The Importance of Critical Literacy in the Digital Age



and here we see a most remarkable specimen the Pacific Northwest tree octopus majestic agile intelligent and entirely fake yep fake made-up all lies and a story goodbye for Hangul is fake why is there a website about it well a little background first when the internet started in earnest it was what Oh Riley termed webform this is basically the world as it was before but accessible digital experts or organizations produce goods that people can use but over the internet rather than over the counter for example if you wanted to find some information on say a particular type of octopus you could look it up on sites like Britannica online the online version of the Encyclopedia Britannica web 2 is a very different creature web 2 is made up of websites like Google Wikipedia or Amazon unlike their web 1 predecessors web 2 is much more collaborative Wikipedia for instance is the Encyclopedia that anyone can edit Google is similar with Google there's no products we bought or downloaded put a service that can be used if xsplit for free and interestingly Google is shaped by what people search for the more a subject is searched the higher up the results page that search result goes so Google is collaborative and user-generated as well now this anyone can edit thing has some real upsides new information can be gathered and disseminated more quickly than ever before but it also presents some challenges namely trustworthiness if anyone can edit and how can we trust the source is accurate somebody might have got it wrong door deliberately lies someone might invent an entirely new type of octopus just to confuse making or trick Google ins displaying US President George Bush as the top of search results and miserable failure or even manipulate the scientific facts on something as innocuous as warts to make it sound like a dangerous chemical seriously this one happened is called the dying hydrogen monoxide hopes and it's caused some trouble in 2007 a New Zealand National Party MP fell for the hoax and wrote a letter to the Associate Minister of Health asking him to look into banning the drug unaware that she just asked him to ban water luckily the ministers but Quartus if the press had got hold of that that could have been embarrassing oh hang on they did now this is where a NEPA critical literacy comes in critical literacy has defined by McLaughlin and des Baux is the ability to question presented information as opposed to taking in media in a passive state now it's not about doubting everything out of hem but critiquing the information or text and recognizing that texts are not produced in a vacuum but by people with their own entities biases and interests these will not always align neatly with the interest of the reader in this sense critical literacy is not only about nobly seeking after truth about recognizing where power lies and addressing the injustice or unfairness that could stem from that imbalance of power it's about considering whose meanings count and whose Darington who benefits or is disadvantaged from that which discourse around the topic is dominant and which is not this is even more important in the world of web to where there are often no clear authors of the text as cress knows the authors of Wikipedia for instance on either a community nor a team nor necessarily as all members of the same group authorship is by a collection of people who may be entirely diverse socially speaking unknown to each other rather than a means grows a coherent group the objects based examples are shared earlier or an extreme example of this but I think they serve my point well if you want critical when reading the text then you can end up believing things that simply aren't true so all of this is really interesting but how does it relate to education I hear you cry well what is education about it's about learning new skills of sale which ones whose size is about learning the facts and figures that signs and symbols of a culture in a Hirsch inspired cultural literacy format if so which ones are important who decides and why decisions about education are made by people with their own in expertise biases and interests if you approach education from three heirs position that we should take a problem posing approach oriented around investigation as opposed to the jargon mode banking approach which positions the teacher is the source of all knowledge then being able to pratik sources of information is essential in the web to world of today yet as of 2015 in the whole of the UK secondary school curriculum there's only a small section that can be read as pertaining to critical literacy and not a single mention of the subject written in the computing section which focuses almost entirely on being able to use the technology this curriculum stems focusing on providing pupils with the skills needed to access the technology largely occurs the prevailing stance on provision as Bucknam States over the past 20 years there has been a massive investment in providing information and communication technologies in schools today however this emphasis has largely been on providing access some policymakers still seem to assume that wiring up schools will produce automatic benefits irrespective of how these technologies are actually used to mean this is problematic access without understanding in today's web to internet of limited authorship and increasingly indistinct identity could well lead someone to believe in something that isn't altogether true

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