I believe there is a new literacy for networks. In education our definition of being literate has been determined by the ability to read and write in a linear, focused, sustained manner and success in life is predicated in how well one mastered these tasks. Today we have a culture of participatory learning emerging and the word literacy has expanded to include more than reading and writing, IMHO.
I think the movement from solitary studying / learning, which is what I have experienced in my education, to collective / shared learning is a huge shift. We are moving away from brick and mortar, focused learning environments to more global collaborative learning spaces that are not constrained by time or place, where we have the ability to connect, learn, teach, converse with anyone, anywhere in the world. I believe the tools available today through the web are beginning to cause us to rethink our perceptions of time, authority, purpose and relevance. We have the capacity to seek out others to learn with and from, socialize, build relationships outside of our physical space; this has never been possible before. Learning how to develop learning networks, how to find your voice within a network, how to build your online community of learners is something that takes time and can be overwhelming in terms of where to start. We have to learn how to create networks of peers outside of our classrooms, move ourselves into a knowledge sharing environments, it gets messy and uncomfortable, extending yourself to others you do not know can be difficult, being open to others pushing back on your ideas is new for many too.
I am interested in your thoughts, is this a new literacy? If so what does it look like in your own learning, how can it be used it in our teaching?
Image Source Flickr user austinevan