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Critical Digital LiteracyWe can think of literacy not merely as a single skill, or even a set of skills, but as a way of operating with a variety of texts within particular sets of social situations.[...] Teaching children to be literate, therefore, should not be seen merely as providing them with a set of skills to transfer from situation to situation. Rather, it should involve teaching them about how to participate in, understand and gain control of the social practices of their society and the literacy practices that are embedded in them. (Winch, Johnston, March, Ljungdahl & Holliday, 2010, pp xxxviii)The question arises are these evolving technologies a distraction to literacy education or a part of literacy itself (Leander, 2009)? Literacy is a technique used in expressing and making meaning of linguistic forms across domains in a communicative setting (Pahl & Rowsell, 2012). It is believed that the range of texts and therefore the repertoire of literacy skills required by the young society is expanding (Carrington & Robinson, 2009). Digital literacies is simply defined as literacy for a digital age, where students are becoming engaged in interpreting and composing new kinds of texts in the digital world. The same practice for critically analysing texts is applied, however there are new ways of constructing, interpreting and critiquing texts (Walsh, 2011). Students are required to critically analyse texts through the use of the semiotic systems: linguistics, visual, auditory, gestural and spatial. They use these to engage in the aspects of the four resources model (Freebody & Luke): Code breaking, text participant, text user and text analyst. A focus on critical inquiry and analysis creates a problem-solving, inclusive environment within classroom and communities that can shift and sustain change (Pahl & Rowsell, 2012). This is relevant for the changing nature of literacy with the growth of the digital world. In order for students to make meaning, problem solve, identify provenance and authenticity, students need to learn to critically analyse using these systems in both digital multimodal texts, as well as print based texts. We make meaning from texts based on our background experiences, linking this to new experiences or knowledge and children draw on the digitalised culture to make meaning (Pahl & Rowsell, 2012). Students are becoming empowered with the expansion of the digital world and it is important to effectively approach this in the classroom with parallel pedagogy which weaves together the skills associated with both print and digital texts. Initially there is concern for the new textual and communicative possibilities offered by digital literacies. Looking past these negative effects it has been recognised that these online spaces are providing opportunities for students to become digitally literate with text production evolving through these new technologies and their accompanying social activities. Students need to think critically when interpreting all texts and be able to switch between classroom setting and taking part in a wider social practice in the digital world, to allow them to be considered as digitally literate. By reframing children’s online text production as a positive and creative activity, the opportunity to develop children’s critical digital literacy, and increasing mastery as effective and safe communicators in the twenty first century, can only be enhanced (Dowdal, 2009). Today and future demands will only increase for the engagement in the digital world and it is important for students to be taught to interpret and produce texts for social, cultural, political, civic and economic purposes in socially and culturally diverse contexts (Carrington & Robinson 2009). Teachers are preparing today’s students to be tomorrow’s adults, to be able to effectively play and understand the role of the consumer and the producer in the digitalised world. this is the link to the critical digital literacy image:http://www.teachthought.com/wp-content/uploads/2014/03/5-pieces-of-critical-digital-literacy.jpgthis is the link to the four resources model image https://amyleeesh151.files.wordpress.com/2013/07/screen_shot_2011-12-03_at_13-53-53.png

Emergent Literacy Practices

Critical Digital Literacies


Impact of emergent literacy practices Within today’s society, children are exposed to new forms of technologies and ways of viewing, interpreting and thinking (Pahl & Rowsell, 2012). These changes in digital communications technology inevitably impact on the literacy practices for students in the classroom, at home and in broader contexts within the community and globally (Walsh, 2011). These communication environments change the way that people present themselves and the ways that relationships are developed, the use of digital technologies is woven into the everyday fabric of our lives, and it changes the ways in which we make meaning and engage with others (Carrington & Robinson, 2009).Literacy skills for the twenty-first century are skills that enable participation in the new communities emerging within a networked society. They enable students to exploit new simulation tools, information appliances and social networks; they facilitate the exchange of information between diverse communities and the ability to move easily across different media platforms and social networks (Jenkins et al, 2006, p. 55).Implications for these changes in communication technology for education have been debated and there are many advantages and disadvantages recognised (Walsh, 2011). -----------> (see other text boxes)Although new literacy practices are evolving in classrooms, there is said to be a shift to powering down from digital world when entering typical classroom and as a consequence an increasing number of students are required to leave behind an entire suite of competencies, practices and knowledge about digital technologies and digital texts when they walk through the school gates of a morning (Carrington & Robinson, 2009). It is argued that the conceptualisation of multimodal literacy needs to be redefined within current curriculum contexts (Walsh, 2011). Shifts in the engagement in literacy and texts has changed with the prevalence of the digital and immersive world, with this there needs to be similar shifts in the classroom (Pahl & Rowsell, 2012). The shaping of the curriculum needs to respond to the new pathways our students take through globalised and local, virtual and material social fields (Pahl & Rowsell, 2012). Classroom contexts need to acknowledge these changes and teachers need to know how to effectively engage with these technologies and use these in ways to enhance students’ literacy learning (Walsh, 2011). The development of pedagogy that embeds digital communication technology and texts to meet the curriculum outcomes and assessment requirements needs to occur, while at the same time maintaining students’ engagement with more traditional print based technology, and skills (Walsh, 2011). Through constant advancements in technology comes more complexity and availability of language and literacy and ways they can be represented. Children are constantly surrounded and immersed in these environments of resources and opportunities of interaction and communicating in their homes and broader community. It is believed that that children’s literacy comes from home and that the home is where children learn much of their literacy. It is important to conceptualise the relationship between home and school literacy practices. Children bring with them their cultural practices as well as multilingual and multimodal practices and use these as a guide when engaging in literacy practices, they adopt these from immersion in digital environments and these need to be recognised and far more present in classroom literacy and the curriculum (Pahl & Rowsell, 2012). Information and identities now flow back and forth across offline and online domains, using new form of text to do old and new things. There is a pedagogical space to recognise both online and offline learning, in and out of school, that contributes to the knowledge generation of the larger community. In an era where these skills and texts are increasingly linked to employment, political access and the capacity to engage meaningfully in civic life, a literacy education that incorporates digital literacies is essential (Carrington & Robinson, 2009, p. 167). Preparing teachers to work in contemporary classrooms is a process of preparing them to be expert learners themselves (Carrington & Robinson, 2009). The classroom may need to change and adapt to reflect more fully the world beyond the classroom walls.

Advantages-Students becoming more proficient in using a range of digital technologies (Walsh, 2011)-Use of technology motivates and engages students in learning (Walsh, 2011)-Research and engagement increased through real world, virtual communication (Walsh, 2011)-Students are constructing new literacy practices that are multi modal (Walsh, 2011)-Technology is not only new, presents new ways of learning (Walsh, 2011)-New range of texts available and to be developed (Walsh, 2011)-Engagement in this produces a more collaborative and participatory culture in classrooms (Walsh, 2011)-Students who do not excel using traditional methods can digitally (Walsh, 2011)-It can help to build relationships and confidence (Walsh, 2011)-Develop language proficiency, useful for backgrounds other than English (Walsh, 2011)-Teachers and students can learn together (Walsh, 2011)-More self-directed, independent learning (Walsh, 2011)-Inclusive, holistic learning (Walsh, 2011)-Allows alternate assessment methods, good for maintaining records of student achievement (Walsh, 2011)-It is becoming mainstream and powerful (Carrington & Robinson, 2009)-Rather than focusing on technological skills, new media involves as a set of cultural competencies and social skills (Willet, 2009)-It can be motivating for reluctant learners (Merchant, 2009) -It can provide more meaningful contexts (Merchant, 2009)-Immersion leads to new ways of thinking about and using texts (Burnett, 2009)-Digital technology has been seen as the key to transforming education through enabling new relationships between teachers and learners and allowing learners to take more control over their own learning (Burnett, 2009)-It can allow parents and the community to become involved in learning, opening work to wider publications (Davies and Merchant 2009)-Authentic experiences relating to real world contexts and topics are provided (Davies and Merchant 2009)-It provides ways of capturing and presenting learning in a purposeful way (Davies and Merchant 2009)-Online text production can be framed positively, with an emphasis on the creative, critical and skilful approach that they take as they produce multimodal texts to fulfil a range of functions, making meaning and understanding purpose in different contexts (Dowdal, 2009)

Disadvantages -Maintaining engagement and motivation in traditional ways such as print based (Walsh, 2011)-Lack of interest when moving back to more traditional methods (Walsh, 2011)-Access to technologies outside of school is affected by SES, home beliefs (Walsh, 2011)-It needs to be ensured that traditional reading, writing, vocabulary development, grammar, spelling and punctuation basic skills are still explicitly taught (Walsh, 2011)-Current curriculum doesn’t offer assessment criteria that reflects the changing digital practices (Walsh, 2011)-It can be challenging to assess as it requires different methods to for example traditional reading (Walsh, 2011)-It can be seen as dangerous, engaging in the online world (Carrington & Robinson, 2009)-Not all teachers are comfortable with new technologies or fully aware of their benefits in education and learning potential (Carrington & Robinson, 2009)-Pupils may be more experienced and competent than the teacher (Merchant, 2009)-There is extra work involved with coordinating, planning and training to allow implement these effectively -Safety is an issue with real or perceived risks faced -Not all young people have access to developing skills and experiences outside of school (Willet, 2009)-It can’t be assumed that these skills are being developed outside of school (Willet, 2009)-It is a concern to Fit more into already overcrowded curriculum (Leander, 2009)-There is a replacement stance, that it is taking over traditional ways (Leander, 2009)-Pressure for students to perform in standardised testing, focus on this in classrooms (Leander, 2009)-These new technologies are allowing unsupervised creation and interaction with a broad audience, where students are given the power and authority as publishers and disseminators of texts. Parents are less able to exert authority and control and monitor student activity (Dowdal, 2009)


New digital lietracies that can be implemented in the classroom



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