Clay Shirky Discusses the Emergence of New Literacies

Clay Shirky responds to Nicholas Carr’s assertion that “the Internet is making us dumber” with his essay, “Does the Internet Make You Smarter” in the Wall Street Journal. Shirky thoughtfully makes the case that we are living in a transitory period in which new forms of reading and writing are emerging as well as evolving meanings of “literacy.”

Every increase in freedom to create or consume media, from paperback books to YouTube, alarms people accustomed to the restrictions of the old system, convincing them that the new media will make young people stupid. This fear dates back to at least the invention of movable type.

This essay can help educators and librarians better conceptualize the scale of change and provides insights into the paradigm shift we are experiencing in how we define literacy.

Clive Thompson on the Language of Data

How can libraries support statistical and data literacy?  What is your library doing to foster this form of literacy? Read Clive Thompson’s thought provoking post at Wired.

Share

You’re Never Too Old for Transliteracy: Virginia and Her iPad

CNET puts the spotlight on how the iPad is more than just “shiny” with this story of Virginia Campbell, a 99 year old woman in Lake Oswego, Oregon, who is using her iPad to once again enjoy reading and share her poetry.    Ms. Campbell, who suffers glaucoma that impacts her vision, is once again able to interact with the written word and to compose her own verses.

While this story does not involve a library, it speaks to the possibilities of how circulating devices like an iPad can transform the lives and literacy practices of our elderly patrons, particularly those who cannot afford these devices. What if libraries even offered “home delivery” to patrons who are shut in and may not physically be able to come to the library to check out an iPad?

You can read more about Virginia’s story here and see the video below:

Breaking Down Barriers in Communication

CC image used courtesy of BookMama

When sharing or communicating information most of us take for granted how easy it is to see the content, hear the audio, or tell another person what we have learned. Most of us never give a second thought to how this simple act might affect people with disabilities trying to disseminate information or share content. Thankfully with advances in technology these limitations no longer pose the hurdles and roadblocks they once did.

Libraries have always been early adapters for this portion of the community to provide access for people with different abilities through assistive technology and staff interaction. The very basic and beginning services such as having a staff member who can communicate through ASL, Braille collections, Braille transcription services, special playback equipment for use with recorded cassettes, books and magazines on recorded cassettes, Audiobooks, descriptive videos (DVS) Large Print materials, Mail-A-Book programs, and request lists for library customers that are accepted by mail, phone, fax, and e-mail. for the homebound are great examples of this.

Technology has started to add to these existing services in ways that we could have only dreamed of 20 or even 2 years ago. Now we have screen readers like JAWS (Job Access With Speech) and the speech function on Gale (listen to an example). Efforts are being taken to create more services like Access Keys for the Omeka archives, creating screencasts, adding closed captioning to videos on Youtube and Vimeo, the use of image services like Flickr and Picasa, and even more innovative devices like the EyeWriter initiative.

Take the time to learn the resources that your library offers this portion of the community and expand upon them. Remember that is our duty to connect people with information and help them convey what they have learned no matter the medium.

Henry Jenkins: Fandom, Literacy, and Scholarship

Reading, writing, and understanding words on a page won’t cut it anymore. In a digitized world, Henry says young people need new skills that go way beyond basic composition and comprehension. Skills like play (“the capacity to experiment with one’s surroundings as a form of problem-solving”), collective intelligence (“the ability to pool knowledge and compare notes with others toward a common goal”), and transmedia navigation (“the ability to follow the flow of stories and information across multiple modalities”).
~Henry Jenkins~

Read this April 16 article at Boing Boing in which Henry Jenkins discusses the relationship between fandom and literacy:

Follow

Get every new post delivered to your Inbox.

Join 258 other followers

%d bloggers like this: