Wednesday, September 23, 2009

"Literacy Accountability in a New-Media Age"

Paul Barnwell writes, "The federal No Child Left Behind Act and standardized state curricula and assessments are stuck on a notion of literacy that does not reflect the reality of our time. Schools are accountable to report how well students read, but we’re testing them on print media only. It’s time for the accountability movement to demand that schools teach and foster responsible student use of new literacy forms."

Good on ya, Paul! It is heartening to know that NCTE/IRA standards do get at multiple texts and types of texts beyond print-based ones. There is actually a lot of talk about media study in the ELA TEAKS, the Texas state standards for ELA. Even early drafts of the new "National" standards get at media literacy to some degree by not rigidly defining "text." Yet, those new standards, or their drafts, anyway, only define ELA as reading, writing, listening and speaking, leaving out visualizing and visually representing. That's a major mistake, but due to wriggle room in the language, one easily remedied by smart teachers. The drafts do mention "multimedia sources," "multimedia comprehension," and "visual elements" and an entire section on media. So, there is evidence that people are listening to people like Paul.

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  • This semester, one of our core requirements class objectives was revised to include "new media." I think it's good stuff, but I'm always shocked at how many of my students are illiterate in these mediums, as well :-/

    By Blogger Ben Villarreal, at 2:39 PM  

  • Media literacy K-12 resources available at
    www.frankwbaker.com (The Media Literacy Clearinghouse)

    By Blogger Frank Baker, at 4:01 PM  

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