How much do traditional literacy skills count?


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Emerging research is telling us that the literacy skills required to successfully navigate and make meaning from text, images and multimedia on screen are different from the traditional literacy skills of reading, writing, viewing and listening.

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How much do traditional literacy skills count?

  1. 1. How much do traditional literacy skills count? Literacy in the 21st century & reading from the screen Barbara Combes WASLA President WA Operations Vice President Advocacy & Promotion IASL Lecturer, School of Computer and Security Science, ECU PhD Candidate, Curtin University of Technology, Perth Western Australia Diversity Challenge Resilience: School Libraries in Action - The 12th Biennial School Library Association of Queensland, the 39th International Association of School Librarianship Annual Conference, incorporating the 14th International Forum on Research in School Librarianship, Brisbane, QLD Australia, 27 September – 1 October 2010.
  2. 2. Information in the 21st century Public Domain Web An information landscape characterised by: – Technological change (new formats, delivery modes) – Differentiation (layered landscape) – Overload – Complexity – Density The Internet – Decontextualisation – Access 24/7 – AI enhanced & user friendly – Faster, smaller, convergent – > Storage, cloud computing – Easy manipulation – Multimedia The Deep Web
  3. 3. Information in the 21st century Technologies: – Mobile phones, PDAs, iPods, Blackberries, iPhones, – Kindles, iPads, Bebooks – Digital cameras, video cameras – Flash drives, mobile memory, USB sticks – Laptops, tablets, notebooks, notepads – Thin client technology – Wireless, bluetooth – Multi-user Web conferencing, Elluminate, online classroom – LMS, BlackBoard/WebCT, Moodle, … – 3D, stereophonic, haptic sensory devices, …
  4. 4. Information in the 21st century Web 2.0 Utilities • Interactive • Social • Public domain • One-to-many • RSS Feeds • Twitter • Nings • Wikis • Blogs • Voicethread • Weebly …
  5. 5. Information in the 21st century Utilities: – Web 3.0 – Internet2, Internet3? – Facial recognition – Aggregator software (123people) – Virtual worlds – Multimedia, simulations – eBooks, vooks, digidocs
  6. 6. Students in the 21st century Assumptions: – Digital natives vs digital refugees – Computer literate? – ICT literate? – Internet/network literate? – Information literate?
  7. 7. Literacy in the 21st century • Traditional literacy • Computer literacy • ICT literacy • Internet/network literacy • Screen literacy • Multimedia literacy • Visual literacy/discrimination • Information management • Information inquiry literacy • Transformational literacies? Transliteracy? • Higher order thinking - analytic and synthesis (making meaning)
  8. 8. Literacy - definition (Traditional) Literacy is: "... the integration of listening, speaking, reading, writing and critical thinking. It includes a cultural knowledge which enables a speaker, writer or reader to recognise and use language appropriate to different social situations. For an advanced technological society such as Australia, the goal is an active literacy which allows people to use language to enhance their capacity to think, create and question, in order to participate effectively in society." The National Secretariat for the International Year of Literacy, 1990.
  9. 9. Literacy - definition (Traditional) Literacy is: ... the making of meaning and its clear communication to others. Truly literate people not only read and write, but regularly do so in order to sort out their ideas and put them in words, to fit them together and test hypotheses - ie. to make sense and meaning out of our world. Truly literate people acknowledge that they need to write things down, to talk them out, to read widely, to listen critically and to respond articulately. Truly literate people are thinkers and learners." Brown & Mathie, 1990
  10. 10. Literacy - definition (Traditional) Literacy is: "... the foundation of effective citizenship, human communication and social integration in a literate society. Therefore it is important to foster the lifetime habit of purposeful and critical reading for information, education and recreation. Literacy is the foundation of learning in all areas of the curriculum." Holdaway, 1979
  11. 11. Literacy - definition (Traditional) Literacy is: – Understanding (comprehension/making meaning) – Critical (constructing/making meaning) • reading • thinking • learning • Literacy is more than the mechanics of reading. • In developing countries, a major issue is the maintenance of literacy skills. • All children/adults need to continue to read widely to consolidate, maintain and expand their literacy skills.
  12. 12. Literacy - definition (Traditional) Literacy is: • Reading • Writing • Viewing • Listening • Speaking • Understanding • The online environment is increasingly a visual environment • Interpretation of visuals is the most subjective
  13. 13. Visual Literacy - A title?
  14. 14. Visual Literacy A title?
  15. 15. Visual Literacy - A title?
  16. 16. Visual Literacy - A title?
  17. 17. Learning to read … There are two parts to an elementary classroom instructional reading program - the learning-to-read phase and the reading-to-learn phase. The instructional program develops readers who learn to read independently for pleasure and learning which, in turn, is supported by both instruction and the collection in the school library. A literate society is built of citizens who read for pleasure and knowledge, in contrast to "aliterates" - those who can read and choose not to read. (Webb, 2007)
  18. 18. The learning to read phase Occurs between ages of 3 – 8 years Characteristics: – Pre-operational stage of cognitive development – Learning is defined by direct interaction with the local environment – Young children learn to use language and to represent objects by images and words (spoken/oral) – Thinking is largely egocentric – Young children perceive their world by relating it to what is real They are concrete learners. (Bhattacharya & Han 2001; Huitt & Hummel, 2003; Atherton, 2009)
  19. 19. The learning to read phase • When learning to read and create the cognitive connections that are necessary to associate meaning with symbolic language, young children still need a concrete experience. • Learning to read is an holistic experience and includes: – oral repetition – images to connect a concept with a real/concrete object – a physical object (picture book) to provide an anchor for the reader who still requires something physical in order to create their reading circuit.
  20. 20. The learning to read phase Books provide: • A physical/concrete object for children to relate to when learning to read. • A physical representation of whole: – Parts of the whole – Beginning middle & end – Sequencing • A physical context to assist children to become conceptual learners
  21. 21. The learning to read phase We humans were never born to read. We learn to do so by an extraordinarily ingenuous ability to rearrange our “original parts” Each young reader has to fashion an entirely new “reading circuit” afresh every time. There is no one neat circuit just waiting to unfold. This means that the circuit can become more or less developed depending on the particulars of the learner: e.g., instruction, culture, motivation, educational opportunity. (Wolf, 2009)
  22. 22. What does the research say? • 46 % of Australians don't have the literacy and numeracy skills required to participate effectively in modern society. • Our perceptions of our skills can be at odds with the reality. • People facing literacy difficulties compensate in other ways. • We reward having higher literacy. Not explicitly, but it's inherent in the system. (Bailey, 2010)
  23. 23. What does the research say? • Literacy and numeracy problems can be directly linked to healthcare issues, workplace safety, equity and access to work. • Poor literacy exerts a serious negative drag on the overall GDP per capita of a country. • The correlation between poverty and literacy is irrefutable. (PISA, OECD; Bailey, 2010)
  24. 24. What does the research say? • People read more slowly on screen, by as much as 20- 30 percent. • Reading on screen requires slightly more effort and thus is more tiring. • Workers switched tasks about every three minutes and took over 23 minutes on average to return to a task. • Distractions abound online & task switching — costs time and interfering with the concentration needed to think about what you read. (Mark, Aamodt, 2009)
  25. 25. What does the research say? • Reading from the screen is different. Current forms of digital media behave nothing like ‘books’ or ‘libraries,’ and cause users to swing between two kinds of bad reading. • Networked digital media does a poor job of balancing focal and peripheral attention. We swing between two kinds of bad reading. We suffer tunnel vision, as when reading a single page, paragraph, or even “keyword in context” without an organized sense of the whole. Or we suffer marginal distraction. • Online technologies that actually behave nothing like a book, edition or library. • Online literacy or screen literacy requires a new skills set to match a new paradigm. (Liu, 2009)
  26. 26. What does the research say? • The brain learns to access and integrate within 300 milliseconds a vast array of visual, semantic, sound (or phonological), and conceptual processes, which allows us to decode and begin to comprehend a word. • 100 – 200 extra milliseconds to connect the decoded words to inference, analogical reasoning, critical reasoning, contextual knowledge. • The apex of reading – when the reader’s own thoughts go beyond the text. (Wolf, 2009)
  27. 27. What does the research say? Concern: “The young brain will never the time (in milliseconds or in hours or in years) to learn to go deeper into the text after the first decoding, but rather will be pulled by the medium to ever more distracting information, sidebars and [multimedia]”. “Digital reading may ultimately prove antithetical to the long-in development, reflective nature of the expert reading brain as we know it.” (Wolf, 2009)
  28. 28. What does the research say? “The physical side of reading depends not on the bad aspects of computer screens but on the brilliance of the traditional book — sheets bound on end, the “codex” — which remains the most brilliant design of the last several thousand years. Technologists have (as usual) decreed its disappearance without bothering to understand it. They make the same mistake clever planners have made for half a century in forecasting the death of cars and their replacement by spiffier technology. The problem is, people like cars.” (Gelernter, 2009)
  29. 29. What does the research say? Reading online is thus not just about reading text in isolation. When you read news, or blogs or fiction, you are reading one document in a networked maze of an unfathomable amount of information. Research shows that people are continually distracted when working with digital information. They switch simple activities an average of every three minutes (e.g. reading email or IM) and switch projects about every 10 and a half minutes. It’s just not possible to engage in deep thought about a topic when we’re switching so rapidly. The extent to which young people can deeply engage with the online material is a question for further research. (Mark, 2009)
  30. 30. What does the research say? Digitized classrooms don’t come through for an off-campus reason, a factor largely overlooked by educators. When they add laptops to classes and equip kids with on-campus digital tools, they add something else, too: the reading habits kids have developed after thousands of hours with those same tools in leisure time. Educators envision a whole new pedagogy with the tools, but students see only the chance to extend long-established postures toward the screen. We must recognize that screen scanning is but one kind of reading, a lesser one, and that it conspires against certain intellectual habits requisite to liberal-arts learning. Screen reading is a mind-set, and we should accept its variance from academic thinking. (Bauerline , 2009)
  31. 31. What does the research say? Screen literacy skills are closely related to good traditional literacy skills. Students need to be literate before they can ‘read’ information on the screen. Even students with good literacy skills “miss’ information on the screen. (Corio , 2008)
  32. 32. What does the research say? 70 60 55% % per group total 50 No use 40 Minor 30% Major 30 Essential 20 10 0 TOTAL GROUP Females Males Groups Gen Y – importance of the printer, measure of level of use
  33. 33. What does the research say? Technology use, printing, frequency and comments, males. Index Net Gen-ness (ING) Interview answers LC LC Av Av Av Av Av Av Av Av Av Av Av Av HC HC HC HC HC HC LU A v LU LU A v Av Av Av Av Av Av LU H U H U LU A v H U H U H U H U Rarely/No Sometimes/cost a factor Everything/most Comments Easier to read/prefer hardcopy Easier to understand the info Less distracting Assignments in hardcopy Verification - email Technology - not robust Mobile/convenience, review Always write things down Audio failed/no clear answer
  34. 34. What does the research say? Technology use, printing, frequency and comments, females. Index Net Gen-ness Interview answers LC LC LC LC A v Av Av Av Av Av HC HC HC HC HC HC HC HC HC HC LU LU LU H U A v LU LU LU H U H U LU LU A v A v A v A v H U H U H U H U Rarely/No Sometimes/cost a factor Everything/most Pre Audio failed, no clear answer Comments Easier to read/prefer hardcopy Easier to understand info Less distracting Assignments in hardcopy Verification - email Technology - not robust Mobile/convenience, review Always write things down
  35. 35. What does the research say? Interviews: What were the participants saying? • Most students interviewed were printing. • Cost was a factor, but many were still printing anyway. • Reasons for printing: • Easier to read • Easier to understand • Minor considerations: • Mobility, convenience, review • Assignment requirement • Uncertainty with technology (online upload)
  36. 36. What does the research say? Tasks: What were the participants doing? Major behaviours • Rapid scrolling using the side bar to move down the screen • Rapid scrolling using the scroll on the mouse to move down the screen • Running the mouse over text looking for hidden links • Random clicking on all areas of the screen looking for hidden links • Stopping only to click on headings or bolded text • Clicking on keywords even when the rest of the heading suggests another meaning
  37. 37. What does the research say? Tasks: What were the participants doing? Reading text on the screen • In-depth reading: • Using the cursor as a line-of-sight guide • Peering very closely at the screen (inch away) • Comment: I would usually print this Consequences: • Participants missed much of the information on screen • They seemed to be transferring this reading style to print and missed major implications on the task sheet because they didn’t read it properly ie, make meaning
  38. 38. What does the research say? Tasks: What were the participants doing? Consequences: • Most participants were unsuccessful and did not complete the tasks • Information retrieved was incomplete or ‘near enough’ ie. satisficing • Participants experienced significant levels of anxiety • Demonstrated 2 major types of behaviour: • Switching between multiple pages, accessed by random clicking rather than reading tabs on the bottom of the screen • Using one page at a time and using the back button to go back to the search results
  39. 39. Media – Gen Y at work "We're starting to see a lack of confidence and skill in problem- solving and critical-thinking skills. Millennials are dependent on menu-driven thinking and prompts and this leaves them lost in an environment without menus.” (Wendover , 2008) Millennials need other types of training - in professional behavior, basic writing, confidentiality issues, critical thinking, or how to give and receive constructive criticism. (Tyler, 2008) My addiction to the Internet's gush of information means that, word for word, I read more than ever, but I understand less. (Keilman, 2009)
  40. 40. Media – Gen Y at work "A growing body of scientific evidence suggests that the net, with its constant distractions and interruptions, is turning us into scattered and superficial thinkers. “People who read text studded with links, the studies show, comprehend less than those who read words printed on pages. People who watch busy multimedia presentations remember less than those who take in information in a more sedate and focused manner. People who are continually distracted by emails, updates and other messages understand less than those who are able to concentrate. People who juggle many tasks are often less creative and less productive than those who do one thing at a time.” (Carr, 2010)
  41. 41. Reading • Computers are not compensatory, they are complementary. • Students require good traditional literacy skills to use computers effectively and efficiently. • Reading is about mechanics (deconstructing code), making meaning (understanding), analysis and synthesis (reconstructing meaning). • Reading from the screen is different: • New paradigm • New skills
  42. 42. Reading • Screen literacy is a set of skills that need to be taught. • Traditional reading skills must be maintained to ensure students: • Focus • Concentrate • Read in-depth • The more students read the better their skill development • The more students read fiction the better their skill development beyond the mechanics (OECD, 2000).
  43. 43. Traditional Literacy & the TL • More important than ever before. • Cannot assume students can transfer skills into different mediums • Focus • Concentrate • Read in-depth • The more students read the better their skill development • The more students read fiction the better their skill development beyond the mechanics (OECD, 2000).