Assessing Learners' Reading Literacy through New Approaches: The Construction and Integration Model

Assessing Learners' Reading Literacy through New Approaches: The Construction and Integration Model

Stefania Nirchi (Languages of Media and Digital Competences, University of Cassino, Cassino, Italy)
Copyright: © 2014 |Pages: 17
DOI: 10.4018/ijdldc.2014040103


Reading comprehension is a process that has been the subject of studies for several years; there have been many attempts to make it a reference model, especially for teachers. Studies on the topic differ greatly depending on whether the approach is linguistic, social, or psychological. However, the common starting point of these studies is the procedural nature of comprehension and the active role played by the reader in the construction of meaning; a centrality that the reader also maintains in an era, the current, which is characterized by a nature deeply digital and in which the impact with the “text” is very strong and immediate and the dimension of participation assumes thickness in an immersion in network charge of charm. Therefore this paper represents the introduction to a thorough research that the author would develop to analyze the impact the digital reading has on the learning process of students. The survey referred, and of which it will be in the following essays to this, has as its object of study “Process and system evaluation and digital technologies.” In this paper, however, starting with a few mentions to the executive research plan we focus only on the relative in reading literacy. For this reason, this paper will examine some of the models present in the literature that are useful in providing valuable guidance to teachers on teaching /learning strategies that can promote learners' acquisition of specific reading skills. The purpose is to understand if, by changing the “medium” book, these strategies are valid and sufficient to produce learning in a context of digital reading.
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The Theoretical Context Of The Research: “Process And System Evaluation And Digital Technologies”

The theoretical context of the research: “Process and system evaluation and digital technologies” knowing how to use new technologies is not simply another opportunity, but it is a necessary element for living space of public life, to fully exercise a “digital citizenship”. Always societies and civilizations adopt and use the available “technologies of the word” (Ong, 1986) to integrate them in the learning experience, to promote growth in knowledge, in know-how and in being. The theories of diffusion teach us to identify the different stages in the adoption/rejection of technology, and to recognize that these stages are not guided only by intra-technological conditions, but cultural, social, economic and legal too.

The recent history of the adoption of digital technologies of information and communication in education - better known as e-Learning - and particularly in the university shows a great deal of creativity, and suggests a path of conscious and weighted integration. In this context, the upgrading of personal knowledge and “know how” becomes a decisive factor of competitiveness. This upgrade requires more or less explicitly, a reorganization of the teaching and its assessment and evaluation tools. There are many debates around the issue of Digital Competence in school and many national and/or international initiatives to promote the adaptation of education and training standards in a society more and more digital. Digital competences are complex, multidimensional and interrelated: require the basic capabilities (reading, numeracy, problem solving) and integrate cognitive, relational and social skills and abilities. One of the skills that the school should foster greater is also digital literacy: to be able to use with mastery and critical mind technologies as a functional tool in the learning process. If E-learning has introduced in the school a new way of learning and acquiring knowledge through the power of the net, the Web 2.0 has created a new student who does not only use a content found on the Internet, but he wants to create his own new ones, becoming the protagonist of his formation process. Students today are characterized by the ability to be multi-tasking: doing many things at the same time, to learn through many different incentives. Their “language” consists of Social Network messages, SMS messages, acronyms, mp3, iPod, video games made fewer and fewer of text, multiple images, animations, video, audio etc. There are many studies that have found a gap between the world of teacher and the world of student, two galaxies that are distancing themselves. Prensky (2001) underlines this matter in his brilliant paper titled “Digital Natives, Digital Immigrants”, indicating with “natives” those who speak the “language” of computers, video games and the Internet (a digital native does not read the instructions the camera before use) and “immigrants” who were not born and raised in the digital age but who have accepted in their cultural heritage at a later time (the digital immigrant needs the support of the instruction manual). The main problem seems to be that a population of immigrants teachers who speak a language outdated (the pre-digital era) is trying to teach another population that expresses itself with radically different languages. The emerging problem is mainly related to the perception by students of a true “digital dissonance” (Clark et al., 2009) which increases the gap between the education and learning institutions and the civil society.

Students follow what might be termed as a “hidden curriculum” (Jenkins et al., 2006) put into practice outside of the scholastic environment and fully absorbed from technologies. The school system continues to be perceived as obsolete and self-referential and substantially as “disconnected” from reality because there is the perception of a mismatch between formal and informal use of the Net.

However, even if digital natives are familiar with new technologies, it is necessary that the school encourages the development of competences required to use them in a virtuous way, to transform an exclusive technical skill in cognitive ability. Students know how to use search engines with common sense, but are they able to set up a research truly effective? Are they able to assess the sources? What big consumers and producers of media content (video firstly) are really able of producing digital materials marked on effective communication?

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