Leu, D. J., & Forzani, E. (2012). New literacies in a Web 2.0, 3.0, 4.0, …∞ world. Research in the Schools, 19(1), 75-81.
In this article, the authors share a review of various studies addressing the important aspects of and changes to literacy, mostly within the past decade. They achieve this by discussing findings related to the changes with youths’ Internet and social media practices and the implications for this within the school setting. They also make recommendations for how educators can use the findings from previous studies to reengage students in the classroom. They also discuss the need for redefining literacy assessments within the K-12 setting and also altering teacher education programs in order to better equip teachers to utilize multimodal literacies with students. Finally, they discuss the dual levels theory of new literacies and how the two levels (lower case and upper case) interact with one another and help to inform one another.
Leu and Forzani point out the essential need for further discussion of this topic in their introduction as they mention the unique time we live in where literacy is constantly changing in its mediums, uses, and meanings to many people. They also organize their review effectively by first sharing findings pertaining to the ways in which youth use social media and digital spaces in general in contexts outside of school. Then, they connect this to research discussing how these uses of new literacies can inform classroom practices in order to make learning with digital tools authentic and collaborative, especially within the context of English Language Arts. They then connect these findings to studies discussing the potential for teachers to design multimodal units and classroom opportunities if the gap in teachers’ experience with and knowledge of new literacies is bridged with appropriate professional development and teacher education.
This article connects to my current research interests as it discusses the ever-changing nature of digital technologies and literacy. The concept of new literacies and the idea that digital tools can be used together and in multiple ways to collaborate, meet individual goals and interests, and demonstrate learning connects to the use of technology for K-12 differentiation. The expansion of the way students can utilize new literacies within the classroom setting to access learning, experience learning and social collaboration, and demonstrate the learning they’ve achieved would help to meet individual needs and unique skill sets and interests that all students bring to the classroom.