New Literacies – Web 2.0 and Beyond

Leu, D. J., & Forzani, E. (2012). New literacies in a Web 2.0, 3.0, 4.0, …∞ world. Research in the Schools, 19(1), 75-81.

The authors presented a multifaceted description of many new literacies and issues that have evolved due to the rapid emergence of the Internet and its applications in education. Leu & Forzani showcase a wide variety of articles to articulate the changing landscape and provide their analysis to tell the new literacy story. The articles selected revolved around adolescents and social media, the home and school involvement of young children in digital spaces, the usage of tools and literacies in an ELA classroom, the 21st Century literacies in Teacher Education, reading multimodal texts, and much more.

This review of articles can either be viewed as fascinating and enriching or overwhelming and not achievable to an educator. However, when these articles are placed in context, it becomes quite obvious that these new literacies are only the tip of the iceberg. The authors illustrated in their review that literacy can mean many things to many people, but that these new literacies have the potential to make the teaching and learning environment very rich and robust.

As I personally read this article, I appreciated the concept of the “turn-around” pedagogy as a strategy for reconnecting youth with the academic literacies of school and plan on talking to some of the middle school teachers in our district about this approach. Another concept in this article that caught my eye, is the important need to document literacy acquisition of our youngest learners as they experience digital media and traditional forms of literacy simultaneously. Our district currently runs a “best fit” program for all Kindergarteners as well as offering a personalized digital platform to work on reading and math literacies. Spending some time looking at the data we are receiving and perhaps talking to both the teachers and students can broaden my understanding of how students acquire skills in this digital age. Finally, one other concept that continues to be a topic of discussion in our district and also appeared in this article revolved around teachers as designers. For teachers to continue to grow in this area, they will need a framework to help categorize and conceptualize new online literacies. At the present time, TPACK could serve this purpose. Overall, the Internet plays a powerful role in the teaching and learning process and requires educators to embrace what it has to offer today, tomorrow and in the future.