Response to L&K – Week 7, Chapter 8: Social learning and new literacies in formal education

new Literacies

New Literacies: Everyday Practices and Social Learning by Colin Lankshear and Michele Knobel, is divided into 3 parts;

  • Part 1: New Literacies: Concepts and Theory
  • Part 2: New Literacies: Some Everyday Practices
  • Part 3: New Literacies and Social Learning

Below is my response to Chapter 8, which falls under Part 3.

This is my response to the final chapter in Lankshear and Knobel’s New literacies book. As I was reading the final chapter, I was reflecting on my journey through this semester and this course. The chapter goes on to discuss two cases of social learning and new literacies within formal education programs. Throughout reading these I couldn’t help but to compare these cases with my own social learning and new literacies in my formal master’s program offered through the University of Colorado Denver.  This program I have selected to pursue is everything this chapter sums up. My master program is offered as a completely online program. I connect online with my instructor and classmates from the comfort of my home or office. For this reason I still have a hard time truly seeing the ‘social’ part of the learning as I have yet to meet face to face with any of the other students within my program. Oh wait, I have met face to face with one fellow student, but only because he and I worked at the same university, campus and in departments that worked closely together, but otherwise I would not have had face to face interactions with anyone in this program.

So having pointed this out, why do I still feel that this is social learning? Well because we are collectively learning the same material and supporting each other along the way. The act of being social no longer solely applies to being in the same geographic location and physical space. Having read through this New Literacies book by Lanshear and Knobel, I now have a much better understanding of this. As the world of learning and teaching evolves, so does the definitions of how those are accomplished. Simply learning things online doesn’t make it social, its the interactions in whatever form they come that do. Tweeting a message out to the world and having it become seen by others, commented on by others, liked by others, re-tweeted by others is what makes it social.

Higher education curriculum’s are seeing the value in offering programs that are different from the previous standard of teaching. Otherwise, this course wouldn’t exist nor would I as the student be sitting here typing my response to this chapter. Not only is higher education starting to adopt these new literacies within the programs they offer, but so are earlier levels. It’s becoming obvious that in order to meet the needs of these younger students and to prepare them for the world they will soon be apart of, they too must moved to curriculum’s that will give these students the skills and knowledge to succeed. As presented in this chapter, one case uses ‘gamelike learning’ to connect the demands of the world and the 21st century with how these students learn.

As the world changes, so must how we teach. This final chapter sums this up and the rest of the book took me through the journey of seeing this. I have been frustrated and confused practically this entire semester, because I didn’t understand social learning, new literacies and how they are being used to better prepare today’s learners for the world of tomorrow. I’m not saying this chapter suddenly brought this all into focus, because trust me I’m still learning, but summing up the book it has made me understand why we as a class participated as members of the ds106 community and why the different assignments were asked of us. In order to understand the importance of digital storytelling we must first understand the need and how these digital stories will be used.

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Response to L&K – Week 6, Chapter 7: Social learning, ‘push’ and ‘pull’ and building platforms for collaborative learning

new Literacies

New Literacies: Everyday Practices and Social Learning by Colin Lankshear and Michele Knobel, is divided into 3 parts;

  • Part 1: New Literacies: Concepts and Theory
  • Part 2: New Literacies: Some Everyday Practices
  • Part 3: New Literacies and Social Learning

Below is my response to Chapter 7, which falls under Part 3.

My response to this chapter will focus on social learning, multiple learning modes, and access to people. Lankshear and Knobel reference ‘Minds on fire: Open education, the long tail and learning 2.0’ by Brown and Adler (2008,17). They recognize that In order for populations in the near future to be successful and to thrive, they will need to build ‘robust local eco-systems of resources’. They will become more and more dependent on these productive and innovative ways of supporting their ongoing learning and creative activity. It will be crucial that they produce these new resources out of what already exists to preserve scarce resources.

The previous models of buildings on campuses and pre-set curriculum’s of higher education, will no longer be enough to meet the learning needs and demands of the coming populations. There is tension between learning demands and resources available that will only become greater as time goes on. Though I truly believe the current model of will not completely disappear, it will certainly need to evolve to incorporate the changing needs and demands that have already started to appear. The conventional higher education models are already proving to be lacking in terms of innovation and productiveness and in order to change this, new ideas and approaches need to be developed.

Diverse and alternative ways of learning are needed to ensure the next populations grow and thrive. Current generations want and need more than these previous traditional ways are able to give them and so they seek out information on their own. The availability of accessing information has altered the demand and has guided these generations to take their learning into their own hands. The things they are learning are still the same ideas, approaches, methods, policies, practices etc. from traditional learning models, they are just learning about these in new ways. They are then able to think of new sustainable ways or creative ways to expand on what they are learning, who they are learning with and how they could do things better. Previous and current lesson plan structures confined the learning to a specific topic, idea, etc., but as curriculum has started to open up, learners can explore an idea or topic outside of what was previously/currently taught.  As learning can happen anywhere, at any time, or with anyone the sole need to have physical locations to provide and teach the information is not what it use to be. Physical institutional spaces existed to bring people together to foster ideas and learning in the past but as we are no longer bound to walls and set lesson plans to collaborate and develop ideas and solutions, we as a people can  let go of that limitation and see what the minds of the future can give us.

Response to L&K – Week5, Chapter 6: Everyday practices of online social networking

new Literacies

New Literacies: Everyday Practices and Social Learning by Colin Lankshear and Michele Knobel, is divided into 3 parts;

  • Part 1: New Literacies: Concepts and Theory
  • Part 2: New Literacies: Some Everyday Practices
  • Part 3: New Literacies and Social Learning

Below is my response to Chapter 6, which falls under Part 2.

This week we were given the choice to respond to either chapter 5: Blog and wikis or Chapter 6: Everyday practices of online social networking. I obviously chose chapter 6. Just wanted to clarify why you are not seeing week 5, chapter 5.

Prior to this semester and this course, my online footprint was rather small. Social media sites confused me and with my limited understanding I stayed away from the majority of sites to keep from looking like a complete dummy. I originally joined myspace to stay connected with my group of friends from college. These people knew me and it didn’t matter if I failed at using the site, because they all had probably seen me do far worse. Again, they were COLLEGE friends, doing stupid things together was practically a must. So, when myspace transitioned out and facebook came to the forefront we all switched over. I was comfortable using the site, it met my needs and my little social world was happy. Then I go an decide I want to pursue a master’s and due to the content of this degree my safe little social world had to grow. I had to leave the safety of the people that knew me and venture out into a vast, terrifying, confusing, overwhelming world and not only manage to stay afloat but also not be seen as the dummy I was so afraid of becoming. Well the verdict is still out on whether or not I’m looking stupid in my posts, but I’ve opened the doors and I have left the confinement of my safe little space and I’m exploring this big bad world. This is why I chose to respond to this chapter. Everyday practices of online social networking vary from person to person and also vary based on a specific point in time in a specific persons life. My everyday practices 5 years ago differ a great deal from them today.

This chapter break downs the differences between groups, networks, ‘networked individualism’ and social networking services in everyday life. ‘Groups’ usually are defined as a closely connected people that have many face-to-face interactions with each other and the majority of the people within the group all know each other. A group of people would normally be located in close proximity to the other members of the group. ‘Networks’ are similar but are no longer confined by proximity or time. The members of a network do not necessarily know each other but are still connected in some way. ‘Networked Individualism’ is where a person is involved within a network, but has no real ties to the other members in those networks, nor is proximity or time really a factor. People only get out, what they give in as a network individualism member. There is no support from the other members, the person must actively network to be successful within the network. ‘Online social networking services’ are spaces that are profile driven. To be a member of the service, a person must complete the necessary questionnaire or whatever, sharing information about themselves so other members within the service can learn about the person. A person could be a member of any number of these and their everyday practices within each that they are a member of, will probably vary between them. Just depends on the person and their needs and wants.

As a now active, ok barely active, member of twitter, I feel that I am a member in the Network individualism network. I have to actively follow specific people/groups that interest me in order to get information that is relevant to my interests. As my focal theme for this course is my vegan journey, I have come across many vegan/plant based diet pages, groups, and people. Others within this course have also shared articles and pages with me that have also helped guide this journey. The information, recipes, articles, etc. are now available to me as I have connected with them, but I still need to be active in reading them, commenting on them, liking them, etc. to truly be a member of the conversations. I’m trying, but it really is a lot of work to stay connected and informed.

One question asked of the readers for discussion is: Are dating sites social networking services? On what reasons do you base your decision?

My response is that yes, I feel like dating sites are social networking services. People join them to meet people. To me this is a social service. Members create a profile introducing themselves to the members they are trying to meet, presenting tidbits of themselves hoping to attract someone that has similar interests, goals, desires, etc. I guess a bar on a Friday night could also be a social networking service of sorts, minus the transparent upfront profile but still a means to connect one person with another. The act of being together in a common place/space is practically the definition of social activities, so regardless of the source dating sites, facebook, linkedin, they still belong to a social networking service. People join them to connect in some way with other members of that service.

Response to L&K – Week3, Chapter 3: “New” Literacies: Technologies and Values

new Literacies

New Literacies: Everyday Practices and Social Learning by Colin Lankshear and Michele Knobel, is divided into 3 parts;

  • Part 1: New Literacies: Concepts and Theory
  • Part 2: New Literacies: Some Everyday Practices
  • Part 3: New Literacies and Social Learning

Below is my response to Chapter 3, which falls under Part 1.

This chapter presented a lot of information on the ever changing and evolution of new literacies. At the beginning of the chapter L&K compared the life-span of a new literacy to the life-span of a car.  As I was starting to read this chapter, I realized  that this was how I thought the life-span of a new literacy was. L&K moved away from this comparison to get the reader to better understand how new literacies change over time by introducing a better way of thinking about how outside forces are the driving forces for the changes in new literacies.

As the needs and demands for a way to create, share, use, and utilize a new literacy change and evolve, so does the new literacy.  The community that consumes and uses a literacy dictates how that literacy will change over time. If the literacy doesn’t meet the needs of the community that uses it either an additional new literacy will come to be or the one that failed to meet the needs will evolve in a way that will meet the needs.  If a new literacy was all encompassing and always met every need, our world would become stagnant, eventually boring, in my opinion.

New literacies promote creative ideas and different ways of thinking. Communities that use them are engaged with each other and as ideas are shared new ones come up and the evolution of that literacy takes shape. This is fascinating to me. Simply having a new literacy is not enough, people want bigger and better, which ultimately changes the new literacies of today to become the new literacies of tomorrow. I love that a lot of this change and creativity happen on its own, because of public consumption and demand.  Using these literacies is not usually something that is taught, its a learned skill. Once someone has invested their time in learning it, they are engaged with it. When someone is engaged, creativity and sharing happens and the cycle continues on.

Basic literacies of reading and writing really couldn’t evolve, but having them had encouraged, supported, and allowed for the evolution of these new literacies.

No,  not all the users are directly involved with the evolution, in fact it’s probably a small percentage, but the creative minds of that small percentage develop amazing products that these communities embrace and use as to create, share, and to find meaning. The cycle then continues when the products need to evolve and change again.