As years go by, buzz words and terms come and go. Currently – I feel inundated with 21st century learner, 21st century skills, and digital age. While attending iSummit earlier this month, I participated in a session about Digital Literacy led by Angela Maiers (see more love for her here). At the crux of her presentation is that literacy (of all types) is a HUMAN RIGHT. Devastatingly – a human right that is still not afforded to all. To be literate means you have lifetime membership to the “reading club”. You have access to resources, ideas, and even joys that nonmembers do not. There is confidence and POWER in literacy. With our membership, comes responsibility – to members and nonmembers alike.
With Facebook, Twitter, Snapchat, Pinterest, et al our world feels in some ways more intimate. We share everything, at times too much, and we get responses instantly. We get feedback – instantly. We become validated – instantly. We are insulted – instantly. We are heartbroken – instantly. We realize the pros and cons of having an audience to our writing – instantly.
Friends of mine poke fun at me for correcting myself in the comments section of a Facebook post for a grammar error. They wonder why I type out every single word in a text – refusing (for the most part) to use the lingo. I do not speak BRB, TTYL, LOL, SMH, TY, IKR, ICYMI, YW… At times, I have to ask what an abbreviation means.
Why am I this way? Am I an officer of grammar law? Not really. Am I snobby? I try not to be. Am I just a little crazy? Most definitely. Mainly, though, I feel a writer’s responsibility when putting my words into the world through media. People are reading what you say – even strangers. Haven’t you seen the fun Buzzfeed has with texts, comments, and posts?
Part of being literate in the 21st century means you are able to learn, process, share/teach others, and – if necessary – relearn and unlearn. When you blog, you’re speaking to more people than you imagine. Blogs are not just online diaries to unload your thoughts. After you unload your thoughts – someone reads them. That someone may have a comment for you. Then, it becomes your turn in the conversation again. Our members of the “club” need to understand this.
Since blogging, tweeting, and commenting are becoming the new form of written expression, we as teachers have a responsibility to create opportunities for students to practice these skills OFFLINE first. Essentially, they are prewriting. Pretty sure they fits in a standard somewhere!
Resources for building skills offline: