As the wonderful mind of Dr. Seuss says, “The more you read, the more things you will know, the more that you learn, the more places you’ll go”. These words have never rang truer to me in my life than they do now. I think I am finally at a place in my life and career that I grasp what he meant by this quote. Being literate is such a gift and it opens an unlimited amount of doors – you can do anything, you can be anything, we CAN change the world with literacy and knowledge. ❤ I don’t even think Dr. Seuss could have possibly understood the vast ways in which we need to be literate in today’s society and the quick pace in which we need to wrap our heads around them.
This image. All the feels. Thanks Giphy.
I think the best way for me to break it down this week is to highlight some of the ways I think we need to be literate so that we can be a “fully” literate society.
Print and Numeracy Literacy:
“Helping someone to read and write effectively or acquire the basic math skills so many of us take for granted, improves the future of everyone in society. Literacy is critical to economic development as well as individual and community well-being.”
Project Literacy out of Kelowna, BC does a wonderful job breaking down the immense importance of literacy to many facets of our lives. First, to the economy, when we have an educated, literate society to work with, more people can pull themselves from poverty and become contributing members of society. Second, the benefits to both the individual whom is literate as well as the community in which they live. The project states the following ways that literacy can positively impact someones life,
“For new-comers to Canada, adequate English language skills are essential to forming friendships, without which they are susceptible to isolation, loneliness and anxiety. Persons with adequate literacy skills maintain better health through their ability to understand and interpret health information and From a collective perspective,” and finally “a literate community is a dynamic community; a community that exchanges ideas, engages in dialogue is more innovative and productive.”
As you can see, the reach is endless. A literate society is a successful, happy, healthy society.
In one of the articles we read this week titled, “What is Media Literacy and why is it Important?” posted on Common Sense Media, focuses greatly on the key points of WHY we need to be digitally literate by making ties to the above print/numeracy literacy stated above. The first line of the article is, “The word “literacy” usually describes the ability to read and write. Reading literacy and media literacy have a lot in common. Reading starts with recognizing letters. Pretty soon, readers can identify words — and, most importantly, understand what those
words mean. Readers then become writers. With more experience, readers and writers develop strong literacy skills.” We piece together our skills so we can be literate in whichever society we reside. Our current society depends on us to be digitally literate as many of the positives stated above from the print literacy are achieved now with aspects of digitally literacy. Everything is so interconnected.
As my classmate Danielle says in her blog this week, we need to take action to show kids what responsible digital literacy and technology use looks like! As we would model any kind of literacy as teachers in either print or numeracy in our classroom, we need to show kids that there are useful, meaningful, efficient ways to use technology and literacies online. The same way that the aforementioned print/numeracy literacy creates positive communities, positive relationships and economic growth, digital literacy has the ability to do the same!
I think in order to be considered literate in today’s society it means that we need to take the ability to read/write/use technology both in the literal sense of function and understanding the implications of technology as well, and put it all together to be able to think critically about the world around us. With the rapid rate in which information is sent at us, it is not even close to enough to only have the ability to be able to understand the words in the literal sense – we also need to be able to understand the message and the author’s purpose as anyone can create media. It is absolutely critical that we have the skills to vet out information that is untrue or partially true. In the Common Sense Media article they pose 5 important skills that digital literacy gives children and they are the building blocks to reaching the type of society and the type of world that I would be happy to live in.
Learn to think critically. As kids evaluate media, they decide whether the messages make sense, why certain information was included, what wasn’t included, and what the key ideas are. They learn to use examples to support their opinions. Then they can make up their own minds about the information based on knowledge they already have.
Become a smart consumer of products and information. Media literacy helps kids learn how to determine whether something is credible. It also helps them determine the “persuasive intent” of advertising and resist the techniques marketers use to sell products.
Recognize point of view. Every creator has a perspective. Identifying an author’s point of view helps kids appreciate different perspectives. It also helps put information in the context of what they already know — or think they know.
Create media responsibly. Recognizing your own point of view, saying what you want to say how you want to say it, and understanding that your messages have an impact is key to effective communication.
Identify the role of media in our culture. From celebrity gossip to magazine covers to memes, media is telling us something, shaping our understanding of the world, and even compelling us to act or think in certain ways.
Understand the author’s goal. What does the author want you to take away from a piece of media? Is it purely informative, is it trying to change your mind, or is it introducing you to new ideas you’ve never heard of? When kids understand what type of influence something has, they can make informed choices.
Thanks for reading,
“Educating the mind without educating the heart,
is no education at all.”