Wednesday, February 3, 2010

Assessing New Literacies

Burke and Hammett in their “Introduction: Rethinking Assessment from the Perspective of New Literacies” (p. 8) state: "We must develop new forms of assessment and in the process shift our whole conception of assessment and ensure it is based on conceptual understanding of new literacies and not print-centric understanding."  
I’ve kept coming back to these lines.  Pondering and wondering and hoping the text continues and expands advocating enfolding the best of print-centric literacy, Mindset 1, into the understanding of teaching and assessing with what they frame as Mindset 2 the “cyberspatial-postindustrial” perspective.   (Spell check, which must be Mindset 1 tool, doesn’t approve of 'literacies' let alone 'cyberspatial'!)

This is stuff to chew on for a while.  Literacy is so all encompassing and the lists of ‘elements’ from Eve Bearne  in "Assessing Multimodal Texts" overwhelmed as she listed: “computer internet, PowerPoint, paper-based texts, picture books, magazines, novels, information books, sound and visual media, radio, television, videos, DVD’s, stories, drama, presentations, screen and non screen, gesture, movement, image, moving, still, diagrammatic or representational, sound, spoken words, sound effects, music, writing, and print including elements of font, type, size and shape.”  Enough to make a person with the title ‘Literacy Coordinator’ feel a bit like Alice shrinking as she goes down the rabbit hole of 2.0.

Then I found Dr. Jason Ohler and “New Media and New Literacies,”  Perhaps it is his more laid back voice, underlying humor, or the clarity of bridging Mindset 1 and Mindset 2 but his writing helps me see the possibilities of merging the “youth communication” with standards based instruction and “college work ready” cultural expectations.
Highlights from the position paper “New Media and New Literacies".
Favorite word: “tEcosyst
The ecosystem created by humans consisting of digital technology, connectivity and the communication they facilitate.” ( Isn't that Fun?)
Favorite Ideas:
A lack of assessment strategy leads to an “A for Anything”.
New media literacy involves traditional literacy. Assessment includes: considerations of clear communication, media grammar, alignment of academic goals, and audience needs with media development.  Additionally it will blend four primary literacies: Digital, Art, Oral  and Writing.

Perhaps this is the blend of Mindset 1 and 2 I was struggling with?  Perhaps creating a Mindset 3?

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