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Sunday, July 04, 2010

Network Learning: A Taxonomy of Critical Literacies #CritLit 2010

From the discussions and reflection so far in the CritLit 2010 course I set out to build on my earlier blog posts and develop my own understanding of critical literacies for the 21st century networked learner. Encouraged by Ruth Howard and John Mak i initially considered developing a taxonomy of literacies in the form of a visual model to capture the elements identified by the Critit2010 group. In considering what to include and how to represent it i started to reflect back on the course materials, presentations and discussions.

Foundational Critical Literacies

Strange as it may seem i have not seen many of the presentations related to the weekly topics, but have worked from the readings and the subsequent blog postings of others. It was good then to work my way through Grainne Conole's presentation on one of the key foundational literacies (as proposed by Stephen Downes) which came in week 1 on Cognition.
Simultaneously i was trying to appreciate the significance of what i would call the other key 'communicative' or 'signifying' foundational literacies of syntactics, semantics and pragmatics and wondering whether these foundational literacies can be worked into my proposed visual model. An example of what i had in mind can be seen is this visual model of Bloom's Taxonomy.

The importance of the other key foundational literacies of 'appreciation of context' and the 'ability to recognise and adapt to change' quickly became apparent in Grainne's presentation. Grainne pointed out that the context of education is itself changing. We have an explosion of new and ever changing technologies, ubiquitous networked access (mobile and broadband) and an abundance of free online tools and applications.Additionally learners themselves are changing - they are growing up 'digital' - i.e technologically immersed, task orientated, group based and just in time mentality and comfortable with multiple representation. This context facilitates new technological approaches that move from a content driven, transmission passive recipient model of learning to a more participative, active and social way of teaching and learning. In this context the six key foundational literacies are going to be much more important for networked learning. Grainne points out that although the technological environment in the 21st century fosters a myriad of affordances (action possibilities) for a learner - the affordances for an individual will be limited to their capabilities - i.e their critical literacies.

Grainne suggests that the technological affordances at all levels (written words and numbers, 1st wave technology - phone, radiot, tape,TV, 2nd wave technology of computer networks, mobiles, the internet) are communication, connection, interactivity and representation and that practices evolve depend on the characteristics of the users (e.g. preferences, interests, skills, context).

We can see for networked learners in the 21st century an example of how critical literacies are important when we consider Grainne's example of using the microblogging service 'Twitter". Examples of use include posting queries, commenting, gathering opinions, sharing ideas, brainstorming, maintaining social presence. We'll just consider some of the issues of using this service that were raised and how they may relate to our foundational critical literacies. Issues identified were:

i) Your 'a-ha' moment (cognition - ability to infer)
ii) is it the right network (context)
iii) your digital voice (syntax, semantics and pragmatics i.e how you communicate)
iv) Inappropriateness (syntax, semantics, pragmatics cognition, context and maybe change)
v) Personal/Private (context and maybe change)
vi) Too much twittering (cognition and maybe change)
vii) Use with other tools (cognition, context and maybe change) and
viii) A passing fad (cognition context and maybe change).

I'd be interested to hear others view on how i have tried to relate these foundational critical literacies to issues raised in twitter. At times i was not sure i could make a clear relationship. Where i feel more comfortable is in trying to align some of the practical (more tangible) literacies identified during this course and positioning these in some sort of schema, taxonomy or model that may inform the inclusion of these critical literacies as part of teaching and learning.

A taxonomy of Critical Literacies (skills) for the networked learner

I have so far collated the information below, i have put it into a semi visual format, but repeated in text format below. Still lots to reflect on, but maybe others would like consider if the top level categories need expanding/changing and what is missing from this taxonomy of critical literacies. Critical thinking skills are considered to be brought to bear on all the critical literacies from 4-7. Final thought as i write this - should these categories be referred to as skills so as not to be confused with our underlying foundational critical literacies.

1. Basic
* i) Reading/Writing
* ii) Numeracy

2. Life
* i) Management of Time, Workload and Prioritising,
* II) Self-Efficacy

3. Computer
* e.g. ECDL - European Computer Driving License

4. Web -
* 1.Managing your Digital Identity - SM
* 2.Recognizing Authenticity and Legitimate Authority - SM
* 3.Emotional and Social Intelligence (Relationship Building and Development inc trust and respect) - JohnM
* 4.Self Expression and Participation - SM
* 5.Wayfinding behaviors and Strategies in Large Virtual Environments – JennyM
* 6.Ask Questions - Think Critically! JohnM

5. Learning
* 1.Interpreting Visual Data RH
* 2.Information management - Network Student Youtube Video
* 3.Self reflection, self-directed learning (with learning agenda, experimentation & practice – JohnM
* 4.Concise, reflective expression and inquiry? . – JohnM
* 5.Appreciating the impact of Complexity Theory? – JennyM
* 6.Literacy of Memory (Storage of data/knowledge/connections –SM
* 7.Storytelling - X28

6. Teaching/ Professional Development
* to explore

7. Research
* to explore


Ruth Howard said...

Thanks so much for your visual taxonomy. In the above link this (USA) Pew Slideshare by @lrainie on 'The Future of the Internet IV' there are several places where the slides point directly or indirectly to upcoming literacies not mentioned by any of us as yet?

Slide 14 kicks off beyond 3 r's 4th r=retrieval
Slide 20 =Reputation management and 'information responsibility'
Slide 24/25=Rendering of knowledge
Slide 26 =Screen literacy
Slide 36 Importance of questions and semantic web, 'conversational search'

It lures one to review the original research doesnt it?!

Steve Mackenzie said...

Cheers Ruth,

i shall look forward to having a look through. I am sure there are loads of angles on this. I will drop these into a wiki soon and we can amend as appropriate as we go along


jenny mackness said...

Another great and very helpful post Steve. I am struggling to find the time to think through the content of the Crit Lit course and I have missed a couple of the live sessions - so it's really helpful to read your posts. This type of situation is where networked learning can have so many positive spin offs. Thanks - Jenny

Matthias Melcher said...

Have you seen George Siemens' Connectivism Taxonomy ?

Steve Mackenzie said...

thanks Matthais - i shall read more at a later date and consider how it all fits together (or not)

Sui Fai John Mak said...

Hi Steve,
Here is my response post

MarĂ­a Fernanda Arenas said...

Steve, thank you very much for your post. May I suggest other taxonomies?

The ethics of the human race
Self leadership
Dealing with uncertainties

Teaching/ Professional Development
Ability to work collaboratively; the intellectual level of the group at the service.
Communicating habilities

Ability to establish relationships with others, to interact culturally, to identify level of communication and different needs;
To share information and point of view emphatically
Manage social technologies to participate on conversation and social use of them.
Consciousness of the risks of a non appropiate use of technology.

It was an interesting summarize of Critical Literacies.

Regards. M.F.

Steve Mackenzie said...

Many thanks Maria for your input on this. I hope to include this listing on a wiki page soon. You and others will be welcome to edit and develop.

There are many different angles and approaches to categorising. Helps to clarify what you think and understand better the issues.

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