Mobile Technologies and Web 2.0: Redefining New Literacy Practices

Mobile Technologies and Web 2.0: Redefining New Literacy Practices

Peggy Semingson
DOI: 10.4018/978-1-4666-2985-1.ch016
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This chapter explores changing definitions of literacy that build on the key concepts of New Literacies and existing Web 2.0 practices such as blogging, social networking, and other shared and collaborative media spaces (Davies & Merchant, 2009). The chapter also describes concrete examples of mobile-based literacy ideas that build on such a framework. The focus on teacher education, and literacy education in particular, examines and considers new definitions of literacy practices with connections to mobile technologies. Although mobile technologies offer possibilities for multi-modal and collaborative literacy practices, it is suggested that we should also stay grounded in some of the principles of print literacies (the prerequisite skills of the reading and writing processes), while also fostering Web 2.0 and New Literacies (as defined and discussed by Lankshear & Knobel, 2003, 2006). Specific examples of Web 2.0 technologies that can be implemented with mobile tools are shared and discussed.
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New Literacies: Redefining Literacy And New Literacies

Historically, the subject of reading and literacy instruction itself (e.g., Chall, 1967; Snyder, 2008) has been subject to intense and polarized debate over the years as to definitions, purposes, and teaching methods. These debates surrounding literacy instruction continue with changing definitions and shifts from more traditional notions of literacy instruction towards broader definitions of literacy known as multiple literacies (e.g., Cole & Pullen, 2010) or New Literacies (Dalton & Proctor, 2008; Lankshear & Knobel, 2003, 2006). Prior to the introduction of new literacies, the ongoing debate within literacy studies has traditionally centered on the phonics versus whole language debate and how to determine the best methods to teach beginning reading (Chall, 1967; Snow & Juel, 2005). However, the newest version of the debate still continues with a different focus than just on the specific building blocks or sub-processes of reading. Educators and teacher educators need to be grounded in the varying definitions and purposes of both print and digital literacies (e.g., as described by Snow, 2006).

The term New Literacies encompasses a much broader definition of literacy than alphabetic text on the printed page; New Literacies can be conceptualized as “post-typographic” literacies (Lankshear & Knobel, 2003, p. 17). Lankshear and Knobel state:

Established social practices have been transformed, and new forms of social practice have emerged and continue to emerge at a rapid rate. Many of these new and changing social practices involve new and changing ways of producing, distributing, exchanging and receiving texts by electronic means (2003, p. 16).

These concepts of New Literacy practices, such as the use of emerging digital tools, have also been integrated within national learning standards, which contain a specific focus on incorporating digital tools into the literacy curriculum in particular.

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