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Wednesday, October 13, 2010

21st Century Literacies

Over two years ago the National Council of Teachers of English issued this list of 21st Century Literacies:
Twenty-first century readers and writers need to

•Develop proficiency with the tools of technology
•Build relationships with others to pose and solve problems collaboratively and cross-culturally
•Design and share information for global communities to meet a variety of purposes
•Manage, analyze and synthesize multiple streams of simultaneous information
•Create, critique, analyze, and evaluate multi-media texts
•Attend to the ethical responsibilities required by these complex environments
You can find an explanation of these literacies on the National Council of Teachers of English blog post The Definition of 21st Century Literacies.
Take a good look at these literacies. Especially if you intend to teach English or if you desire your children to be literate. And answer these questions:

Are you prepared to assist your students in becoming literate as specified by the National Council of Teachers of English ?
Are your children who are now in school (or soon will be) attending schools where these literacies are being taught and developed?
Are the teachers in the schools your children (or grandchildren) attend literate as defined by the National Council of Teachers of English ?
What are you prepared to do about it?

Take a look at Will Richardson's article in the Huffington Post yesterday: My Kids are Illiterate. Most Likely Yours Are Too.

Think hard about these questions Mr. Richardson raises:
So here are some questions that keep me up at night: How are we to make our students literate if we ourselves are not? If we cling to age old definitions and ignore the wisdom of one of the oldest professional education organizations we have in this country, how do we provide my kids with the experiences they need to fully understand what it means to be a self-directed, participatory learner in this century? How do we make sure that every child and every teacher has access to these tools and connections? And what do we do when the reform conversations are being led by a majority of folks who have no context for the changes that are happening every day in these connected spaces, folks that by NCTE's definition, may have some literacy issues themselves?
So now I have a question for you, EDM310 students and aspiring teachers: What are YOU going to do?


  1. [Step 1] Well, I guess what I can do is become literate myself. [Step 2] After that, I can strive to become literate of the new technologies and work in an environment that uses these tools. [Step 3] Teach in a manner that I can utilize the resources and teach my students to be literate. If all else fails, call Dr. Strange. He always has good ideas!

  2. What really stuck out to me from Will's post is the need for relationship building. NCTE recognizes that creating a community happens when sharing takes place and that the community is no longer governed by where a student lives.

    There are many teachers that are reaching out to get their students involved in global communities. Something as simple as commenting on other student blogs help to create them (even if the conversations are time-shifted and usually is only one exchange.)

    What needs to happen (in my opinion) is that teachers need to have time to let the students develop these relationships. State departments of education need to wake up and see that pushing too many objectives and too much content is detrimental to real learning.

  3. Understanding and implementing technology should be a goal for everyone in the educational field. It is something we all should strive for and realize it is a lifelong learning process that does not end. Many educators give up, some do not and really help the students excel. We need to set standards on technology usage in the classroom. Rules on what educators must teach the students to do using technology tools. And it should not just apply to some educators or to some schools, but to all. My goal is to learn all that I can, stay updated, surround myself with other like minded educators, provide my students with knowledge to use and explore new educational/technological tools. If we are educators it should be for the right reasons such as giving our students the best education possible. Educators MUST be lifelong learners and willing to do what it takes.

  4. Dr. Strange, the six criteria of the NCTE is pretty demanding in addition to the "objectives" (CRTs)that have to be met by either County and/or State. Right now,my volunteer classroom has 4 PCs with internet capabilities and a Smart Board. I felt that it was very fortunate to have these resources already. The only problem is access;social networking sites such as Blogger and audio-visual sites such as YouTube and Screenr are not allowed access on the school internet. I believe that our education system today fails to fully utilize technology already in the classroom. So how do we make the system understand that education is a global initiative? It is my hope that we find ways to learn from one another, to pool our resources together, so that we may live responsibly.