Literacy in a Digital World: Teaching and Learning in the Age of Information

Literacy in a Digital World: Teaching and Learning in the Age of Information

Literacy in a Digital World: Teaching and Learning in the Age of Information

Literacy in a Digital World: Teaching and Learning in the Age of Information


In this book, Kathleen Tyner examines the tenets of literacy through a historical lens to demonstrate how new communication technologies are resisted and accepted over time. New uses of information for teaching and learning create a "disconnect" in the complex relationship between literacy and schooling, and raise questions about the purposes of literacy in a global, networked, educational environment. The way that new communication technologies change the nature of literacy in contemporary society is discussed as a rationale for corresponding changes in schooling.

Digital technologies push beyond alphabetic literacy to explore the way that sound, image, and text can be incorporated into education. Attempts to redefine literacy terms--computer, information, technology, visual, and media literacies--proliferate and reflect the need to rethink entrenched assumptions about literacy. These multiple literacies are advanced to help users make sense of the information glut by fostering the ability to access, analyze, and produce communication in a variety of forms.

Tyner explores the juncture between two broad movements that hope to improve education: educational technology and media education. A comparative analysis of these two movements develops a vision of teaching and learning that is critical, hands on, inquiry-based, and suitable for life in a mobile, global, participatory democracy.


The fact is: I have a hard time describing the work I do to my own mother. I am an itinerant teacher, reluctant writer, and sometimes media producer. Since the late 1980s, I have migrated around the world to team up with collaborating teachers, usually local media artists, K-12 teachers, or community-based education groups, to teach and learn about the way that new technologies are changing education. This kind of collaboration is rewarding in a number of ways and provided the basis for much of the content in Literacy in a Digital World: Teaching and Learning in the Age of Information. The team-teaching approach integrates media analysis, media production, and pedagogy and it works for me for a number of reasons: It combines and expands the collective expertise of a team of teachers; it provides an opportunity for collegial reflection and critique on the teaching and learning experience; it prevents burnout and exhaustion because we can switch roles from time to time; and finally, students enjoy a change of instruction and a change of personality, especially if the instruction is intensive.

My longest and most creative collaboration was with media educator Deborah Leveranz, a native of the state of Texas. Deborah has a long history of teaching arts and media to kids in a variety of formal and informal settings, including public schools, public television, cable access trainings, juvenile justice settings, after-school programs, and universities. In 1990, we developed a week-long Media Literacy Institute for teachers by combining our experiences with media production and cognitive work. Either as a team, or separately, we have tested the boundaries of media education by conducting Institutes in California, Canada, Kentucky, states across the Midwest . . .

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