Saturday, April 09, 2011

Beyond New London: Literacy Learning and the Design of Social Futures

These are very rough notes based on the symposium.

Discussant: Brian V. Street (Kings College, London)
The New London Agenda in Retrospect
*Mary Kalantzis (University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign)
Learning and Knowing: Issues and Principles
*Gunther Kress (Institute of Education - London)
Language and Learning and Digital Media
*James Paul Gee (Arizona State University)
Appropriating Students’ Multilingual Strengths and Multimodal Interests as Resources For Learning
*Courtney B. Cazden (Harvard University), *Gail Heather Cawkwell (University of Waikato)
Multiliteracies in Australia: Educational and Economic Reforms?
*Allan A.J. Luke (Queensland University of Technology)
Teacher Orchestration of Talk in a Pedagogy of Multiliteracies
*Sarah Michaels (Clark University), *Catherine O'Connor (Boston University), *Richard Sohmer (Investigators Club)
Future Agendas for Multiliteracies
*William Cope (University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign)
Chair: William Cope (University of Illinois - Urbana-Champaign)

Mary Kalantzis
1994 – Multi-literacies project – the issues haven't changes much since then. Why, despite all the knowledge and work we've done, there is still a huge gap in achievement? New London groups was named after the inn and city they met in. What brought them together was the question about what to do about the gap? Invented the word multi-literacies. Meaning making is essential across contexts and cultures. Effect of the new communication medias were potentially powerful. It wasn't just literacy, but meaning making in any communication media. The purpose was political – as all teaching is, and must be connected to each local context – what does it mean to be a citizen, worker, etc. Mission was performance – alphabetical literacy was not doing it – those who could read, did and those who couldn't didn't. So, a new language was needed – meaning making rather than literacy, design rather than grammar.

Diversity – race, gender, class etc influence the meaning making process
Multi-modality – having a repertoire of skills for learners for across context.
Pedagogy – needed to handled by professionals with choices, not just programmatic linear lessons.

Also recognized that employment was shifting, citizenship meant something new. Identity was a fluid this and multi – no matter how much govt. wanted to create a singular.

People were born into designed meaning making contexts, yet were also influencing that context.

Wanted to create a new vocabulary to talk about this – and to be able to leave our individual identities and co-construct this – therefore, the New London groups was without names, and a manifesto was written (and published) and there was agreement amongst the group.

Gunther Kress

Generosity – marked the bringing together of the group. Each person had very different backgrounds, yet the common goal kept the group together. With the world, going at a faster pace, we need to be even more generous. And recognition is one way of doing this – to see and recognize was people can do, which is the only way we can accord the dignity and respect for them.

Learning and Knowing

What and where is learning? We tend not to recognize learning within everyday contexts. A child showing another child something they found – frames the object, shows the object, and the person is engaged in the object. In profession work – doctors in surgery, through their actions, others are learnig. A multi-model approach to learning allows us to see this. By pointing (framing) and drawing attention, it is an indication of learning. By doing, and showing – this is learning too. Increasing, as practices at work is changing, this type of learning will be more common. Implicit vs explicit knowledge – people working together, though unspoken understanding. What is known, can be expressed through doing, drawing. This knowledge comes through communities – knowing depends on community. But, equally important is giving recognition to how people are engaging in the world. As a researchers, we need to do more than transcription – but rather simulations and recreations.

Jim Gee

Gaps – literacy, digital, knowledge, innovation, 21st century skills. We've been talking a lot of about gaps – and the gaps have multiplied. In addition, something else happened since the fist group meeting. A new school system has arisen - one outside of school, that of digital technologies, to get a community of learners (or affinity spaces). As people become passionate about their games, they are apply to explicitly describe the uses of the game – which otherwise is implicit. The ability for humans to see meaning – patterns, is great than a computer.

Through games, people are achieving professional levels of knowledge in science e(protein folds) social science (Sims:Nickel and Dime challenge)

Passionate Affinity Space

There is no limit on age, experience or time. Leadership changes frequestion, experts and newbies are in the same space. Often, experts don't recognize themselves as experts because expertise resides in community

Courtney Cazden

Multilingual – in multi-literacy - how students make meaning in multiple contexts across languages and dialects. Humans have made meanings visually long before writing – children show us this too.

Gail Cawkwell

Appropriating students multilingual strengths and multi-model interests as resources for learning

When children are encouraged to use their own representations of stories, these resources can be used to achieve more traditional literacy. Relationships are important to achieve this – to be interested and engaged with each other. Though, communication media has, in many cases, replace literature. This is now more of a learned skills.

Julie-ann – a case study of a classroom. Diverse learners – used drawing of read alouds. To talk about interpretation. They used graffiti journals. When they went to watch the video, they discussed their differences.

Alan Luke

We need to overcome our negativity or fear of trying to overcome politics, egos, etc. The new London Group shows that, as a group (community) we can effect change. In asking gee how to do this, replied, “Just make stuff up,” In other words, be imaginative – and don't rely on only others.

We need to “get our hands dirty” and work in and with children, not just theorize about what can happen, but make it happen. We need to be more than just a public intellectual, we need to be doing, not just saying. “what good is another citation in literacy going to do?”

We know that the same groups are continually being marginalized and lagging behind in education. The arguments that we are hearing (and did) does not help this. It just splits the community.. we wanted to come up with a new language, one that was inclusive, to break through this. Knowing how real teachers work, we needed to focus on the dialectical of the arguments Teachers weave between them throughout the day – direct instruction and open, phonic and novels.The group did not specifically define and dictate what multi-literacies was – to allow the teachers to be the professionals they are and interpret as needed within context.

Some problems:
1) Training – How do teachers learn about multi-literacies and multi-modalities Trying to commodify the ideas – it can't be programmatic.
2) Transfer – how can multi-literacies produce achievement in traditional litearcies – ie. What good does Garage band etc, support standardized test. Modal validity. Can video training be used across contexts? Mutli-model to pencil
3) In school and out of school – when things are working out of school, can it be transferred to in school? Does it lose it's power
4) Supply and demand – Add on all the new stuff – collaboration, technology etc, is laid over the top of current standards and curriculum. The stuff that is valued is tested, and so the othe stuff (new age literacies) are not taught. Creative industries (fashion, design, computers) are about 11% of US GDP. New world order – will the old stratification be reproduced?

Sarah Michaels, Catherine O'Connor

Classroom talk – will serve as a pedagogical tool. But, this means that some will still be more privileged than others.  How might teachers orchestrate talk in ways that support Mutli-literacies?
*Can not be scripted
*Can not be free form
*Classrooms are densely populated, noisy social spaces, and this must be managed.
*IRE is a proxy for real discussion – it looks like it
*Cultural tools that can scaffold academically productive and inclusive discussion
       *Discussion phrases for teachers – Can you say more about that?
       *Re-voicing – when teachers restate a student response to check for understanding of the response.
How do we train teachers learn to use this?
These are new tools – a new identity – and the tool won't do the work for you
sometimes teachers feel it is fake or scripted
Hard to see them at work in real content, goes by too fast in real life
Integrated within content
Framework of shared goals, integrated with content, and with videos
helping individual students to externalize their thinking – to share their reasoning out loud
Helping students to orient to others and listen to what others say
Helping students to deepen their reasoning
Helping students work with and engage with the thinking of others

Student don't do this automatically – teachers must scaffold this. Teachers work in small groups, with focused view guides and the videos.

Bill Cope

Testing – we found that testing is all important in US. My background (from the UK) had a curriculum that was highly regulated and not in the least transparent. In the US – NCLB focused on testing, even though there is no national curriculum. Standardize testing is poor as it reduces the raw material of knowledge (what can be tested), depends on process of inference (how this shows what kids know), and is an at-the-end managerial process.

What if we were really interested in knowing what kids know and learn?
Formative assessment and feedback, in such a way that would help students learn better.

Ubiquitous authoring – it is available on any communication medium.

“The work” - (semantic editor) whatever text one is working on, integrates photo, video etc.
“About the Work” - social comments and feedback – machine supported.
Beta testing in schools (2nd iteration). Used in 2 different school - 1 that was highly successful and the other in a collapsing town. The poverty kids had more access to digital literacies than the university supported school.
Infinities of meaning – we can't standardize meaning making, computability dilemma,

Brian Street – respondent

What is new about New Literacies studies?
Many think it has to do what in new in literacy (computer etc) – but we meant it as finding new ways of seeing, looking, and understanding literacies
Newness – there were so much new in the group – meet in the New world, in New Hampshire, in New London – why do we continue to have old and new
Literacy – what does literacy refer too
Reading, writing, Reading/writing – but we mean other modes
muti-literacy, assumes that everything else is a literacy – oral, visual,
Is the old determinism (modes) in the new? It is the mode that determines what we do – ie schooling. Much of the framing of literacy in schooling, uses this. That the technology, or new thing, will fix society, the child,
Group – we were from all different backgrounds, camps and expertize and went off to meet with other groups to spread what they learned. Each group brings their own idea. We now have the New Orleans group
Multiplicity of meaning making – is it so new and are some of the claims being made problematic. From the Guardian, about the revolutions in N. Africa. Twitter/facebook revolutions – this is new phenomenon and the technologies are driving the revolution. Is it a means to power, not power itself. It can have different consequences. The media seems to relate that Twitter supports – but it is just a social practice, which could just as easily be used for oppression.
So – how is there change? Is is the new mode? Technologies?
We use literacy – but other groups are addressing the same issues without calling it literacy. IE super-diversity – how do we connect with related groups?
Literacy with a big L and a small single y (why)

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