Sunday, November 1, 2015

Why is Teaching New Literacies Important

The NAEP results came out this week. They did no show much improvement in closing the gaps. In fact, there is now growing public discussion about the ways high stakes assessments may be preventing us from minding the gap by focusing all of our attention on the artifacts of assessments that are increasingly drifting away from real world application.

As part of the discussion Don Leu the director of the New Literacies Research Lab reminded us that the gap is much bigger for new literacies (as measured by the ORCA). The impact of such gap- the new digital divide is the key reason to use technology and teach students to use it effectively. What Leu's research shows is that some students get a lot of support for these kinds of activities at home and some schools. At the same time, other students from lower SES and minority status are getting much less opportunity to develop skills such as searching effectively, sorting and synthesizing.

As a result, teaching students about technology and literacy in digital environments should be part of the core skills that all students learn. Technology is not just a tool to achieve learning in other domain. Instead, if we truly want a more level playing field all students must learn to use web-based tools for learning.

This is a moral imperative!

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