I just finished up my Foundations of Literacy course. I loved it! I feel I learned so much about literacy that will be helpful when I teach. One of the topics we talked about toward the end of the semester was new literacies. I didn’t know at first what these “new literacies” really were and what was included in that title. I learned that new literacies are the technological forms of literacy that are becoming more and more a part of our society. These technologies include iPads, phones, email, the Internet, and many more technologies that expand the definition of literacy.
I learned these new literacies are often debated as to their importance or place in the classroom. Many believe new literacies are nice for “fun” activities that help keep their students interested, but I believe the place and importance of new literacies go far beyond that.
In my mind, it is the teacher’s responsibility to prepare students for society both intellectually and socially. When I think about society now, I can’t think about it without new technologies being included. Can you imagine watching a movie made in 2012 and set in the present that does not include any smartphones (or even cell phones), computers, GPS devices, or any kind of new technology? The movie would seem so outdated because it did not include any new technologies.
Do we want our classrooms to be outdated? I do not. I believe new literacies are a critical part of the classroom because they can help students learn through the visual and kinesthetic modes of learning which helps students to learn because they are participating more in the learning experience. Another reason new literacies are critical in the classroom is because they accurately prepare students for what society is actually like. Children know the world they are living in and recognize when their classroom environment isn’t reflective of “real life.”
As a teacher, I want to make connections in teaching and in literacy to my students’ world. I feel new literacies are a critical component in fostering children’s connections between what they are learning and what is in the world around them.