Review of the Text


A New Literacies Sampler published a range of research articles focusing on areas of new literacies and the social values inherent in these literacies.

Chapter 1: "Sampling 'The New' in New Literacies"

- Literacy is a matter of applying knowledge for specific purposes in specific contexts of use.
- There are as many literacies as there are social practices and conceptions of how to do and be in society.
- Literacies are new when they introduce new "ethos stuff," often created by new technologies, challenging us to participate in practices different from the values, norms, and procedures of conventional literacies.
- Literacies are only "new" so long as they juxtapose the values of a literacy viewed as conventional.

The following YouTube video examines the role of a traditional form of technology from a humourous, contemporary lens. Click on the image below to begin viewing the video.



The following YouTube video is a podcast required for an education course at Deakin University. The student discusses the changes to how literacy is being viewed in the education system and its repercussions. Perhaps she sounds familiar? Perhaps you agree with her, perhaps you oppose her? Click on the image below to begin viewing the video.



The following YouTube video remixes an existing text ("We Didn't Start the Fire" by Billy Joel) to create a new text ("Facebook Anthem") inspired by another text (Facebook, itself). Think of the language that is unique to those people who use Facebook -- non-users don't speak that vernacular. Click on the image below to begin viewing the video.



The following YouTube video used the music video "Ayo Technology" by 50 cent featuring Timbaland and Justin Timberlake as a platform for this MySpace inspired teen angst parody. Click on the image below to begin viewing the video.



Chapter 2: "'You Won't Be Needing Your Laptops Today': Wired Bodies in the Wireless Classroom"

- New technologies continue to be used for traditional literacies (i.e. word processing, even viewing videos).
- Technologies may be seen to address a perceived deficit in students' abilities.
- Technologies may also be seen to pose a threat to students' well-being.
- Wireless technology in a classroom changes the environment, with fears about "cheating" and "off-task behaviours".
- Many teachers continue to value those technologies which enable reproduction and transmission of authority, such as the overhead projector, the photocopies, and the chalkboard. As such, new technologies are often seen as intrusions upon the teacher's authority: teachers cannot control all activity.
- In using wireless technologies, students are required to locate, evaluate, and synthesize, rather than memorize and reguritate.


Chapter 3: "Popular Websites in Adolescents' Out-of-School Lives: Critical Lessons in Literacy"

- Previously, little attention has been paid to young people's critical readings of popular websites, or the characteristcs of language present in those popular websites.
- The popular websites with which students engage tend to have grade-level-appropriate or scaffolded vocabulary, an adherence to Standard English, and a broad use of genres, making these websites equal to (and, in fact, competitive) with the linguistic quality of content in traditional, institutionally supported texts.
- Online texts have the advantage of being able to updated and linked to more frequently, created an intertextual web of relevance for the reader.
- Online texts have the disadvantage of being saturated with subliminal messages and nuances marketing.


The following YouTube video was captured in Toronto, where people could text in messages to a large screen, where their messages would then be projected. Why do you think I included this video in relation to this chapter?



Chapter 4: "Agency and Authority in Role-Playing Texts"

- Role-playing takes place in a variety of contexts, including table-top games, theatre, online chat, online forums, and multi-player online games.
- Role-play creates authors by encouraging players to construct fictions in a pre-conceived, imaginary world.
- In role-playing, authority is collaborated upon: it is constantly shared among participants at different moments in play.
- People who are not leaders in the interpretation or creation of traditional texts often become leaders and literates in role-play.
- In role-play, players become producers rather than just consumers.

Chapter 5: "Pleasure, Learning, Video Games, and Life: The Projective Stance"

- Effective video games are extensions of life: they demonstrate how humans orient themselves to different situations in the world; they constitute norms for interaction.
- Video games can engender a well-developed understanding of a character, as players are imposed upon by and impose upon the character they play.
- Video games train players to view the world through the lens of an expert; that is, to problem solve using a specialized set of skills and from a particular point of view.

The following YouTube video was edited by a youth, splicing together his favourite segments of the South Park "Make Love Not Warcraft" episode. Click on the image below to begin viewing the video.



Chapter 6: "Digital Design: English Language Learners and Reader Reviews in Science Fiction"

- Fan Fiction has been used as a platform for ELL to become more confident, competent language users.
- Authors and readers display diverse kinds of expertise related to school-ideas of literacy as well as in-depth knowledge of popular culture.
- Common interests from popular culture (i.e. TV show characters) serve as the bridge between gaps in language.
- In forums, writers identify what they feel are their weaknesses, allowing readers to respond sensitively while actually providing valuable feedback.

Chapter 7: "Blurring and Breaking through the Boundaries of Narrative, Literacy, and Identity in Adolescent Fan Fiction"

- Writing fan fiction is not "poaching" existing texts, but rather tapping into undeveloped stories in an established framework to create original materials.
- Collaborative writing provides immediate feedback for building and refining skills. Therefore, a process for writing is "built-in".
- Fan fiction writers have the freedom to author identities which play out their fantasies and desires -- a kind of role-playing.

Chapter 8: "Looking from the Inside Out: Academic Blogging as New Literacy"

- Blogs compel readers to be active in determining what is of value to read.
- Blogs encourage the creation of identities and building of social networks, as arenas through which we communicate about ourselves without filtration. Online identities tend to be ongoing and anonymous, lending to ultimate flexibility.
- Online identities become blurred as pages co-mingle through hyper-linking.
- Although the medium seems to suggest limitlessness, the act of archiving suggests remnants of conventional time and space restraints
- Tagging teaches the brain to think categorically.
- Blogs promote "glocalization" -- the blending of local and global interaction.
- Blogs can blend personal and professional worlds.

Chapter 9: "Online Memes, Affinities, and Cultural Production"

- Memes are contagious patterns of "cultural information" that get passed from mind to mind and directly generate and shape mindsets, behaviours, and actions of a social group (e.g. brands, catchphrases, slogans, icons).
- Memes can be created to replace those with which citizens no longer agree. For example, counter-memes such as Adbusters claim to oppose what they deem harmful memes.
- Memes tend to involve humour, intertextuality, anomalous juxtaposition, and sometimes an element of "whistle-blowing."

The following YouTube video is an example of a popular meme of 2007 -- "the dramatic prairie dog". Click on the image below to begin viewing the video.

The following YouTube video is an example of a popular meme of 2007 -- "Miss South Carolina." Click on the image below to begin viewing the video.



The following YouTube video is an example of a popular meme of 2007 -- "Leave Britney alone!" Click on the image below to begin viewing the video.



The followingYouTube video is an example of a popular meme of 2007 -- "the dramatic prairie dog." Click the image to view the video.



Chapter 10: "New Literacies"

- New literacies, by the values they promote, promote a hyper-sociality, in addition to elements of
- agency,
- performance, and
- circulation.
- New literacies continue to face challenges because they de-centre authority and ownership, therefore challenging the perceived authority of the teacher in "transmitting knowledge" in educational settings.

The following YouTube video is a piece of fan animation set to Wilco's "Either Way." The artist describes his work as a "repurposed and reimagined animation." Click on the image to begin viewing the video.



The idea of fan manipulation need not be limited to "fiction." The following non-fiction animation piece was inspired by a 14-year old's interview with John Lennon, and the creator, Josh Raskin, was nominated for an Academy Award for this short film, I Met the Walrus. The video is unique in that it re-covers "out-dated" technologies (sound recordings) and applies them to new techologies, like the style of animation used here. Click on the image to begin viewing the video.


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