Archive for the ‘literacy activities’ Category

Having spent the summer in some of Europe’s best Art Galleries and Museums, I was a little underwhelmed by the visit. This being said, our guide did bring up interesting points, even though I did not always see them put into action in the gallery per se. One room was dedicated to a participatory art installation, where the visitors own contributions altered the sounds produced by the artistic creation. I found this original and appreciated the extension of the traditional boundaries that art is often restricted by. I also enjoyed the The REMIXX.sur.RE exhibit that uses 700 digital photos, 60 digital video and animation clips, text in five languages and 260 audio clips created by Surrey youth. It pleased me that this allowed the multimodalities of expression and artistic literacy to be expressed: it came from the youths’ reality and was expressed using the literacies they are used to using. I also enjoyed the fact that, as observers, we affected the nature of the presentation in terms of content presented and speed at which images changed, or flashed on the screen.
Probably the most important element for me was a short comment the guide made that he didn’t elaborate on very much but had an effect on me. He spoke of the gallery “making the best use of the space”. I loved this; the space itself becomes a consideration in the creation of not only the shows, but of the displays, and the actual creation of the art itself. It led me to wonder if I use my classroom as well as I could be using it; am I “making the best use of the space?” “what could I be doing differently that would ensure I am making the best use of the space my students and I have?”
While this article is certainly worthy of praise based on the fact that it was written in the mid nineties, and was very forward looking for the time, I found many aspects familiar. There were similarities with the Leu article (Leu, et al. (2004) “Defining Literacy and New Literacies”) and its variety of literacies called multiliteracies here. The point was again made, in a very wordy fashion that made comprehension difficult at times, that the number of literacies and the number of people using them was so important that it behooves us to take them into account when planning literacy activities and assessments.
Success will be atainable in more ways, through a variety of means of expressing ones’ learning, ones’ level of literacy in a given area. No longer will pen and paper be de rigueur to demonstrate concept acquisition; instead one’s literacy should be allowed to be expressed in several different ways thanks to the multiple literacies now given more validity. In fact, success may be measured in terms of which literacy is chosen for any given activity. Success might be a reflection of the judgement of the learner in selecting the best or most appropriate communication of information tool.
Remarkably it appears that to the authors, the notions of diveristy and multi culturalism seem to be new ones; this is probably due to the fact the New London Group is composed of members from the UK, the US, and Australia. Had there been a Canadian on board, it might have been written differently. Diversity and multiculturalism have been a cornerstone not only of Canadian Education but of the Canadian Identity as a whole, since Pierre Trudeau’s Cultural Mosaic and Just Society made their entrance on the Canadian scene in the late Sixties.
Still, the authors took great pains in reminding their readers that what they wished for most was to create a document that would lead to open minded discussions and to an undertaking of a task that needs to be addressed. It is indeed an important document that underlines the challenges educators around the world face in dealing with the rapidly growing number of literacies and the adjustments in design precipitated by such a proliferation.