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Presentation - Conole on the Critical literacies course

I'm contributing to an onling critical litearcies course being run by Stephen Downes and Frederika...

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Gráinne Conole
4 June 2010

I'm contributing to an onling critical litearcies course being run by Stephen Downes and Frederika Kop. The focus is around a critical literacies framework Stephen developed which has the following aspects: 

  • Syntax – the ability to recognize and use forms, grammars, patterns and other structural properties of communication. This would include information literacy and ontology of information.
  • Semantics – the ability to connect communicative elements to underlying purposes, goals, objectives, theories or meaning, denotation, reference, truth and understanding. Including new ways of interpreting information and evaluating media, through aggregation and filtering for instance.
  • Pragmatics – the capacity to use communicative elements in actions, or to take actions using communication, to express, commit, interrogate, and engage in interactions. Including being active participants in the world versus passive consumers
  • Cognition – the capacity to infer, or detect faulty inferences, to use communicative elements in order to describe, argue, explain or define. Including the power of reflection, authority of knowledge, stability of knowledge, communication as conversation or as dialogue?
  • Context – the capacity to locate a communication in a wider environment, to understand the impact of this environment on semantics and pragmatics, and to assemble and understand sets of communications as expressive of frames, world views, or deontological constructs. Including issues of power, control, and ownership; motivational and affective issues.
  • Change – the capacity to reason dynamically, to detect and comprehend processes and flows, to understand the impact of progressions and differences, to reason employing dynamic events such as games and simulations.

Course Description: Content for the course is being drawn from the presentation ‘Pedagogical Foundations for Personal Learning’. http://www.downes.ca/presentation/237 This presentation provides a frame for an understanding of the critical literacies required in a networked learning environment. Briefly, the elements are as follows:

My focus is around the cognitive dimension. I've divided my presentation into the following parts:

  • Definitions - a brief look at some of the ways in which literacies are defined/scoped
  • The characteristics of new technologies
  • Mapping to pedagogy
  • Jenkin’s digital skills/literacies
  • Daring to think differently - four suggested ways in which we might begin to interact with and think about new technologies
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