New Media, New Literacies
The presentation explores the dimensions of contemporary literacies. Speaking as we do today of literacies in the plural, I want to highlight two dimensions of difference. One is the range of media used in today’s communications environment—written, oral, visual, gestural, tactile and spatial. To give just several examples: image is closely related to text in visualizations of data and scientific process; new hybrid-oral written forms are rapidly evolving, such as tweets and texts; and the internet lightly scaffolds reading paths in ways that are different from the traditional textual architectures of books and libraries. These are instances of the kinds of multimodal meanings that we might study today in our repertoire of literacies. The second dimension that pluralizes literacies is the diversity of context-sensitive applications. When the global is localized and the local globalized, and when identities and contexts vary so greatly, the goal of literacies is to navigate the communicative differences rather than acquire an official literacy in the singular. My presentation will weave between discussion of the terrain of human communicative change in general terms, and the practical experience of building the multimodal web writing and assessment environment, Scholar.