Wednesday, June 22, 2011

All's a Buzz Over Transliteracy...

Transliteracy has been evolving for thousands of years. It just did not have a name until about 2005. So, now that educators are trying to figure out why students habits have changed, they are all scrambling to diagnose the problem, find a cure, prescribe some medicine and go back to the original form. It won't happen. 

 I like to think of transliteracy as the ecosystem of literacy.  Someone said transliteracy was the ecosystem of information literacy, but I think literacy alone is more accurate.  When you grasp that analogy, you almost have it. 

Just as the Gutenberg press changed the direction of literacy, the evolution of technology and mobile devices has also redefined reading, communication, and knowledge content and collaboration. The literacy umbrella now embraces communication the melds ancient modes and digital codes into a recipe for millennial success. (Read  to fully understand the evolution of reading and sociological change -- this is an article which summarizes the book)

Educators should embrace this change, need to embrace this change, and must embrace this change for optimal success. Our world has changed--if you deny that, you remain in the past and will be out-done by your younger colleagues. (However, the younger colleagues could learn a thing or two about manners, humility, and ethics from the more mature....)

How do we embrace transliteracy and yet keep rigor in our curriculum? The CCSS does a good job of defining the collaborative nature of pedagogy. Students need to:
* be driven by a research question

* solve real-world problems, aligned with curriculum content

* embed technological working platforms

* be given ample opportunity to express (and write) in varying formats including media, original content, debate, authentic writing experiences, and more. Attend a good INQUIRY based learning professional development session and you will walk away with another recipe for success. 
Caveat: Just because one becomes digitally literate, does not mean that person is transliterate. I believe the person who is digitally literate (or mobile literate) still needs to understand. No longer is "reading" enough. We must be able to find meaning and react to the information -- to complete the cycle. Literacy now includes understanding, just as reading scores included comprehension.  It is not enough to be digitally literate. Therefore, thinking critically is now part of the equation.I will be presenting at NYLA this November in Saratoga Springs on this topic. Perhaps you will attend and get a few concrete tips for instructional application.

Here is my favorite Transliteracy quotes:
Transliteracy is a mix of: “inherited conventions and recent inventions, expectations and improvisations.” Alan Liu, thank you.


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