Resney said...

I liked the quotes you talked about, becasue I too focused on some of them for my Critical Response. I think that in order for there to be, as you put it, "synergy" between technology and schools, teachers need to be informed of the "new" technologies. Just like the quote said, that a 40 year old has a harder time with it than a 20 year old, is proof that something needs to be done. If teachers are unaware of these "new" froms, then they will never be able to incorporate them into their classes.