A blog for the Second Language Literacies course from the MA in Learning and Teaching Processes in Second Languages (ML2) at UPB-Medellín
By Shirley Correa
Living in a permanently changing world implies the emergence of new types of relatedness and development, both strongly permeated by technology. We no longer depend on traditional artifacts to communicate since new resources provide us with the possibility to interrelate faster in different ways. As a result, teaching and learning also face the challenge of incorporating technology to foster new practices to make meaning and construc knowledge.
However, the incorporation of technology demands quite a proper understanding of the role they have in learning environments and to what extent they can contribute to broaden the spectrum of literacies related to culture as un umbrella term where many elements convey. In that sense, teachers should be properly informed and trained in the use of ICT to tackle cultural, social and political topics in ther classroom in the light of new literacies which are both multimodal and multifaceted.
According to Rowsell & Walsh, new literacies, multiliteracies and multimodality conceptualize the way new communication practices are impacting on literacy and learning. In consequence, the 21st century classroom must be prepared for the orchestration of different practices and devices to make meaning, always enlightened by teacher and student critical thinking whose processes do not longer depend on linear processing texts but on digital and interactive sources that demand higher level skills.
Thanks to new technologies, education nowadays engages more citizens participating in the construction and questioning of knowledge regarless their origin and social profile. Nowadays we all have a voice to be heard by means of digital text which appears to be an efficient and immediate tool to convey a message around the world. As Gainer stated, “Technological tools can be empowering because they allow ordinary, often marginalized, people to become producers of culture.” Multimodal texts help us analyze reality from a critical position, so educators must be aware of the need to engage learners actively and dynamically in pedagogical practices aiming at raising social and cultural awareness as knowledge and skills are built in learning settings enriched by a meaningful exploration of new literacies.