Monday, October 15, 2012

Are We Illiterate in the 21st Century...

...if we read and write? By most people's standards, the answer is no, of course not! We are, after all, reading and writing. Would that not be the goal? Well... this MAT610 and we are learning about different theories of learning or essentially how to learn and how we learn. Quite frankly, reading and writing is not enough to be "literate" in the 21st century.

Recently, I viewed a YouTube video, ISTE 2012 - Expanding Horizons, that had a quote attributed to Alvin Toffler:  “The illiterate of the 21st century will not be those who cannot read and write but those who cannot learn, unlearn and relearn.”  The quote was rephrased from  Herbert Gerjuoy ( “The new education must teach the individual how to classify and reclassify information, how to evaluate its veracity, how to change categories when necessary, how to move from the concrete to the abstract and back, how to look at problems from a new direction—how to teach himself. Tomorrow’s illiterate will not be the man who can’t read; he will be the man who has not learned how to learn." 

This was not written recently. Alvin Toffler quoted this in his book, Future Shock, in 1970. What is relatively new is the speed and ways in which knowledge turns over and is remixed and recreated. In the article, Connectivism: A Learning Theory for the Digital Age, Siemens states that learning occurs in a variety of ways, from PLN to experiential. No longer is it possible nor desirable to remain in the educational silo (or ivory tower), dependent on textbooks or prior learning to educate students for tomorrow's world. Alec Couros' VoiceThread makes that clear as teachers remark over and over again the necessity for networking through different channels; Lisa Lane emphasizing that the professional development provided to her is no longer enough, and others stating how the development of their PLN expands and enhances their practices.

So, no, it is not enough just to be able to read and write. We must develop our own networks, consisting of our colleagues, virtual and physical, ascertain the validity of information and remix/recreate to send out through our own pipe. I believe that when we understand this process, we are learning to learn.

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