We are in the midst of one of the most dramatic technological revolutions in history, which is changing everything from the ways that we work, to the ways that we communicate with each other, to how we spend our leisure time. The technological revolution centers on information technology, is often interpreted as the beginnings of a knowledge society, and therefore ascribes to education a central role in every aspect of life. This Great Transformation poses tremendous challenges to educators to rethink their basic tenets, to deploy the new technologies in creative and productive ways, and to restructure schooling to respond productively and progressively to the technological and social changes that we are now experiencing.
Consequently, transformations in pedagogy must be as radical as the technological transformations that are taking place. Critical pedagogy must thus rethink the concepts of literacy and the very nature of education in a high-tech and rapidly evolving society. For at the same time that we are undergoing a technological revolution, important demographic and sociopolitical changes are occurring in the United States and throughout the world. Emigration patterns have brought an explosion of new peoples into the U.S. in recent decades, and the country is now more racially and ethnically diverse, more multicultural, than ever before. This creates the challenge of providing people from diverse races, classes, and backgrounds with the tools to enable them to succeed and participate in an ever more complex and changing world.
In this chapter, I argue that we need multiple literacies for our multicultural society, that we need to develop new literacies to meet the challenge of the new technologies, and that literacies of diverse sorts-including an even more fundamental importance for print literacy-are of crucial importance in restructuring education