Digital Tools

This page is a supplement to Mark Pegrum's talk entitled Digital Tools & the Future of Literacy, delivered as part of the Symposium Enhancing Online Literacies at the AILA 2011 World Congress of Applied Linguistics in Beijing, China, 23-28 August 2011.

See other talks in the symposium: Digital Tools (Mark Pegrum) / Tutor Skills & Qualities in Blended Learning (Linda Martin) / Preparing our Students for the Intercultural Reality (Aline Germain-Rutherford) / Learn English or Die (Hayo Reinders & Sorada Wattana) / Transforming Teaching (Regine Hampel & Uschi Stickler)

--Abstract-- Our communication landscape has shifted dramatically in a few short years. New web 2.0 and related tools, ranging from blogs, wikis and podcasts to social sharing services, social networking sites and virtual worlds, are having an increasing impact on our everyday lives - and our everyday language and literacy practices. It's more crucial than ever for language teaching to encompass a wide variety of literacies which go well beyond traditional print literacy.

Multimodal (multimedia) literacy takes into account the visual and audio elements which increasingly complement text on the internet. Information literacy is about acquiring the search and evaluation skills necessary to navigate through misinformation and disinformation to find reliable sources online. Intercultural literacy is essential in a rapidly globalising world where different languages and cultures are coming into ever closer contact across digital networks. Remix literacy, finally, is a macroliteracy which is becoming the hallmark of the digital age, as young people mash up pre-existing texts, images, music and videos to create new meanings.

This paper examines the above literacies one by one, showing how language teachers can incorporate elements of each into their everyday classroom activities. It demonstrates that combining traditional print with multimodal, information, intercultural and remix literacies can make the language classroom much more dynamic - and much more relevant to students' future lives and future uses of language.

--Links-- The sections below contain links relevant to each of the four digital literacies covered in the talk. They include links to pages summarising key points, as well as links to specific services. Note that not all services may be available in all countries.
For more ideas on multimodal (multimedia) literacy, check out digital storytelling, podcasting, social sharing, and vodcasting tools. The specific services mentioned in the presentation include:
When teaching about information literacy, bogus or spoof websites can be a useful starting place. These are the bogus websites shown in the presentation:

In addition, you can check out the West Australian Education Department's list of Bogus Websites and Phil Bradley's list of Fake Websites or Spoof Websites.
As noted in the presentation, there are many platforms - websites, discussion boards, blogs and wikis - which can be used to set up cross-cultural collaborations to help develop students' intercultural literacy. This is the list of organisations referred to:
Before beginning to teach students about remix literacy, it's worth taking a look at some existing examples of remixes or mashups, and considering the language and literacy benefits of exposing students to this macroliteracy. A quick Google search will turn up more than a million hits! Students will probably also have lots of ideas of their own about the kinds of remixes they would like to create, and the kinds of subjects they would like to address ...


Please feel free to explore the rest of this E-language resource wiki. You are welcome to contact me with comments, suggestions or questions.