Van Gogh

Van Gogh

Monday, September 20, 2004

Multiliteracies (definition & reflection)

This is something I found on literacies:

"In light of changing economic and social realities ( Castell, 1996, 1997a, 1997b; Reich,1991) academic textual literacy has become one of many literacies that Canadians need in order to function in a global economy. The multiliteracies that have become increasingly important in our technologically-evolving, globalized economy include information, communication and media technology, as well as culturally specific literacies required to function in a culturally diverse pluralistic society (New London Group, 1996). "


My own definition:
What I understand of being multiliterate is being able not only to read textual messages, but also be competent in interpreting symbols and images, and in using multimedia and other technological tools, such as the internet, all of which allow us construct meaning, learn and interact with others. Being multiliterate also embraces understanding multiculturalism and showing respect to diversity, which reflects in effective interaction.

A thought:
Although the concept of multiliteracies expands the vision of knowledge, it might perhaps as well increase the gap of those who have access to the different "literacy means" and those who don't. Our positions, yours, being able to read this post online, and mine, being able to write and publish it, is indeed different from many others' who are struggling to have an opportunity to learn to read and write in paper.


susan said...

I agree with you that multiliteracies are developing quickly but having computers in all homes still would not erase the digital divide. We have to look beyond the actual technology and look critically at the social, cultural and politcal contexts of the technology.

Norbella said...

Yes, Susan, you're right. I've reading lately again about multiliteracies and found out that it has to do not with not only with the effective and efficient use of technology, but also being its questioners and producers. Selber (2004)states that being multiliterate implies functional, critical and rhetoric literacy, and employs the metaphors of the computer as a "tool", as "cultural artifact", and as "hypertextual media" to refer to these literacies. We are functionally literate, he says, when we understand the basic operations of the computer so well, that we don't worry about its functioning and focus on the task that we want to perform with it. He cites Turkle: "Tools are extensions f thier users (while) machines impose their own rythm, their rules on the poeple who work with them...". For Selber, a functionally literate student is one that can use computers effectively, uses terminology the right terminology to talk abot computers, manages his online information effectively, solves technological problems, and understand the social conventions of the computers. but being multiliteraete is not only that; it's also being able to, just like Susan said, "look beyond the actual technology and look critically at the social, cultural and politcal contexts of the technology". Computers are the result of the man's elaboration, and as such, they bring non-neutral dimension that we should look at. And finally, being multiliterate is also being rethorically literate, and this implies the integration of functional and critical literacty in the design and evaluation of computer interfaces.

cathyinoz said...

I think multiliterate also has to do with being aware of cultural diversity, community diversity and being able to deal with these differences too.