TASK 1: Navigating the new literacy of a blog!

“New Literacies” defined

TASK 1: solid two to three paragraph definition of the term ‘new literacies’

In today’s ever growing digital world there is a new term applied to reading and writing and much debate exists around what valid forms of literacy should be used in the classroom to enhance learning and engagement. New literacies is a complex and continually evolving topic and the debate around its definition is vast. Houtman comments that “new literacies is a term often used in the field of education, particularly in literacy studies, for various digital literacies practices. A key concept here is that literacy if no longer a stable entity, but something that is continuously transforming” (Houtman, E, 2013, p.6)

“New literacies” build on the old literacies, and factors such as sociocultural upbringing and technology are changing it. Children still need to decode and read print to make meaning from texts, whether printed or online, and we need to change the way we teach to adapt to the new ways students are learning. Technology is constantly transforming and evolving which means that the definition is always changing. However, the increasing plethora of social media platforms and new digital ways of interacting mean that a new approach must be taken by educators to ensure that students can learn in the new digital age that they are growing up in. As such as teachers we need to respond ” to the challenges of the 21st century learners by identifying skills, competencies, fluencies and literacies to be taught” (Houtman, E, 2013, p.1).

One problem with defining new literacies is that what is new today may not be tomorrow, the old saying of todays newspapers will become tomorrow’s chip papers still stands in a digital world. “‘New literacies’ are best understood in terms of an historical period of social, cultural, institutional, economic, and intellectual change that is likely to span many decades – some of which are already behind us” (Lankshear, C & Knobel, M, 2012, p. 45). Thus when defining we must not get too consumed by the word “new” in the term and more in the fact that there are multiple medias, frameworks, programs and possibilities that can be explored. As educators we need to accept that there is an ever expanding, changing digital world, and adapt accordingly. We are required to teach students in all forms of digital media that they use, we will need to accept “new literature”, utilise it to its fullest potential and in turn help students learn through these new methods of communication.


Houtman, E. (2013). New literacies, learning, and libraries: How can frameworks from other fields help us think about the issues? In the Library with the Lead Pipe.  Retrieved fromhttp://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2013/new-literacies-learning-and-libraries-how-can-frameworks-from-other-fields-help-us-think-about-the-issues/ Accessed March 17th, 2014

Lankshear, C., & Knobel, M. (2012). ‘New’ literacies: technologies and values. Teknokultura. Revista de Cultura Digital y Movimientos Sociales, 9(1), 45-71.  Retrieved from http://everydayliteracies.net/files/RemixTeknokulturaEnglish.pdf Accessed March 17th, 2014

Greenwashing YouTube:

Write a brief description/ review of the show and comment on what this means for teaching kids about internet and media content at school.

“Greenwashing” the media show clip is a spoof overview on large companies and how they are deceiving us, their consumers, via clever advertising. There has been a green shift in large companies to project themselves as environmentally aware & portray that they are working to make a difference in the ever environmentally focused world. The clip demonstrates that it is relatively easy for a company to make a million dollar ad, which demonstrates  they are taking positive steps to helping the  environment, when we are in fact they are doing little or nothing. Large companies are using gimmicks, awards and campaigns to present an environmentally friendly picture, for consumers to endorse their products. Consumers see them as sustainable but the fact is they are merely “greenwashing” the facts and consumers are being taken in by their clever and enticing ad campaigns. Coming out of a ten year career in advertising where the green push was a focus for a number of my blue-chip clients it is interesting to see this broken down so simply for us to understand, that everything you see on an advert is not necessarily the truth!

This is a particularly relevant clip for a classroom study on the topics of the environment & also the powers of advertising. It shows the dangers in believing everything you see or hear, and also demonstrates the facts behind corporates need to sell more products. Using puppets, and gimmicks such as light and dark, and music and relating back to adverts we see everyday, also means students will automatically engage with the clip. Students could explore the effects of advertising, and the way media is used to encourage brand loyalty through positive messaging, which may not always been centred on the truth but a clever representation of a half truth. This will teach children that there is a danger to the internet and media, and to explore the different motivations behind clips, advertisement and digital messaging. This could be explored with some of the viral clips and campaigns, which most believe have a feel good factor, but normally when stripped down become nothing more than a marketing tool for a company, hiding behind a positive message push to gain brand recognition and awareness. In a year 6 class I taught we had an interesting advertising activity where students created a bridge, using science and maths, and once created had to create a poster with accompanying ad campaign to sell their bridge. In the end the company directors (teachers) were only to invest in one bridge based on a number of factors, and this sell helped them to see the power of the media in swaying peoples decisions. You could use this clip as a foundation for a similar “ad campaign” activity.


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