This post is written by a student in READ 4351 Learning through Literacy. Students in this course are part of the high school and all-level teacher preparation programs and are pursuing certification in a wide variety of subject areas.
It is no secret that our society is far more connected than ever before. Our ability to communicate has multiplied by leaps and bounds in recent years. Although paper literature is not entirely obsolete, the truth is that a substantial amount of reading is now being done electronically. Several social media outlets that come to mind are Twitter, Facebook, Google +, and Tumbler. Most of these can be accessed by mobile devices like a smartphone or tablet.
What is apparent is that literacy is evolving to include technology in a larger degree than ever before. This has obvious implications for the teaching profession. In his speech on electronic literacy given at the University of Georgia, David Reinkins said “Until recently, educators could safely confine reading and writing activities to printed materials. Increasingly, however, reading and writing can be done electronically with the aide of a computer. Computers are being used to create and revise texts, to send and receive mail electronically, to present instructional texts on a screen instead of in printed books, and to access large databases of texts. And electronic texts are becoming more prevalent as computers become an integral part of everyday experiences such as working, shopping, traveling, and studying. Clearly, educators must include electronic forms of reading and writing in their conception of literacy.”
I was recently informed that a local school district would be supplying every student and teacher with I-Pads for academic use. While the effectiveness of this program has yet to be seen, I believe it is indicative that the modern reader is far more tech savvy than ever and has access to much better tools. Therefore it is imperative that educators begin to integrate technology in the classroom.
Today’s secondary level students are part of a generational bridge between what literacy has looked like historically and what it will look like in the future. While literacy has been a necessity since the earliest days of human existence, it has since matured into a means by which we gather and share information as well s inspire, entertain and communicate. Yet literacy is changing in the way that it presents itself in the industrialized world. As a result, there are at the very least two things to consider.
First, How will we nurture literacy in all ages represented in our communities? As our fast paced lives drive eve faster, there will be less time and less incentive for people to stop and read in ways that we have been used to seeing. It may be that those whose literacy has been developed through childhood will continue to to be effective readers. One could say that competence breeds confidence. So nurturing literacy through childhood will be key. Second, Technology is a tool that we need to become more familiar with as well as comfortable. From websites o electronic road signs and even E-Readers, literacy has clearly gone high tech. Therefore the education community needs to consider how we will approach literacy in the age of high speed mobile electronics. The question that remains is, are we willing to utilize the technology available to us and are we tapping its potential?