Thursday, September 15, 2011

New Literacies vs. Digital Scholarship

I've read a few authors recently who seem to be arguing that the new literacies that children (are assumed to) have are to be embraced and encouraged. Teachers everywhere must adapt their practice so as to avoid alienating these young people and value their huge new skill-sets. This is familiar enough line to take but to me it must impact on time and attention given to traditional foundational literacies and does not account for the harsh realities of the digital literacies that students need to run with on entering Higher Education. I think there is a difference: social networking and mash-ups contribute to a growing trade in memes and pop-culturally informed media on the internet, but what role do they play in building useful theory (including within one's own brain), what role can they really play in the individual gaining expertise in participating in the ‘unpopular culture’ that also subsists on the Internet (i.e. the world of research, digital scholarship, knowledge work)? In particular, how do 'new literacies' contribute to learning to be a good nurse/midwife?
There is a significant missmatch between being able to type in a few words into a generic search engine and performing a literature review. A significant amount of unlearning old 'new literacy' ways needs to happen before students can really progress and gain a good grounding in their subject. Perhaps this accounts for why students were confident that they were 'effective online researchers' while they still request training in 'how to effectively research and reference reliable online resources' (NUS 2010 report for HEFCE cited in JISC infoNet Digital Literacies page).

1 comment:

Mike Johnson said...

Just found LLiDA
Learning Literacies for a Digital Age wiki
which seems to be quite helpful on this...