Teaching New Media Literacies with Blogfolios and Multimedia Presentations

Jason Ohler talks looks at changes in literacy, digital storytelling and the challenges and opportunities for teaching in New-Media Literacies: Don’t be so text-centric; experiment with the media technologies your students use

Being literate in a real-world sense means being able to read and write using the media forms of the day, whatever they may be. For centuries, consuming and producing words through reading and writing and, to a lesser extent, listening and speaking were sufficient. But because of inexpensive, easy-to-use, and widely available new tools, literacy now requires being conversant with new forms of media as well as text, including sound, graphics, and moving images. In addition, it demands the ability to integrate these new media forms into a single narrative, or “media collage,” such as a Web page, blog, or digital story.

The capabilities and options provided by the social help expand communication from an outward facing solitary broadcast to a community, collaborative exercise.

Since the advent of the Web, expression has shifted toward including social, rather than strictly individual, kinds of communication. Traditional essays remain vitally important, but they now co-exist with new media within the context of a “social web,” often referred to as Web 2.0, which permits collaborative narrative construction and publication through blogs and services like MySpace, Google Docs, and YouTube.

He incorporates these new ideas into the classroom by having students manage blogfolios and create two multimedia presentations.

Test Your Transliteracy Skills

A short video from the Transliteracy Research Group, delivering a short coded message to test the viewer’s transliteracy skills.

I will stress that this was designed only as a bit of fun – it is not, by any means, a definitive test! However, in producing it, I was mulling on two points related to transliteracy..

1.Our brains are designed to solve problems and spot patterns, which allows __ to miss ___ every third ___ without confusing ____. Whilst it is not possible to understand and demonstrate complete fluency in every type of literacy there is, the ability to find patterns and infer meaning must surely be a component part of being a transliterate individual?

2.The desire to understand and the ability to search out meaning must also be a factor in transliteracy. How many of you did an internet search to de-code the morse code or semaphore sections of the video? Does an ignorance of morse code or semaphore mean you are not transliterate? Or does the desire to fill in that gap and the ability to find that information prove that you *are* transliterate?

Something to ponder, anyway! ;-)

First Grader Creates iPhone App of His Version of “The Three Little Pigs”

Here is a terrific example of how even the youngest learners can demonstrate transliteracy! Henry Dewey created his own illustrations to interpret “The Three Little Pigs” and then with the assistance of his father, created an iPhone app for people to read his version of the story, which includes Henry’s narration of the tale.

Henry Dewey is a typical 8-year-old. He loves to build with Legos and annoy his little sister, hoping to someday own a reptile to terrorize her with.

The first-grader at Trinity Episcopal School in Rollingwood is also doing some nontraditional things: Henry just released his first iPhone application, an e-book version of the folk tale “The Three Little Pigs.”

Using pen and ink, Henry spent the entire fall semester creating the illustrations for his book during an after-school art program at Trinity.

“I like being creative, making bobbleheads on paper,” Henry said.

Early in the process, he decided he wanted to transform his project into an iPhone application to provide more options on the gadget for children.

He told his father, Mark Dewey — himself an iPhone application developer — about his idea. When Henry finished the illustrations, the drawings were converted into a digital format. Then his dad helped turn the project into the application, rewriting the story and having Henry narrate it.

“At a young age to know you can be a creator, in the mainstream of American culture, that can be powerful,” said Mark Dewey, whose digital media company, Geoki, published the app. “We hope that carries on through his growing and his life.”

Watch young author and app developer Henry Dewey discuss his app in this video! You can also click here to view and purchase Henry’s app for his story.

This story reinforces the call from the Knight Foundation for libraries of all kinds and schools to step up to the plate in positing transliteracy as a primary literacy to close the digital divide and participatory gap.

Free Readings on New Media for Your Kindle Device or Kindle App

Twelve Year Old Adora Svitak on Digital Literacy

The Future is in Your Hand

CC Image used courtesy of K!T

When you look at your phone so much more than calling comes to mind.  You can record tasks that you need to accomplish within the day, record voice memos, listen to music or audio books during your commute or at the gym, respond to email, get directions, and update your social media accounts. This is just the tip of the iceberg.

For most of us smartphones have become indispensable in how we communicate, consume, and connect with information and people. But guess what, it’s not happening through voice calls.  Recently CTIA, the wireless industry association released that the average number of voice minutes per U.S. user has fallen for the last two years, and that the average time taken for local calls was just 1.81 minutes in 2009, versus 2.27 in 2008. It  shows that the number of text messages sent by the average U.S. user spiked 50% in 2009 from the previous year. What this says to me is that the mobile future is here, but is your library ready for it?

With this change, your services should also to be accessible. You can do this in a number of ways. You can do this by having a mobile interface which is especially designed for viewing on mobile devices or just have a mobile OPAC. Here is an example from the Auburn University Library in Auburn, AL. Some libraries have taken it a step further and created mobile applications through iTunes that do everything from searching the catalog, to your hours, locations, and directions to branches via Google Maps like the District of Columbia Public Library. Others are creating mobile library tours where patrons can either download video or audio to their mobile device or library loaned equipment. The best part is some of these are in different languages.

Another avenue is SMS (short message service). Through this you can see if the book you requested is available, get due date reminders, request a loan, renew your materials, get your fines, check the availability of a book, hours of the library, alerts to programs, and reference services. Lastly, you can have mobile collections through services like Overdrive via their Apple or Droid applications, instruction through podcasts, and language services.

To remain relevant in this mobile age you need to try and have at least one if not all of these services depending upon your location, size of population served, and patron technology level. The future is in your hand, it’s your choice to respond.

Scholars’ Use of Digital Media

The Chronicle of Higher Education summarizes an interesting study by Ithaka which surveyed how academic faculty use various digital media. The study focuses on three areas:

  • how faculty members use and perceive their campus libraries
  • how they are handling the print-to-digital shift in scholarly work
  • how much they have or have not changed their professional habits in an increasingly electronic environment

Many of the findings will probably not be very surprising to academic librarians. Scholars are less likely to begin their research at the library (physically) or at a library catalog. They have a preference for access to electronic journals rather than print; however, they have been slow to adopt e-book readers. Scholars put more faith in traditional publishing avenues rather than in open-access journals.

The full report can be found here.

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