Monday, January 25, 2010

What is Literacy?

When I think of literacy I think back to when I was in elementary school language arts, in my mind, it consisted of reading and writing. As I think about it today that would be a very broad definition because they’re many aspects of reading and writing that our taught. To get a better insight of the definition of literacy I googled it and this is what I found:

“…literacy is the ability to make and communicate meaning from and by the use of a variety of socially contextual symbols. Within various levels of developmental ability, a literate person can derive and convey meaning, and use their knowledge to achieve a desired purpose or goal that requires the use of language skills, be they spoken or written.”

“Literacy is the ability to use printed and written information to function in society, to achieve one's goals, and to develop one's knowledge and potential.”

"Literacy not only involves competency in reading and writing, but goes beyond this to include the critical and effective use of these in peoples' lives, and the use of language (oral and written) for all purposes." 

After reading through many different websites online I see how difficult it is to find one definition that includes all aspects of literacy. In the broad sense, the definition of literacy as reading and writing makes sense. But if you think about it a person may be able to read and write but have no idea how to use it in everyday life. So the definition above that includes the idea of using reading and writing in everyday life makes complete sense. You have to be able to read and write to function in this society. But you also have to know how to use reading and writing correctly to function in society as well. I don’t think that there will ever be a concrete definition of literacy because I feel that is it always changing based on the new advances in society.

After I think about it for awhile though I realize that I just read and found all of the information about literacy online and yet none of the definitions that I found included technology. Computers are everywhere know and that is where most teenagers and college students spent their time so I now think that technology should be added into the definition. Are you technology literate, which I believe ties into the quiz that we were to take. After taking the quiz I feel that I am between a native and an immigrant. I know half of the definitions. But it’s also sad that if I had taken this at the beginning of last semester I would totally say that I was an immigrant. If it weren’t for Erik I would have not known what any of that was except AIM. I believe that right now I am emerging from digital literacy. I learned a tremendous amount last semester in 401 and I am continuing to learn more this semester as well. Tompkins explains that children come to school with background knowledge and this knowledge came from exposures that their parents had given to them. My emergent of digital literacy is coming from teachers using and show different technologies in the classrooms. As wikis and blogs become the norm in society all citizens learn how to use them from exposure. Same goes for children as children are exposed to new material they learn it!

My ideal literacy-learning environment would have lots of books that were about topics that I was interested in! There would be lots of comfy pillows and blankets around so that I could relax and focus on reading. And I have to have it completely quite to focus and comprehend what I am reading and writing!


1 comment:

  1. I like your vision of an ideal literacy environment! My CT has a great area designated for has the most comfortable couch I have ever sat in! haha, It also has bean-bags, a blow-up chair, pillows and a soft rug. Every time I am in class, the students make a run for the couch when reading time comes! I can't wait to set up an area such as this in my classroom. I also want to comment on your point about how you found all the definitions on literacy online and not one incorporated technological literacy...ironic huh? I wonder what the person was thinking when they submitted their thoughts to a website. Wouldn't you think, "hey, shouldn't this aspect of reading and writing be included in my literacy definition?" Lol, I just found it ironic, and wanted to share :) nice post.