Research Topic or Problem To be a member of society in the 21st Century requires an array of skills and capabilities unlike those of any generation before. To be an active member of the information-age, technology is a fact of life, an expectation and a requisite tool by which we communicate, collaborate, create and share information. In the review Building Innovation: Learning with technologies, Katherine Moyle suggests that social networking and other Web 2.0 technologies can ‘help develop literacy skills, critical thinking, teamwork and problem-solving skills’ (ACER, 2010). On the other hand, Luckin et al. (2009) ask if Web 2.0 tools really enable opportunities to learning or are there only a minority of young people effectively using these technologies? Developing innovative and creative learning environments is a fundamental to the goals of 21st century education and an area which needs further investigation.
Draft Research Question
How has the emergence of Web 2.0 and social media expanded our view of new literacies and in what ways can teachers and teacher librarians meet the demand of rapidly transformational technologies whilst supporting participatory, critical and social literacies in digital texts?
From Literature to Research Question and Practical Importance
Educators are constantly looking for opportunities to enhance student learning. Developing student literacy capabilities is a priority amongst teachers and teacher librarians both nationally and globally (ACARA 2013). But are we as educators keeping up with the multimodal ways in which literacy is being consumed and produced?
Teacher librarians can be at the forefront of this educational shift, according to Judy O’Connell, because they can ‘meet readers where they are’ by adopting ‘meta-literacy’ approaches whilst adapting to the digital needs of students (2011). O’Connell maintains the notion that to be multi-literate in the 21st Century means teachers need to rethink methods of instruction as well as the tools and technologies we are using as educators that connect us to our digital world (2011).
‘Transliteracy’, according to Buffy Hamilton, is ‘the ability to read, write and interact across a range of platforms, tools and media from signing and orality through handwriting, print, TV, radio and film, to digital social networks’ (2010). Hamilton shares the view that students need to be heard, seen, and participate in a variety of multi-modal and multi-literacy activities including social networking and online communities.
A movement beyond developing traditional literacy skills and understandings in students requires teachers and teacher librarians to transform their own pedagogical practices that accommodate a generational ‘shift’ in the ways we teach and learn (Hay, p. 3, 2010). Information literacy in the 21st Century requires a new ‘mindset’ (Asselin & Moayeri, p. 2, 2011) that involves a movement away from complete consumerism and a giant step toward students becoming producers, participants and distributors of ideas, knowledge and information.
The practical importance of the research question is that teacher librarians, in particular, are positioned to become leaders in the acquisition and dissemination of information literacy in all its forms and functions. If teacher librarians are skilled with the right technological tools then they can be at the forefront of building the innovation. How teacher librarians will meet the demands of the ‘digital reshift’ (Hay, 2010) and embrace the challenges of the expanding web of literacies presented through social networking and Web 2.0 technologies is an area of interest and importance particularly with respect to the ‘General Capabilities’ of the new Australian Curriculum (ACARA, 2013) and the transformational nature of the digital environment.
Australian Council for Educational Research (ACER), (9 March, 2010), Social networking provides new opportunities for learning [Media Release]. Retrieved from http://www.acer.edu.au/media/social-networking-provides-new-opportunities-for-learning/
Australian Curriculum Assessment and Reporting Authority (ACARA), (2013), General Capabilities, Retrieved from http://www.australiancurriculum.edu.au/GeneralCapabilities/Overview/General-capabilities-in-the-Australian-Curriculum
Asselin, M. & Moayeri, M., (2011), The Participatory Classroom: Web 2.0 in the Classroom. Practical Strategies, Literacy Learning: The Middle Years, (19)2, 1 – 8. Retrieved from http://ictandliteracy.files.wordpress.com/2012/03/practical-strategies.pdf
Hamilton, B. (2010), NJASL 2010 Keynote: Participatory Librarianship – Creating Possibilities Through Transliteracy, Learning and Linchpins. Retrieved http://theunquietlibrarian.wordpress.com/2010/12/03/njasl-2010-keynote-participatory-librarianship-creating-possibilities-through-transliteracy-learning-and-linchpins/
Hay, L. (2010), Shift Happens. It’s Time to Rethink, Rebuild and Rebrand [online]. Access (24)4 pp. 5-10. Retrieved http://search.informit.com.au.ezproxy.csu.edu.au/fullText;dn=519376422465087;res=IELHSS
Luckin, R., Clark, W., Graber, R., Logan, K., Mee, A., & Oliver, M. (2009), Do Web 2.0 tools really open the door to learning? Practices, perceptions and profiles of 11–16‐year‐old students. Learning, Media and Technology: Special Issue: Learning and social software – researching the realities. (34)2, pp. 87 – 104. DOI: 10.1080/17439880902921949
O’Connell, J. (2012), Learning without frontiers: School libraries and meta-literacy in action. Access 26(1) pp. 4-7. Retrieved http://www.asla.org.au/publications/access/access-commentaries/school-libraries-and-meta-literacy.aspx