Critical Literacy - a change in definition; a change in how we read/write/speak

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Robert Farrow
25 October 2011

Margaret Ellington ("Peggy"

This talk was a description of the process of writing an open textbook on the subject of critical literacy.

The first slide of a student's work was about the history of literacy (as writing) which goes back into pre-history.  Ellington noted that her students included website addresses as part of their assignments; something that she wouldn't have expected.  The piece developed the student's research through different kinds of literacies and their cultural and political contexts and included some embedded information.  Ellington was surprised at some of the things her students uncovered.

In particular, students became interested in the relationship between notions of literacy and the power structures operative at a particular historical point.

In brief, open resources can be effective and can inspire students to take control of their own learning.

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Robert Farrow
8:08pm 25 October 2011


Some points from the Q&A

  • It turns out that the materials are located within a closed LMS rather than an open wiki
  • It's not clear that there's a strong sense of 'critical' in this idea of critical literacy:  a lot of information could have been harvested from Wikipedia, for example, more or less unchanged
  • The project has yet to be peer-reviewed
  • Nonetheless, there was a feeling that this was a brave step towards a change in the way that students might develop their own literacies

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