The Changing
Face Of Literacy
The Secret
Language of
Factors In

Teaching Multiple Literacies

By Nicole Long

As a teacher trainer in South Korea, I have struggled with teaching multiple literacies in a culture that emphasizes teacher-centered learning with text as the primary medium.  My first real battle was promoting the idea of using blogs to teach ESL to teacher trainees at Korea National University of Education.  The importance of the various literacies had never been stressed in their own education so the concept of using it in their classrooms was completely foreign.  Thus began my long journey of teaching multiple literacies by conducting Blogging In Education.

My first step was to choose a technology that was uncomplicated, allowed a multi-modal format and had an established foundation in educational pedagogy.  Blogs fulfilled those requirements (Huffaker, 2004).  It was also critical that the trainees have a personal stake in using the technology or it would be abandoned following the project (Cervetti, Damico & Pearson, 2006).

The introduction to new literacies took two forms.  The first was direct instruction and the second was by example on the blog.  Basic computer literacy was addressed and then the trainees were shown how to read icons and navigation symbols on the site as an introduction to digital and visual literacy.  The topic of visual literacy was furthered through the mother blog as students viewed images conveying information to which they could interpret and reply.  They were also asked to apply critical literacy in choosing their own blog topics, using images and commenting on other blogs.

By providing practical experience in a technology that was authentic and meaningful, the trainees gained first hand knowledge that could be carried forward to their own students (Cervetti, Damico & Pearson, 2006).  The project was essentially a synthesis of literacies which created a foundation for using technology as a learning and teaching tool.  To read more about this project go to Blogging in Education