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New Literacies and Teacher Learning

Professional Development and the Digital Turn


Michele Knobel and Judy Kalman

New Literacies and Teacher Learning examines the complexities of teacher professional development today in relation to new literacies and digital technologies, set within the wider context of strong demands for teachers to be innovative and to improve students’ learning outcomes. Contributors hail from Argentina, Australia, Canada, Finland, Mexico, Norway, and the U.S., and work in a broad range of situations, grade levels, activities, scales, and even national contexts. Projects include early year education through to adult literacy education and university contexts, describing a range of approaches to taking up new literacies and digital technologies within diverse learning practices. While the authors present detailed descriptions of using various digital resources like movie editing software, wikis, video conferencing, Twitter, and YouTube, they all agree that digital «stuff» – while important – is not the central concern. Instead, what they foreground in their discussions are theory-informed pedagogical orientations, collaborative learning theories, the complexities of teachers’ workplaces, and young people’s interests. Thus, a key premise in this collection is that teaching and learning are about deep engagement, representing meanings in a range of ways. These include acknowledging relationships and knowledge; thinking critically about events, phenomena, and processes; and participating in valued social and cultural activities. The book shows how this kind of learning doesn’t simply occur in a one-off session, but takes time, commitment, and multiple opportunities to interact with others, to explore, play, make mistakes, and get it right.
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New literacies emerge and evolve apace as people from all walks of life engage with new technologies, shifting values and institutional change, and increasingly assume ‘postmodern’ orientations toward their everyday worlds. Despite many efforts to take account of such changes, educational institutions largely remain out of touch with the range of new ways of making and sharing meanings that increasingly mediate and shape the lives of the young people they teach and the futures they face. This series aims to explore some key dimensions of the changes occurring within social practices of literacy and the educational challenges they present, with a view to informing educational practice in helpful ways. It asks what are new literacies, how do they impact on life in schools, homes, communities, workplaces, sites of leisure, and other key settings of human cultural engagement, and what significance do new literacies have for how people learn and how they understand and construct knowledge. It aims to challenge established and ‘official’ ways of framing literacy, and to ask what it means for literacies to be powerful, effective, and enabling under current and foreseeable conditions. Collectively, the works in this series will help to reorient literacy debates and literacy education agendas.

For further information about the series and submitting manuscripts, please contact:

Michele Knobel & Colin Lankshear Montclair State University Dept. of Education and Human Services 3173 University Hall Montclair, NJ 07043

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