Teacherpreneurs Mentor Edupunks: The Growth of Digital Literacies

Digital Literacies: Beyond Reading, Writing, and Arithmetic

Note: This post is the third in the nine-part series Teacherpreneurs Mentor Edupunks: Convergence Reshapes Teacher Preparation for Today and the Future and written in the vein of peering intoTeaching 2030. Click here to read the previous post on the imperative of connectivism.

In one of the most influential blog posts of 2007 in educational circles, and it still rings true today, Colorado high school educator Karl Fisch tackled an extremely timely if sensitive question: Is it OK to be a technologically illiterate teacher in the 21st century?  For Fisch the answer is clear.

If a teacher today is not technologically literate – and is unwilling to make the effort to learn more – it’s equivalent to a teacher 30 years ago who didn’t know how to read and write.

Teacher preparation must extend beyond the traditional literacies, as well as technology literacy, which Fisch notes. American media scholar Henry Jenkins coined the phrase Participatory Culture, which calls for new media literacies – an outgrowth of a media-rich society. In his white paper, Confronting the Challenges of Participatory Culture: Media Education for the 21st Century, he calls for the needed skills in the new media culture, which build upon the traditional skills taught in the classroom. Hence, new and emerging skills have been identified that are necessary for students to learn today for them to fully participate in and create their future. Additionally, Kathy Schrock recently identified 13 literacies in a digital age. From data literacy to health literacy, today’s teacher preparation programs must embrace an enlarged application of what it means to be literate in the 21st century.

Today’s ISTE’s NETS for Teachers provides standards for “evaluating the skills and knowledge educators need to teach, work, and learn in an increasingly connected global and digital society.” These standards provide a springboard for preparing today’s teachers.

In 2030, informed by an ever-growing, data-informed learning ecosystem, the literacies will have grown to incorporate advances in learning science and data from the use of ever-increasing sophisticated programs, such as the descendants of today’s gesture-sensing, voice recognition technologies, 3D video mapping, augmented reality, the Internet of Things, and the future emergence of immersive virtual reality and holography. Teacherpreneurs serve as models in understanding and implementing new literacies for learning and guide those who are hacking their own education.

What are your thoughts on the importance of incorporating digital literacies in teacher preparation?