Unit Two-Paper #2: Assembling/Defining Your Literacy
∑ Assigned Oct. 10. Due Nov. 7.
This unit is the core of the class, and will have three parts that build
on one another and overlap.
Situation: This essay asks you to consider the same
problem as Paper #1, but to consider it in a wider scope. We looked
at one skill that may be of use for the 21st century- What else do students
need? As you research and think about your specific literacy needs,
consider how specialized or general those needs are. If the skill you
need is specific, are there general strategies or concepts that will
be important to most students?
Audience/Purpose: Parts One (blogging) and Two (stretching)
are primarily for yourself and others in the classroom. I encourage
you to share your blogging and stretching ideas/projects. For Part Three,
you will need to address an appropriate audience- probably teachers
(like me, but not limited to me), politicians, or perhaps a "general
Products: Part One: Continue to blog and filter
reading material relevant to 21st Century Literacy. Extend your blogging
to reflecting on other tools to use for your 21st Century Literacy (hardware,
software, critical thinking, collaboration, time management). These
blogs should include links. If you have concluded in your first paper
that blogs are of limited or no value to education, propose to me an
alternative means of gathering, storing, and sharing information (e-mail
lists, the Blackboard system, etc).
Part Two: In one of the essays you will read, Elizabeth Moje
and Josephine Peyton conclude that adolescents and young adults need
to "learn new things, to have new experiences.. and to stretch
their thinking" in order to be successfully literate in the 21st
In asking you to stretch yourselves, I do not want you to overload
yourselves mastering a new skill. I expect you to:
-Propose a project to me in writing. Explain how this project is a stretch
for you, and explain how it relates to exploring "new literacy".
-Work with others in the class if you want to work on your collaboration
skills (highly recommended).
-Commit yourself to 15-20 hours (per person) on the project.
-Determine your own grading criteria (an incomplete project, for example,
can still be considered excellent if you come up with a strong outline
or model, develop a few components fully, etc.).
-You provide your own evaluation: use your grading criteria to tell
me whether or not you accomplished your goals. We will both need to
agree to the negotiated grade.
The content you are developing for this unit can be re-organized and
used here (a "Toolkit Web Site" or an instructional video),
or you can work on some tools and skills that might be useful to your
future plans (CAD, Flash, Photoshop, Freehand, etc).
Part Three: After you have researched new literacy in Part
One and experimented with new tools in Part Two, I want you to reflect
on those experiences by doing one of the following:
1. Write a fairly academic paper addressed to an appropriate audience
in which you reflect on the meaning of "new literacy" and
make a proposal for appropriate literacy education in the 21st Century.
2. Write a "manifesto" in which you define "new literacy"
and speculate on both the needs and outcomes for new literacy education
in the 21st Century (or argue against all the "new literacy"
3. Produce a "new media essay" (video-essay or web-essay or
Flash piece, etc) that will illustrate your new literacy skills even
as you reflect on them.
4. Some other project that encompasses the requirements (get an OK from
Regardless of which option, you will need to define "new literacy"
by drawing on the material you have read, and personalize "new
literacy" by reflecting and speculating on what skills and tools
you are likely to need in the next 5, 10, 15 years. The first two options
should be 5-7pages; the third and fourth options are
difficult to quantify-- talk with me about its quantity before you undertake
Questions to possibly answer:
What is "new literacy" to you? To the experts? What will work
in the 21st Century and Why? Why did you pick the tools that went into
your toolkit/project? Compare/Contrast that to what experts say should
be used. What did you use for your "stretch project" and why?
What did you learn from doing your "stretch project"?