Digital Literacy?

I just finished my literacy remixed assignment, and it made me think a lot about digital literacy. Before having taken this class, I never would have thought of the digital composition as a literacy event. When I listened to my final product, it seemed, at first glance, very far removed from the traditional literacy events of reading and writing. The fact that I was listening to the composition in the first place and that it was on a computer is what put me off, I think, from looking at it as a literacy event. Also, the music in the composition played such an important part in the project that I think it displaced some of the more traditional literacy elements of my project; like the fact that my subject itself was literacy.

When I began to rethink the digital composition as a literacy event, it hit me how different digital literacy is from traditional literacy. I mean, the Audacity program has so many literacy components that it would take me pages upon pages to describe them all. Knowing how to navigate all of the program’s functions and using the correct tools in the correct manner, are all literacy practices that Audacity requires one to know. For example, it took me forever to figure out what the envelope tool was supposed to do and I don’t think that even by the end of my project, I was using it in the correct way! Never in a million years would I have thought that I would need to know how to use something like this. As a junior in college and an English literature major on top of that, I consider myself highly literate, but I would be lying if I didn’t admit that my ego came out somewhat bruised by the end of this class assignment.

However, I truly believe that this is the direction in which our future is headed. I wouldn’t be surprised if within the next fifty to one-hundred years digital literacy became just as relevant if not more relevant than traditional literacy. Can you imagine a future where we no longer have to hand in written essays, but rather digital compositions that require the use of such programs like Audacity? I sure can’t, and I’m not by any means saying that such a dramatic change will definitely occur. Nevertheless, it is worth to thinking about. While I don’t believe there will ever be a time where printed books go out of fashion and written essays become extinct (or maybe this is just my own nostalgic and wishful thinking coming in the way…), I do think that technology and digital media will only continue to grow in relevance in the near coming future. I think more jobs will require more advanced training in technology and computers and that anybody training in those fields now will have an advantage over the rest of us in the future. As for me, I don’t ever foresee myself turning into a techie; I’m just too traditional and technology challenged. However, one can always change, and with these changing times, who knows what will happen?

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One Response to Digital Literacy?

  1. Brooke Davis says:

    Just the other day I was talking to my sister about online magazines. I hate reading them because staring at a computer screen for too long gives me a headache. My sister reads a variety of online magazines and is always trying to discuss them with me, but our conversation is limited since I just look at the pictures and never read the words. We were discussing her future working for an online wedding magazine and she said, “This is a good job for right now, straight out of college, but I wouldn’t want to do this forever. I love print too much.” We are in the generation that is young enough to understand technology and take advantage of its changes, but we’re old enough to still feel a sense of nostalgia for text and print that isn’t digital. Like my sister, I like physically holding the text in its isolated state. What I mean is, a magazine is a magazine, I can’t do anything else with it. An online magazine is a magazine, but I also have the ability to do a million other things with it. I also see myself as traditional and not tech savvy. I don’t even have an iPhone. It’s definitely a fear of mine as a future teacher to incorporate digital elements into the classroom. The Literacy Remixed assignment has been a nice introduction into how to bring technology in a classroom without it being too scary. Although the task was daunting and took much longer than writing an essay, it forced me to learn a new skill, be creative, and do something I wasn’t sure I could do well. Isn’t this what teaching is all about? Encouraging students to try something new and not be afraid to fail. Forcing them out of their comfort zone to learn news ways of doing things. I hope that in my class I will find a balance, but I will never wish for the extinction of print.

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