The Evolving Cohort


Last weekend as we all went back into our corners for Reading Week, such as it was, a curious thing happened. Our network as a MACT cohort underwent exponent amplification as we shared poster concepts, crowdsourced contacts and worked together at a scale that I hadn’t seen before. Flash back to a year ago when we first came together. Yes, we connected and we definitely worked together, but over the year, our network has strengthened through our working together on the core courses and learning more about each other. It has also been strengthened by our growing digital literacy and familiarity with Twitter as a social media platform, but also blogging and the course wiki.

Digital literacies are new media literacies as well. Lane Wilkinson is a prolific blogger and librarian who has prepared this chart which outlines what he describes as communicative and evaluative literacies. The left hand side – the communicative literacies – include the skills that will enable us to communicate. It used to be if you could read and write, you were considered literate. In our new digital world, we also need to be able to navigate social media platforms and the web. And if we want to be multilingual, as it were, we need to master some rudimentary visual design skills, learn to make a sound recording which can be uploaded, embed a music file or video, and even create a video. Those are skills that will give us the ‘languages’ we need to express ourselves.

I was stretched this weekend doing my poster, but there were some power people in this regard within our cohort who were very generous. Thank you to you all, and for me, thank you especially for Sylvia, who pulled me out the dragon pit yesterday. I am more design ‘literate’ as result of this weekend boot camp and that’s all to the good.

The world is going to continue to change. Take a look at this Ted Talk by Jane McGonigal: Gaming can make a better world. She’s awesomely inspiring and watching this makes me feel much better about the hours my son spends gaming. We are using our newfound digital abundance wisely and frivolously, but it doesn’t matter much: It’s all creating a richness of interaction that benefits us all.


4 Responses to “The Evolving Cohort”

  1. 1 KateInAlberta

    Excellent post Judith! I appreciate the insights into the inner workings of 2011 cohort’s network. Fascinating and gratifying to see your community coalesce. I appreciate your comments about the new digital literacy, which is so essential, as you point out.

  2. Thanks, Kate. Transliteracy is interesting work. I’ve been practicing a bit of video with iMovie – my results look like what a sweater would look if it was me knitting it, but I’m enjoying it. Has anyone told you about our secret Facebook page? Shhh. The ultimate backchannel…

  3. Judith, love your post. Remember last year when I commented in class that I was tired of people using the excuse of teachers not using computers in the classroom or encouraging computer related assignments because it wasn’t fair to those that did not have a computer? At the time I recall you disagreed with me, but perhaps I wasn’t saying it as eloquently as you have, because basically your post is what I was trying to say. Digital literacy is so important and we are only disadvantaging kids by not teaching it to them. Even if everyone doesn’t have a computer, there are enough publically available computers in our society that there really is no excuse not to encourage digital literacy.

  4. Thanks, Heather. I think we were probably agreeing more than it came across – my beef has been with the school system’s snail pace in adopting technology. Parents can only do so much at home; kids, particularly those wiht learning disabilities, are not going to stand out more at school if they can help it by being the only one with an adaptive device.

    Stats Canada says that 83% of Alberta households had access to the internet in 2010, so it is probably higher now. The digital divide may be more a fiction than a reality in North America. Check out the Globe and Mail’s article on recent Pew research.

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