Transcript: Samantha Power on International diplomacy lessons for the US | Mar 18, 2006

A female professor faces her class in a university-type classroom with a whiteboard and computer screen on the wall. She is in her forties with reddish hair in a bob and fringe, and wears a blue dress with a polo neck and glasses.

Heather says THE
TOPIC TODAY IS THE EVOLUTION OF
DIGITAL LITERACIES AND I'M
GOING TO START WITH A VERY,
CONSERVATIVE LOOK AT WHAT
LITERACY IS OFTEN INTERPRETED AS.
SO THIS DEFINITION COMES FROM
THE OXFORD ENGLISH DICTIONARY
ONLINE, WHICH I TAKE TO BE
PRETTY MUCH THE MOST, COMPLETE,
MOST RELIABLE, MOST RECENT,
ETCETERA DEFINITION THAT I CAN
GET MY HANDS ON.
AND WE'RE GONNA HAVE A LOOK AT
THIS FOR A FEW MINUTES, BEFORE
WE START TO THINK ABOUT HOW
LITERACY HAS CHANGED.
SO FIRST OF ALL WHAT WE'VE GOT IS AN
INDICATION THAT THIS IS A VERY,
NEW TERM.
I HAVE A TIMELINE.
I CAN SEE THAT MY LINES GOT
BROKEN THERE.
THE TERM STARTS YOU CAN SEE
WITH THE EXAMPLES UNDERNEATH...

A screen reads "What is Literacy? -- The quality or state of being literate -- knowledge of letters -- condition in respect to education, especially the ability to read and write." The examples that figure at the bottom of the slide are illegible. Over her image, a caption on a yellow slate with a lamp-bulb logo reads "Heather Lotherington -- Multilingual Education, York University."

Heather says IN 1883.
I MEAN THAT'S BARELY A CENTURY
AND A QUARTER AGO.
THIS IS A NEW WORD AND IT'S A
BACK FORMATION FROM ILLITERACY,
WHICH WE'LL JUST TAKE A BIT OF
A LOOK AT.
I DON'T ACTUALLY THINK
ILLITERACY IS POSSIBLE TO BE
VERY FRANK IN THIS DAY AND AGE.
I THINK THE SEA OF ENCODED
MESSAGES THAT WE LIVE IN...
I THINK IT'S IMPOSSIBLE TO LIVE,
UNLESS YOU LIVE IN A CAVE OR
SOMETHING LIKE THAT.
TO LIVE IN CONTEMPORARY SOCIETY
AND BE COMPLETELY UNAWARE AND
UNATTENTIVE TO WHAT EVENTUALLY
WE WILL BE CALLING LITERACY.
I DON'T THINK IT'S POSSIBLE.
DAVID BARTON HAS DONE A LOT OF
WORK LOOKING AT HOW PEOPLE ARE
RESPONDED TO WHO ARE THOUGHT TO
BE ILLITERATE.
AND HE'S COME UP WITH METAPHORS
FOR IT --

She reads off a slide and says Sickness, handicap, ignorance, incapacity, oppression, deprivation and deviance.

Heather continues LITERACY IS TAKEN TO BE A
NECESSARY CONDITION IN THIS DAY
AND AGE, AND IF YOU'RE NOT
THERE YOU'RE CONSIDERED TO BE
"THERE'S SOMETHING THAT'S REALLY
WRONG WITH YOU."
AND A QUOTE THAT I THOUGHT WAS
KIND OF CUTE WAS...

She reads off a slide and says Talking about a disease which has to be eradicated is also a common way in which the media discuss literacy as a social issue. Powerful images can be built up with this metaphor. Further links are suggested by a cursory glance at newspaper headlines in Canada -- Illiteracy is often linked with criminality. In the United States, the illiterate is a drain on the economy -- In Britain, an illiterate individual cannot get a job and is held back.

Heather continues SO WE
RETURN TO THE DEFINITION AND
JUST HAVE A LOOK THROUGH IT.
AND THE VERY FIRST PART OF IT
WAS THE QUALITY OR STATE OF
BEING LITERATE.
DO YOU REMEMBER THOSE DAYS IN SCHOOL
WHEN YOU HAD A WORD TO LOOK UP
IN THE DICTIONARY?
LITERACY AND YOU LOOK IT UP AND
IT SAYS THE QUALITY OF STATE OF
BEING LITERATE.
AND YOU THINK WELL, THAT DIDN'T
REALLY GET ME VERY FAR.
SO WE'LL HAVE A QUICK LOOK AT
WHAT THIS, WHAT LITERATE NAMES
AND THE VERY FIRST THING THAT
WE SEE IS THAT IT'S A MUCH
OLDER WORD, WITH THE FIRST
USAGE QUOTED FROM 1432.
SO SUDDENLY WE'RE LOOKING AT
SOMETHING THAT'S A LITTLE BIT OLDER.
AND IT COMES OUT WITH THE USUAL
STUFF ABOUT BEING ACQUAINTED
WITH LETTERS AND LITERATURE.
"OF OR PERTAINING TO LETTERS, TO
LITERARY MEN."
SO WE ALSO HAVE AN INKLING HERE
THAT THERE'S A SOCIAL PROBLEM
WITH THIS BECAUSE, AS FAR AS I
KNOW, WOMEN ARE ALLOWED TO BE
LITERATE AS WELL.
AND THEN THERE WAS SOME MINOR
DEFINITION ABOUT LOOKING LIKE A LETTER.
IN A NOMINAL FORM, AGAIN, YOU
COME OUT WITH A LITERATE BEING
A LIBERALLY EDUCATED OR LEARNED PERSON,
AND THIS IS THE ONE THAT SOCIETY LIKES --
ONE WHO CAN READ AND WRITE, AS OPPOSED TO ILLITERATE.
UM, AND THERE ARE TWO LITTLE ONES
THERE. ONE WAS A QUALIFICATION YOU CAN
GET FROM THE CHURCH OF ENGLAND
IN PARTICULAR CIRCUMSTANCES.
AND THE OTHER ONE, THE FOURTH,
I'VE GRAYED THESE OUT BECAUSE
THEY'RE VERY MINOR DEFINITIONS.
BUT AFTER I DID THAT I THOUGHT
ABOUT THE FOURTH ONE, WHICH IS
A LADY LITERATE IN ARTS. A TITLE
CONFERRED ON THE HOLDER OF A HIGHER CERTIFICATE
FOR WOMEN ISSUED AT SAINT ANDREW'S UNIVERSITY
SO THIS AGAIN IS AN INKLING THAT
SOMETHING IS WRONG IN THE WAY
WE'RE LOOKING AT LITERACY, WHEN
WOMEN ARE OUTSIDE OF THE
DEFINITION ALL TOGETHER,
BECAUSE THAT'S 50 PERCENT OF THE
POPULATION...
THOUGH, I HAVE BEEN THINKING
ABOUT GOING TO THE UNIVERSITY
OF ST. ANDREWS AND KNOCKING ON
THE DOOR AND SAYING "I CAN READ,
I'M A WOMAN, GIVE ME MY DIPLOMA."
[Some chuckle]

Another dictionary definition appears, headed "Literature."

Heather says
LITERATURE -- ACQUAINTANCE WITH
LETTERS OR LITERATURE, HUMANE,
POLITE LEARNING, ETCETERA -- IS AN
EARLIER WORD STILL, WHICH GOES
BACK TO THE LATE 14TH CENTURY.
AND IT HAS A COUPLE OF USES
THAT WE'RE VERY FAMILIAR WITH,
BUT WE ALSO SEE THAT IT GOES
RIGHT DOWN TO PRINTED MATTER OF
ANY KIND.
IN OTHER WORDS THERE'S A WHOLE
LOT OF STUFF THAT'S INCLUDED
UNDER THE, THE WORD LITERATURE.
I THINK THAT'S GOOD...
I THINK THAT THAT BODES WELL FOR
WHAT WE'RE GOING TO BE LOOKING
AT BECAUSE WITH THIS DEFINITION
WE COULD TAKE A LOOK AT THE TOP
PICTURE, WHICH IS FROM THE BOOK
OF KELLS, WHICH WAS AN
ELABORATELY WRITTEN AND
ILLUSTRATED MANUSCRIPT DONE BY
MONKS IN THE NINTH CENTURY,
WHICH HAS SOME BIBLICAL TEXTS IN IT.

A multi-coloured illumination beside quaint Anglican Gothic script portrays angels with trumpets. A page of an Archie comic figures below it.

Heather continues IT'S AT THE UNIVERSITY OF
DUBLIN, TRINITY COLLEGE, AND
IT'S A BEAUTIFUL MANUSCRIPT.
BUT UNDER THIS DEFINTION OF
LITERATURE THE BOOK OF KELLS AND
AN ARCHIE COMIC FROM THE 20TH
CENTURY BOTH FIT.
THAT MEANS THAT THIS WORD HAS
GOT A LOT OF WIGGLE ROOM, WHICH
I THINK IS GOOD.
"THE QUALITY OR STATE OF BEING
LITERATE, KNOWLEDGE OF LETTERS."
WELL, THIS IS KIND OF FUN WHEN
I LOOK THIS UP.
THE VERY FIRST THING TO SAY
ABOUT IT IS THAT THIS IS A
DIFFICULT WORD TO TRANSLATE.
IT'S NOT ONLY IN THE ENGLISH
LANGUAGE THAT "LITERACY" IS PROBLEMATIC.
UM, AND IT DOESN'T TRANSLATE
VERY WELL, AND THAT'S IN FACT
WHAT I GOT FROM THE ONLINE
FRENCH DICTIONARY THAT WE HAVE,
IT'S A FRENCH-ENGLISH
TRANSLATOR THAT WE HAVE THROUGH
THE LIBRARY.

The slide reads "Sorry, literacy is not in the dictionary!"

Heather says AND I
THOUGHT THAT WAS SO NICE TO
FIND THAT, THAT I'D HAVE TO
INCLUDE THAT.
BUT WHEN YOU LOOK IT UP YOU
FIND WORDS SUCH AS...
[Talking in background]
RIGHT, AND THE SPANISH EQUIVALENT,
ALFABETIZACION, AND ALSO THEY
HAD INSTRUCCION.
IN OTHER WORDS BEING LETTERED,
KNOWING LETTERS OR THE
ALTERNATIVE, INSTRUCTION.
AND THIS IS WHERE WE BEGIN TO
SEE THE CONNECTION BETWEEN
LANGUAGE, LITERACY AND
EDUCATION, WHICH EVERYBODY
THINKS IS "SITUATION NORMAL."
WHAT I HOPE TO SHOW YOU IS A
CONSTRUCTION, A TIGHT KNOT
THAT'S BEEN MADE FOR US FOR A
PARTICULAR WAY TO SEE LITERACY.
UM, AND THE MOST IMPORTANT
THING THERE IS JUST TO THINK
ABOUT THE FACT THAT THE
ALPHABETIC UM, THAT ALPHABETS
HAVE BEEN PRIORITIZED IN THIS
KIND OF DEFINITION.
NOW, WHAT I WANT TO DO IS TO
DEMONSTRATE TO YOU HOW NARROW AND
LIMITED THIS IS.
ALSO IT MEANS OF COURSE THAT IF YOU
KNOW YOUR LETTERS YOU'RE ALL
SET. YOU DON'T HAVE TO DO ANYTHING
WITH THEM. YOU DON'T HAVE ANY AGENCY WITH
THEM OR ANYTHING.
YOU JUST HAVE TO KNOW THEM.
AND IN OUR CURRENT SCHOOL
SYSTEM THAT WILL TAKE YOU ALL THE WAY TO
ABOUT... SENIOR KINDGERGARTEN,
MAYBE EVEN JUNIOR KINDERGARTEN
TO KNOW THAT.
OKAY, HERE ARE SOME ALPHABETIC
LANGUAGES...

A slide is headed "Prioritizing alphabetic languages."Different alphabets appear, including Hebrew and Thai.

Heather continues ALL OF THE LANGUAGES THAT ARE
SHOWN HERE ARE WRITTEN IN AN ALPHABET.
IN OTHER WORDS YOU COULD BE
LITERATE IF YOU WERE READING OR
WRITING ANY OF THESE LANGUAGES.
I HAVE USED THE ROMAN ALPHABET,
THOUGH I DON'T HAVE ANY ENGLISH
OR FRENCH OR SPANISH PRINT THERE.
UM, I HAVE LANGUAGES WHICH YOU
MAY BE ABLE TO READ.
SOME OF YOU I KNOW WILL BE ABLE TO.
IT'S UNLIKELY ALL OF YOU WILL
BE ABLE TO READ ALL OF THEM.
BUT YOU DO BECOME AWARE
IMMEDIATELY OF HOW LIMITED WE
ARE IN OUR EXPECTATION THAT
LITERACY IS TIED TO PARTICULAR LANGUAGES.
NOW, THESE LANGUAGES ARE NOT
WRITTEN IN ALPHABETS.
THESE LANGUAGES ARE WRITTEN IN
OTHER SYSTEMS, OTHER
ORTHOGRAPHIES, OTHER, KINDS OF SCRIPTS.
SO THEREFORE WITH THE KIND OF
DEFINITION THAT SAYS "KNOWLEDGE
OF LETTERS" YOU CANNOT BE
LITERATE IN CHINESE.
NOW THAT'S NOT VERY GOOD FOR A
QUARTER OF THE POPULATION OF
THE WORLD.
SO CLEARLY THAT'S NOT VERY WORKABLE.

A slide is headed "Processing of syllabic logographic language."

Heather continues I'VE ALSO GOT SOME JAPANESE IN
HERE AS WELL, SOME JAPANESE
MANGA, AND OVER IN THE CORNER
HERE IS A SYLLABARY, A
SYLLABARIUM OF CREE, WHICH IS
AN INDIGENOUS LANGUAGE.
AND THIS KIND OF WRITING SYSTEM
PUTS TOGETHER A CONSONANT AND A VOWEL.
SO IT IS NOT AN ALPHABET.
AN ALPHABET ATTEMPTS TO PUT A
SOUND TO A LETTER.
IT DOESN'T DO THAT VERY WELL IN
ENGLISH, BUT NEVER MIND.
THAT'S THE THEORY.
THIS IS A DIFFERENT THEORY.
WITH THIS THEORY YOU COULDN'T
BE LITERATE IF IT WERE
KNOWLEDGE OF LETTERS.
NOW WE'RE GONNA MOVE AWAY FROM
LANGUAGES ALTOGETHER.
YOU CAN STILL... PART OF THE
DEFINITION WAS THE ABILITY TO
READ AND WRITE.
OKAY, YOU CAN STILL READ AND
WRITE ALL OF THESE THINGS, AND
THERE IS SOME LINGUISTIC
INFORMATION IN THERE.
FOR INSTANCE I HAVE A, A WEBPAGE.
I'LL GET MY CURSOR GOING.
I HAVE A, YEAH, YOU'RE GONNA
RECOGNIZE THIS KIND OF
THING THAT COMES OFF A COMPUTER DESKTOP.
HOW MANY OF YOU LIKE ME LOOK AT
THIS AND SORT OF SAY HELP?
[She laughs]
I HAVE LOTS OF BOOKCASES I BOUGHT FROM
IKEA AND SAT IN THE, YOU
KNOW, ON THE FLOOR AND CRIED
TRYING TO GET THESE THINGS
TOGETHER WITH THESE.
BUT THIS IS READING, YOU KNOW
AND THIS IS INFORMATION THAT
YOU CAN READ.
GOD KNOWS I WOULD NEVER WRITE IT.
SIMILARLY, IF YOU TAKE A LOOK
HERE YOU MAYBE ABLE TO READ AND
WRITE MUSIC.

A slide is headed "Ability to read and write."

Heather continues YOU MAY ONLY BE ABLE, WELL, IF
YOU COULD READ IT, YOU COULD
WRITE IT, TECHNICALLY.
UM, AND THAT'S NOT A LANGUAGE
AT ALL.
YOU HAVE A MIXED SYSTEM HERE
WHERE YOU HAVE LETTERS, YOU
HAVE ENGLISH AND YOU HAVE A
SIGN AS WELL.
BUT YOU'RE ALSO READING OTHER
KINDS OF SYMBOLS LIKE THIS.
NOW THIS IS WHERE I START TO
SAY THAT I DON'T BELIEVE WE
HAVE ANYTHING.
I DON'T BELIEVE ILLITERACY,
LITERACY IS A BINARY.
I DON'T THINK THAT'S A
POSSIBILITY.
I THINK WE'RE LOOKING AT
SOMETHING THAT'S MUCH MORE A
SPECTRUM, BECAUSE I DEFY YOU...
SOMEBODY WHO'S NOT GONNA SEE
THIS ON A DOOR AND EITHER GO
INTO THAT ONE, OR AVOID IT
BECAUSE THAT'S, THAT'S THE SIGN
ON THE DOOR.
UM, HERE WE HAVE A WHOLE SERIES
OF LITTLE ICONS FOR INSTANCE
THAT YOU READ AS WELL, AND YOU
KNOW WHEN YOU SEE THIS ONE WHAT
PROGRAM THAT SYMBOLIZES AND
WHAT YOU'RE GOING TO DO.
THAT SAME SORT OF A SIGN IS
USED HERE AS A ROAD SIGN.
THIS IS NOT A ROAD SIGN.
THIS IS THE GOOD, OLD SMILEY FACE.
I'VE GOT THEM COMING UP IN LATE
ASSIGNMENTS.
AND OF COURSE THE WORLD OF
NUMBERS YOU ALSO READ.
NOW THIS IS EVEN RECOGNIZED BY
A VERY, CONSERVATIVE
ORGANIZATION LIKE THE EQAO.
THAT'S THE EDUCATION QUALITY
AND ASSESSMENT, WHAT IS IT?
EDUC-OFFICE, THANK YOU, OKAY.
UM, AND SO THEY ARE LOOKING AT
A SYSTEM OF NUMBERS AND
ACTUALLY TESTING FOR IT, SO
THEY'RE ACKNOWLEDGING THAT AS
BEING SOME SORT OF ILLITERACY
AS WELL.

Another slide is headed "Condition in respect to education."

Heather continues THE
LAST PART OF IT WAS CONDITION
IN RESPECT TO EDUCATION.
BUT YOU'VE REALLY GOT TO ASK
ABOUT THE LINKS BETWEEN
EDUCATION AND SOCIETY.
UM, ELLIOT EISNER WROTE AN
ARTICLE DECADES AGO ABOUT THE
SABER-TOOTHED TIGER CURRICULUM,
IN WHICH HE -- HE DID
A TONGUE IN, A SORT OF "TONGUE
IN CHEEK" PIECE TALKING ABOUT A
SOCIETY THAT HAD TO LIVE WITH
SABER-TOOTHED TIGERS.
THEN THERE WAS AN ICE AGE AND
ALL THE TIGERS GOT KILLED OFF,
BUT THE CURRICULUM WAS SET.
SO THAT THE PEOPLE WHO WERE IN,
YOU KNOW WHO LIVED THROUGH THE
ICE AGE, THOUGH THE TIGERS
DIDN'T, WERE STILL LEARNING
ABOUT THE BEST WAY TO KILL OR
SKIN OR WHATEVER IT IS YOU DO,
EAT, I DON'T KNOW, OR SAVE
YOURSELF FROM A SABER-TOOTHED
TIGER, EVEN THOUGH THEY'RE
WEREN'T ANY OF THEM AROUND.
SO THAT'S A HISTORICAL
CURRICULUM AT THAT POINT.
AND I THINK THAT REALLY BEARS
THINKING ABOUT IN TODAY'S
SOCIETY BECAUSE WHAT ARE WE
TEACHING, AND WHAT'S HAPPENING
OUT THERE AND HOW CLOSE ARE THE LINKS?
NOW I'M NOT HERE TO DEMONIZE
SCHOOLS AT ALL.
UM, SCHOOLS HAVE GOT ENOUGH
PROBLEMS TO SORT OF HAVE TO
WORRY ABOUT.
AND GOD KNOWS ALL THE
TECHNOLOGY THAT IT TAKES TO
SORT OF RUN A LOT OF THE THINGS
WE'RE GOING TO BE LOOKING AT IS
EXPENSIVE AND DIFFICULT AND NOT
EVERY SCHOOL CAN AFFORD THIS.
AND THE MINISTRY IS NO DOUBT
DOING THE BEST THEY CAN TO TRY
TO OPERATIONALIZE IT, SO THERE
ARE VERY REAL PROBLEMS THERE.
BUT I DON'T THINK THEY'RE THE,
THE WHOLE STORY.
ANOTHER THING IS JUST "IS
LITERACY REALLY A GOAL IN
ITSELF FOR A MEANS?"
IF YOU TAKE A LOOK AT KIDS WHO
ARE GAME PLAYING FOR INSTANCE -
THEY, THEY'RE USING ALL KINDS OF
LITERACIES TO DO WHAT THEY'RE
GOING TO DO AS A MEANS.
SO THEY GO AND THEY CONSULT THE
MENU OR THE MANUAL OR A CHEAT
SHEET, SO THAT THEY CAN GET A
BETTER TRICK.
SO THEY CAN BEAT THE KID WHO
THEY'RE TRYING TO BEAT.
SO THEY CAN BEAT THEMSELVES.
THERE'S ALL, IT'S A MEANS TO DO SOMETHING.
BUT VERY OFTEN HOW LITERACY IS
TAUGHT IN SCHOOL IS A GOAL IN ITSELF.
"THIS IS WHAT YOU DO.
WE'RE GONNA TEST YOU AT THIS."

A slide is headed "Literacy Deconstructed."

Heather continues SO JUST TO DECONSTRUCT THE KIND
OF CONSERVATIVE DEFINITION THAT
I WANTED TO START WITH, WE FIND
THAT THE QUALITY OR STATE OF
BEING LITERATE, UM, DOESN'T
INCLUDE VERY MUCH, BECAUSE WHAT
DO YOU DO, WHAT, WHAT HAS
CHANGED IN SOCIAL,
COMMUNICATIVE, INFORMATIONAL,
TRANSACTIONAL, HEURISTIC,
CRITICAL, INTERPRETIVE
AESTHETIC, MNEMONIC DIMENSIONS
OF LITERACY AND WHERE ARE THEY
IN THAT DEFINTION?
AND THAT WOULDN'T BE A COMPLETE LIST.
SO IT'S JUST TOO, TOO NARROW,
TOO INCOMPLETE.
"A KNOWLEDGE OF LETTERS" IS
UNWORKABLY BIASED AND NARROW.
YOU KNOW IT, ITS STATED, IT'S
DATED, STATIC.
WHAT DO YOU DO WITH THE
KNOWLEDGE ANYHOW?
NO CRITICAL DIMENSION
WHATSOEVER, NO AGENCY WHATSOEVER.
TO KNOW A LETTER'S GREAT.
IT'S A GOOD START.
BUT THEN WHAT ARE YOU GOING TO
DO WITH IT?
SO THE ENTIRE BODY OF WORK OF
PAULO FREIRE FOR EXAMPLE WOULD HAVE
BEEN ABOUT, WAS ABOUT AGENCY IN
LITERACY, CRITICAL LITERACY.
NOT JUST KNOWING LETTERS BUT
MAKING THEM WORK FOR YOU, THE
WAY YOU WANT THEM TO.
CONDITION AND RESPECT TO
EDUCATION, WELL, HMM.
HOW HAS EDUCATION CHANGED?
EDUCATION IS POLITICALLY
APPROVED, SOCIALLY PRIVILEGED,
CULTURALLY SANCTIONED.
IT'S VERY MIDDLE-CLASS, MIDDLE
OF THE ROAD.
IT HAS A WHOLE SET OF
ASSUMPTIONS THAT GO ALONG WITH IT.
WHO JUDGES HOW UP TO DATE
CURRICULUM IS?
AN ABILITY TO READ AND WRITE?
OKAY, THERE'S OBVIOUSLY A
COGNITIVE PROCESSING FACULTY
THAT WE'RE LOOKING AT IN TERMS
OF THE WHOLE KIND OF READING
AND WRITING DIMENSION, OR SET
OF COGNITIVE PROCESSES, AND
THEY GO BEYOND THE WORLD OF LETTERS.
THEN THERE'S A FURTHER QUESTION.
WHAT IS IT THAT'S TO BE WRITTEN
OR READ?
SO LET ME MOVE ON TO THE IDEA OF
WRITING TECHNOLOGIES.

A slide featuring an automatic pencil is headed "Writing Technologies."

Heather continues AND
WHAT IT MEANS TO, TO USE A
WRITING TECHNOLOGY.
AND TO DO THIS I WANT TO TELL
YOU A COUPLE OF STORIES.
THE FIRST ONE COMES FROM FIJI.
I TAUGHT AT THE UNIVERSITY OF
THE SOUTH PACIFIC FOR SIX AND A
HALF YEARS IN THE 90S, AND
DURING THAT TIME, I HAD A PART-
TIME COOK WHOSE NAME WAS KHAN,
VERY SIMPLE.
AND KHAN HAD A, WAS A VERY,
INTERESTING, VERY CHATTY,
ELDERLY GENTLEMAN WHO HAD BEEN RETIRED.
BUT KIND OF MISSED HAVING
SOCIAL CONTACT AND SO HE DID A
LITTLE BIT OF WORK HERE AND
THERE WITH PEOPLE WHO WOULD PAY HIM.
HE'D COME FOR AN AFTERNOON, YOU
KNOW, COOK THREE OR FOUR THINGS
SO FAST AND TALK AND HE WAS
REALLY QUITE A LOT OF FUN TO
HAVE AROUND.
I WAS NORMALLY WORKING, BUT I
ALWAYS, HE FELT LIKE A PART OF
OUR FAMILY.
AND HE TOLD US A STORY ONE TIME
THAT I THINK IS VERY "APROPOS" HERE.
KHAN WAS A MUSLIM INDIAN AND HE
WAS PROBABLY IN ABOUT HIS MID TO
LATE 70S, WHEN HE CAME TO WORK WITH US.
SO HE WAS BORN SOMEWHERE NEAR
THE START OF THE 20TH, YOU KNOW
THE FIRST KIND OF MAYBE 1910, I
DON'T KNOW.
BUT YOU KNOW EARLY 20TH
CENTURY, AND THAT MEANS THAT HE
WAS THE PROGENY OF SLAVES, OF
INDENTURED LABOURERS THAT WERE
BROUGHT TO FIJI TO WORK THE
SUGARCANE FIELDS.
UM, AND I KNOW SOMETHING ABOUT THE
HISTORY OF EDUCATION IN FIJI
AND WHEN AND WHO GOT EDUCATED
AT WHAT POINT, AND MASS
LITERACY DIDN'T HAPPEN FOR
EVERYBODY LIVING IN FIJI AT THE
SAME TIME.
WHEN THE COUNTRY WAS FIRST
TAKEN OVER BY THE BRITS, AND
THAT WAS A, A POLITICAL CESSION
BY THE FIJIANS AND THEN THE
BRITISH COLONIAL GOVERNMENT
CAME IN AND SAID "OKAY" TO THE
FIJIANS, "YOU GO AND WORK THE
SUGARCANE PLANTATIONS."
AND THEY SAID OH, YOU'VE GOT TO
BE JOKING.
THAT'S HARD WORK, NO.
AND SO THERE WAS THIS GREAT
IMPORTATION OF SLAVES FROM ALL
OVER THE INDIAN SUBCONTINENT.
AND FIRST THE COLONIAL CHILDREN
GOT TO LEARN TO READ AND WRITE
IN SCHOOL.
AND THEN AS THE 20TH CENTURY
STARTED THEY DECIDED THAT MAYBE
SOME OF THE FIJIAN KIDS SHOULD
BE EDUCATED, ESPECIALLY IF THEY
CAME FROM THE CHIEFLY CLASSES.
BUT YOU WOULD NOT BE EDUCATING
YOUR INDIAN SERVANTS.
WHY WOULD YOU DO THAT?
YOU WOULDN'T HAVE SERVANTS
ANYMORE IF YOU WERE TO DO THAT
AND SO KHAN NEVER WENT TO SCHOOL.
BUT HE WENT TO WORK WHEN HE WAS
13 YEARS OLD AS A TEA BOY AND
HE, HE IS A VERY INTELLIGENT
MAN AND HE TAUGHT HIMSELF TO
READ AND HE DID VERY WELL.
AND HE WORKED HIS WAY UP TO BE
THE CHEF TO THE GOVERNOR-GENERAL.
SO HE MADE HIS WAY UP TO BE THE
KIND OF BE THE TOP COOK IN THE
LAND, AND HE SERVED THE QUEEN.
THE QUEEN CAME -- NOW THE QUEEN
VISITED FIJI SIX TIMES BETWEEN
1953 AND 1982.
BUT FOR A PERSON WHO IS... WHO
COUNTS HIS LIFE IN DIFFERENT
WAYS, THEN THE KIND OF BOOKS WE
WOULD READ WITH THE DATES IN
IT, I DON'T KNOW WHEN IT WAS HE
SERVED THE QUEEN, AND I SUSPECT
IT WOULD HAVE BEEN EARLIER IN
THAT PERIOD, RATHER THEN LATER.
ANYHOW SHE ENJOYED HIS MEAL AND
SO SHE GAVE HIM A GIFT.
SHE GAVE HIM A BALLPOINT PEN
AND HE THANKED HER PROFUSELY.
AND YOU KNOW SORT OF SLUNK BACK
INTO THE KITCHEN LIKE YOU'RE
SUPPOSED TO AND TOLD US THIS
STORY WITH GREAT MIRTH AFTER,
THAT HE DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO SAY
TO HER THAT HE DIDN'T KNOW HOW
TO WRITE.
THAT HE COULDN'T USE THIS THING.
HE DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO USE IT.
AND WHAT'S REALLY RICH ABOUT
THIS STORY IS THAT IT WAS HER
OWN GOVERNMENT THAT CREATED THE
CIRCUMSTANCES THAT DIDN'T ALLOW
HIM TO LEARN HOW TO WRITE.
IT'S BECAUSE OF THE BRITISH
COLONIAL GOVERNMENT THAT THE
WHOLE POPULATION, NOT JUST
KHAN, DIDN'T GO TO SCHOOL,
DIDN'T KNOW HOW TO LEARN HOW TO
CONTROL A VERY, SIMPLE WRITING TECHNOLOGY.
AND FOR HIM IT WAS A KIND OF
FUNNY STORY AND SLIGHTLY
EMBARRASSING ABOUT WHAT A NICE
PRESENT. HOW DO I USE IT?
WHAT DO I DO WITH THIS THING?
THE BALLPOINT PEN WOULD HAVE
BEEN PROBABLY PRETTY FLASH BACK
IN THOSE DAYS, TO, PRETTY
RAZZLE, DAZZLE TECHNOLOGY
BECAUSE IT WAS ONLY INVENTED IN
THE, IN THE 30S BY A HUNGARIAN
CALLED LASZLO PROBABLY BIRO, I
WOULD IMAGINE.
AND IT WAS PATENTED IN HUNGARY
AND THEN IN ARGENTINA, APPARENTLY.
AND THEN THE BRITISH AIR FORCE,
ROYAL AIR FORCE BOUGHT THE
TECHNOLOGY BECAUSE THEY WANTED
THEIR FIGHTER PILOTS DURING
WORLD WAR TWO TO BE ABLE TO
WRITE IN THE SKY.
WHY THEY'RE WRITING IN THE
SKY? I DON'T KNOW.
BUT ANYHOW THEY BOUGHT THE
TECHNOLOGY AND IF YOU'RE IN
DIFFERENT PARTS OF THE WORLD
YOU WILL OFTEN FIND THAT THIS
IMPLEMENT IS KNOWN AS A BIRO,
WHICH IS THE NAME OF THE
INVENTOR KIND OF ANGLICIZED.

Heather pauses, then says I HAVE
A SECOND STORY ABOUT WRITING
TECHNOLOGIES -- AND IT'S MY DAUGHTER.
WE LEFT FIJI AT SOME POINT.
IT WAS A VERY, PROBLEMATIC
SOCIETY, UM... AND MOVED TO
AUSTRALIA WHERE BY THAT TIME
MAYA MY DAUGHTER WAS IN
SCHOOL. SHE WENT TO SCHOOL FIRST IN
FIJI. BUT SHE WENT TO GRADES THREE TO
FIVE IN AUSTRALIA WHERE YOU
LEARN TO DO CURSIVE WRITING.
AND THEY HAD A POLICY AT THE
SCHOOL, SHE WENT TO A SCHOOL
THAT BEGAN, THAT WAS STARTED IN
1887, SO IT HAD A HISTORY ABOUT
AS LONG AS MASS EDUCATION DOES
IN AUSTRALIA, WHICH IS QUITE NEAT.
AND THIS WAS IN A CENTRAL PART
OF MELBOURNE.
AND SHE LEARNED TO WRITE WITH A
PENCIL, IN THIS LOVELY,
ELABORATE KIND OF CURSORY WRITING.
SHE DIDN'T DO ALL THAT WELL AT
IT, SO IT TOOK HER A LITTLE
WHILE BEFORE SHE GAINED WHAT
WAS KNOWN THERE AS A PEN
LICENSE, BECAUSE UNTIL YOU
LEARN HOW TO WRITE VERY WELL IN
PENCIL, YOU'RE NOT GRANTED A
LICENSE TO BE ABLE TO WRITE
WITH A BALLPOINT PEN, WHEREUPON
YOU GET A NICE, LITTLE LICENSE
AND A PEN.
AND SO ONE DAY SHE CAME BACK
ALL SORT OF WHOOPED UP AND
EVERYTHING AND SHE HAD GOT HER
PEN LICENSE AND SHE HAD HER
VERY OWN PEN.
AND SHE WROTE TO EVERY FRIEND
AND RELATIVE AROUND WITH HER
BEAUTIFUL, CERTIFIED
HANDWRITING AND SAID I HAVE MY
PEN LICENSE!
SO I GET THIS PHONE CALL FROM
MY MOTHER SAYING WHAT'S A PEN LICENSE?
AND I SAID WELL HERE IN SCHOOL
WHEN YOU GO YOU HAVE TO
ACTUALLY EARN A LICENSE TO BE
ABLE TO USE A PEN, TO YOU KNOW
TO BE ALLOWED TO USE IT.
AND SHE SAID OH THAT'S A GOOD IDEA.
SHE SAID I DON'T THINK I COULD
GAIN ONE OF THOSE YOU KNOW IF I
HAD TO DO THAT.
BUT WHAT THESE STORIES SHOW IS THAT
YOU HAVE TO KNOW HOW TO CONTROL
THE TECHNOLOGY.
YOU HAVE TO KNOW HOW TO USE THE
TECHNOLOGY FROM A REAL, BASE POINT.

A "light bulb" caption reads "the Evolution of Digital Literacies."

Heather continues AND
THEN YOU HAVE TO KNOW HOW TO
CONTROL IT WELL ENOUGH THAT YOU
CAN USE IT FOR COMMUNICATION.
NOW I'M GONNA BRING THESE
STORIES BACK A LITTLE BIT LATER
BECAUSE THE WRITING
TECHNOLOGIES WE HAVE THESE DAYS
ARE A WHOLE LOT MORE COMPLICATED.
THE KIND OF LITERACY I'VE BEEN
TALKING ABOUT IS LITERACY AS A
MODERNIST IDEOLOGY.
ITS, YOU KNOW, BETWEEN THE TIME
THAT KHAN GOT HIS BALLPOINT PEN
AND, AND MAYA WENT TO SCHOOL, I
WENT TO SCHOOL.
AND WHEN I WENT TO SCHOOL THIS
IS WHAT LITERACY LOOKED LIKE.

A slide headed "Literacy as modernist ideology" shows a host of writing implements, such as pens, pencils and a typewriter.

Heather continues PENS, PENCILS, CRAYONS, MEMOS,
NEWSPAPERS, FOUNTAIN PENS.
YOU KNOW I, I REMEMBER WRITING
WITH A FOUNTAIN PEN.
I MEAN YOU KNOW YOU THOUGHT HOW
THESE BLOBS ON YOUR FINGER ALL
THE TIME, CAUSE THEY ALWAYS
MAKE A BLOB ON YOUR FINGER AND
A CALLOUS TOO.
REMEMBER THESE, LITTLE
CALLOUSES YOU USED TO HAVE ON
YOUR FINGERS?
KIDS HAVE THEM ON THEIR THUMBS
NOW, FROM USING ALL THOSE SORT OF
HANDHELD THINGS.
NONETHELESS, I USED TO HAVE
THIS YOU KNOW YUCKY BLOB ON MY
FINGER ALL THE TIME.
SO I EVENTUALLY GOT TO USING
TURQUOISE INK BECAUSE THEN MY
BLOB WOULD BE AT LEAST A PRETTY
COLOUR. BUT THIS IS, YOU KNOW THIS IS
WHAT IT LOOKED LIKE WHEN I
WROTE MY THESIS, MY MASTERS
THESIS IN THE EARLY 80S I USED
A TYPEWRITER.
BUT BY THE TIME I WROTE MY
DOCTORAL THESIS IN THE LATE
80S, I USED A COMPUTER AND IN
FACT I COMMUNICATED WITH MY
SUPERVISOR ON EMAIL.
THIS IS BEFORE THE INTERNET,
BEFORE THE GREAT PROFUSION OF
"LIFE, AS WE KNOW IT."

A new slide is headed "Modernist Conceptions of Literacy."

Heather continues MODERNIST CONCEPTIONS OF
LITERACY COME FROM THE
INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION, MASS
PRODUCTION, MASS EDUCATION.
YOU WERE EDUCATED FOR ECONOMIC
REASONS, SO THAT YOU COULD BE
SENT OUT TO WORK.
YOU WOULD KNOW HOW TO READ THE
RIGHT STUFF AND FOLLOW
DIRECTIONS AND WERE A COG IN
THE MACHINERY.
AND THAT'S WHY YOU WERE EDUCATED.
YOU HAD TO COME OUT TO BE ABLE
TO BE A USEFUL PERSON.
THAT COLLOCATION OF "ECONOMIC
BENEFIT AND LITERACY" IS STILL
IN EXISTENCE, STILL VERY MUCH
IN EXISTENCE.
LITERACY WAS READING AND
WRITING IN A DOMINANT LANGUAGE
AND CULTURE.
I MEAN, IF YOU COULD READ,
THAT'S STILL, THAT'S STILL AROUND.
WHEN I TALK TO PEOPLE WHO FOR
INSTANCE KNOW HOW TO SPEAK
CREOLE THEY'RE OFTEN VERY KIND
OF RETICENT TO TALK ABOUT IT
BECAUSE THEY FEEL IT'S SOMEHOW
NOT, NOT A LANGUAGE YOU WOULD
WANT TO READ AND WRITE.
WHICH IS JUST SO UNTRUE.
THERE'S, THERE'S NO, I MEAN
ENGLISH WAS LIKE THAT IF YOU GO
BACK ENOUGH CENTURIES.
YOU KNOW YOU'D BE READING IN LATIN.
YOU WOULDN'T BE READING IN THIS
LANGUAGE OF GOATHERDS AND
MILKMAIDS AND THAT'S WHAT
ENGLISH WAS WHEN YOU GO BACK
FAR ENOUGH.
UM, TEXTS WERE ARTIFACTS OF
MODERN TECHNOLOGY.
THE PRINTING PRESS, MOVABLE
TYPE AND IT WAS AS DAVID OLSON
SPOKE HIS TITLE, "THE WORLD ON PAPER."
THAT WAS WHERE IT ALL HAPPENED.
TEXTS, MODERNIST TEXTS, ARE LINEAR.
THEY'RE LINEAR IN PROCESS AND
IN PRODUCT AS WELL.
IF YOU HAVE A MODERNIST TEXT
YOU KNOW WHAT TO DO WITH IT.
THERE'LL BE A TABLE OF
CONTENTS, THERE'LL BE AN INDEX.
YOU KNOW THE PAGES WILL BE IN ORDER.
THERE'LL BE A LIST OF FIGURES,
AND TABLES AND SO ON AND SO FORTH.
UM, SIMILARLY THE WAY YOU PRODUCE A
TEXT GOES THROUGH A WHOLE KIND
OF HIERARCHY.
SO IT'S GOT TO BE ACCEPTED BY A
PUBLISHER, IT'S LOOKED AT BY
EDITORS, BY REVIEWERS.
THERE'S A WHOLE PILE OF PEOPLE
WHO GO THROUGH YOUR PIECE OF
WRITING BEFORE THEY SAY OKAY
THIS CAN BE A BOOK.
OR AN ARTICLE.
IT'S NOT LIKE THIS DOESN'T
STILL HAPPEN.
OF COURSE IT STILL HAPPENS.
BUT WE HAVE SOME ALTERNATIVES
NOW THAT WE'RE GONNA LOOK AT IN
A SECOND.
SO WE HAVE VERY KIND OF
PATTERNED, HIERARICHAL
PROCESSES TO CREATE A TEXT AND,
AND ALSO WHAT THE TEXT LOOKS LIKE.

A new slide pops up, headed "Literacy as Postmodern Ideology." It features all kinds of electronic gadgets.

Heather continues OKAY, WELCOME TO TODAY.
UM, TEXTS CAN BE ANIMATED,
ORCHESTRATED, THEY CAN MOVE AROUND.
WE HAVE A WHOLE LOT MORE IMAGES
THAT PEOPLE ARE DEALING WITH
AND WE'LL LOOK AT THOSE VERY SHORTLY.
UM, IN FACT WE'RE LOOKING AT
REALLY A, A HUGE REVOLUTION IN
WHAT IT IS WE'RE ACTUALLY
READING AND WRITING.
SO THE WORLD OF THE BALLPOINT
PEN HAS BEEN COMPLEXIFIED ENORMOUSLY.
THIS IS REALLY AN ERA KNOWN AS
POST-MODERNISM.
SO WE'RE... WE'RE PAST THE MODERN
ERA AND HERE'S WHERE WE ARE.
AND THE REVOLUTION THAT'S
AFFECTED EVERYTHING IS THE
INFORMATION REVOLUTION, RATHER
THEN THE INDUSTRIAL REVOLUTION,
AND THAT'S CREATED A "KNOWLEDGE ECONOMY."
A VERY DIFFERENT SORT OF
ECONOMY, SOMETIMES KNOWN AS THE
"ATTENTION ECONOMY," AND I THINK
ACTUALLY THEY'RE ONTO SOMETHING
REALLY BECAUSE YOU'RE SPENDING
ALL OF YOUR TIME TRYING TO
FIGURE OUT WHERE TO PUT YOUR ATTENTION.
THE LIMITED ATTENTION YOU HAVE
LEFT AFTER THE FLOOD OF PAPER,
IN OUR SUPPOSEDLY PAPERLESS SOCIETY.
UM, THE KIND OF WAY WE'RE
LOOKING AT LITERACY NOW IS AS
"MULTILITERACIES" BECAUSE IT WAS
ALL KIND OF TOO LIMITED BEFORE.
WE HAVE TO THINK ABOUT
MULTIMODALITY FOR INSTANCE.
IT ISN'T JUST ALL HAPPENING ON PAPER.
IN FACT MOST OF IT IS HAPPENING
THROUGH SCREENS AND WHAT I'VE
GOT HAPPENING HERE IS AN
EXAMPLE OF THAT WITH TWO
SCREENS AND A BUNCH OF PAPER IN BETWEEN.
SO WE'VE GOT BOTH THINGS HAPPENING.
ALSO IT FINALLY HAS DAWNED ON
PEOPLE THAT YOU CAN'T JUST BE
LITERATE IN ONE DOMINANT LANGUAGE.
THAT LITERACY IS PORTABLE.
YOU CAN BE LITERATE IN A WHOLE
BUNCH OF DIFFERENT LANGUAGES.
YOU CAN READ THINGS THAT ARE
NOT LANGUAGE.
YOU KNOW THESE THINGS ARE, ARE
ON A LITTLE SHAKIER GROUND THEN
HAD BEEN PRESUPPOSED.
AND GUESS WHAT?
WE LIVE IN A HIGHLY,
MULTICULTURAL WORLD NOW, IN
WHICH THERE ARE LOTS OF
DIFFERENT LANGUAGES TOGETHER.
SO IT'S ALTOGETHER A MUCH,
MORE COMPLEX SITUATION.
UM, AND THE TIMELINE FOR
LOOKING AT THIS IS MUCH, MUCH
MORE RECENT.
TEXTS ARE NOW ARTIFACTS OF
DIGITAL TECHNOLOGIES.
SO, IT'S "INFORMATION
ARCHITECTURES" INSTEAD OF THE
PRINTING PRESS.
AND YOU'VE GOT A VIRTUAL WORLD
THROUGH SCREENS, NOT A WORLD ON PAPER.
IT'S NOT A LINEAR WORLD.
IT CAN BE NON-LINEAR, IT CAN BE
MULTILINEAR.
THE, UM, THE INTERACTIVITY
THAT'S POSSIBLE THROUGH SCREENS
MEANS THAT YOU CAN HAVE REALLY,
MULTI-WAY COMMUNICATION
HAPPENING IN LOTS OF DIFFERENT
WAYS, WITH LOTS OF DIFFERENT PEOPLE.
THE POTENTIAL IS VERY DIFFERENT.
THE PROCESS CAN BE MEDIATED BY
TECHNOLOGY IN A MUCH, MORE
DEMOCRATIC WAY.
I MEAN, I'M SURE MANY OF YOU
KNOW THE WIKIPEDIA.
UM, IT'S AN EXAMPLE OF TRULY
DEMOCRATIC WRITING.
IT'S NOT THE MOST, RELIABLE,
YOU KNOW THAT YOU GOT AROUND
BECAUSE IT'S NOT PREREVIEWED.
AND THERE'S NOBODY SAYING "OKAY,
THIS IS ALL, RIGHT.
YOU CAN DO IT THIS WAY NOW."
ANYBODY WHO WANTS TO CHANGE A
DEFINITION CAN GO IN AND CHANGE
A DEFINITION.
BUT APPARENTLY THEIR ERROR RATE
IS ABOUT THE SAME AS THE ERROR
RATE OF THE ENCYCLOPEDIA
BRITTANICA BECAUSE SO MANY
PEOPLE ARE WANTING TO GET THEIR
TWO CENTS' WORTH IN THAT THE
CHECKS AND BALANCES ARE WORKING
OUT REASONABLY WELL, WHICH IS
REALLY QUITE INTERESTING WHEN
YOU THINK ABOUT IT.
BUT IT MEANS THAT THERE'S BEEN
A MELTDOWN OF THAT WHOLE KIND
OF BOTTLENECK IN PUBLISHING.
YOU DON'T HAVE TO, YOU... THAT
STILL EXISTS OF COURSE, AND FOR
ACADEMIC TEXT YOU'RE NOT GONNA
GET ANYTHING PUBLISHED THAT
ANYBODY'S GONNA PAY ANY
ATTENTION TO, UNLESS YOU GO
THROUGH A PEER REVIEW.
THAT'S... THAT'S ALL STILL IN
PLACE AND THAT'S NOT GOING TO GO.
BUT THERE ARE, OTHER THINGS AS WELL.
SO, YOU CAN NOW PUBLISH
WHATEVER YOU WANT BY YOURSELF.
JUST STICK IT ON THE WEB AND
THERE IT IS.
SO IT DOESN'T, IT'S A VERY,
DIFFERENT SITUATION.
THE PRODUCTS WE'RE GONNA START
LOOKING AT AND THINKING ABOUT
THEY'RE INTERACTIVE, THEY'RE
IMAGE-CENTERED.

A new slide is headed "Reconceptualizing literacy in the digital age."

Heather continues SO WE HAVE TO RECONCEPTUALIZE
LITERACY IN THE DIGITAL AGE,
AND I'M GONNA TAKE AS MY
STARTING POINT 1996.
IT'S, IT'S AN ARBITRARY POINT.
I'M TAKING IT BECAUSE THERE -- WAS A
LANDMARK ARTICLE PUBLISHED THAT
YEAR BY THE NEW LONDON GROUP,
WHICH WAS A CONSORTIUM OF, OF
SPECIALISTS, AND VERY HIGHLY
RESPECTED ACADEMICS -- IN
LITERACY, LINGUISTICS, SOCIAL
THEORY AND SO FORTH WHO GOT
TOGETHER AND SORT OF SAID "YOU
KNOW WHAT? IT ISN'T HAPPENING THIS WAY
ANYMORE IN SCHOOLS.
WE HAVE TO RETHINK WHAT WE'RE
DOING AND HOW WE'RE DOING IT,"
AND THEY COINED THE TERM
"MULTILITERACIES."
UM, BECAUSE THAT'S REALLY WHAT
IT'S ALL ABOUT.
YOU'VE NOW GOT TO INSCRIBE AND
DESCRIBE MULTIPLE,
INTERSECTING, INTERACTING
CULTURES, LANGUAGES, MODES AND
MEDIA, IT'S WAY, MORE COMPLEX.
AND I USE WITH PERMISSION FROM
DAN PIRARO ONE OF HIS COMIC
STRIPS, BIZARRO, WHICH WAS
PERFECT IN TERMS OF LOOKING AT
THE KIND OF MODALITY SWITCHES
FROM MODERNISM TO POST-
MODERNISM, PAPER OR PLASTIC.
YOU KNOW IS IT A PAPER WORLD
YOU WANT OR A WORLD, A SCREEN
WORLD THAT YOU WANT?
AND IT SEEMED TO ME TO SO
BEAUTIFULLY CAPTURE THAT -- THAT
WHOLE DYNAMIC.

Heather pauses, then says
GUNTHER KRESS TELLS US IN HIS
WORK THAT THE SCREEN MORE THEN
THE PAGE IS NOW THE DOMINANT
SITE OF REPRESENTATION.
AND SOMETIMES I ASK MY STUDENTS TO...
MONITOR WHAT THEY DO IN ANY
GIVEN DAY IN TERMS OF READING
AND WRITING, AND TO SEE WHAT
THEY'VE READ AND WRITTEN, AND HOW
THEY'VE DONE IT.
JUST TO SORT OF TAKE A LITTLE
DIARY AND CHECK OUT HOW LONG,
YOU KNOW WHAT SCREENS THEY HAD
TO NAVIGATE AND WHAT KIND OF
PAPER AND PENCIL THINGS THEY DID.
WHAT THINGS WERE BOOKS, WHAT
THINGS WERE, WERE SOMETHING
ELSE AND TO TAKE A LOOK AT IT.
IT'S QUITE SHOCKING AT THE END
OF THE DAY TO REALIZE HOW MUCH
OF YOUR DAY GOES THROUGH
SCREENS AND KEYBOARDS.
IS THAT TAUGHT IN SCHOOL?
HMM, IN SOME PLACES YEAH.
HE ALSO SAYS THE SCREEN IS THE
SITE OF THE IMAGE.
OUR TEXTS HAVE BECOME FAR, FAR
MORE IMAGE-CENTERED AND I GIVE
YOU A, A SLIDE FROM A LITTLE
GIRL AT JOYCE PUBLIC SCHOOL.
SHE WAS IN GRADE ONE WHEN SHE
DID THIS, IN WHICH WE, WELL,
I'M GONNA TELL YOU MORE ABOUT
THIS PROJECT.
WE WERE DOING A PROJECT TO
REWRITE "GOLDILOCKS" USING
DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY.
AND SHE'S DONE A PICTURE OF
HERSELF CALLED BRADYLOCKS, SO
SHE'S PUT HERSELF IN THE PICTURE.
AND WHEN I LOOKED AT THE
PICTURES AND, AND WHAT THE
CHILDREN DID, THEY WERE USING
HYPERSTUDIO -- I REALIZED THAT WE WEREN'T
LOOKING AT "ART IN TEXT" ANYMORE.
WE WERE LOOKING AT "TEXT IN ART."
THAT ART IS THE KIND OF
BACKDROP, AND THE TEXT IS IN IT.

A new screen is headed "Environmental Screen Interfaces."

Heather continues UM, OUR ENVIRONMENTAL SCREEN
INTERFACES ARE MANY.
I DID THIS YESTERDAY.
I CAME IN YESTERDAY AND TOOK A
PICTURE OF SOME OF THE THINGS
THAT I FOUND, JUST OF
ENVIRONMENTAL SCREENS.
THE KINDS OF SCREENS WE
NAVIGATE ON A DAILY BASIS AND
PEOPLE DON'T THINK ABOUT.
AND THIS ONE WAS THE WEATHER ON
THE, THE, THEY HAVE A, WHAT
WOULD YOU CALL IT?
JUST A STAND I GUESS, IN THE
MIDDLE OF YORK LANES, WHICH
GIVES YOU VOICEOVER INTERNET PROTOCOLS.
I, I NEVER TRIED IT.
I DIDN'T KNOW WHAT THEY'RE
DOING THERE.
BUT YOU KNOW YOU CAN USE IT ANYHOW.
IT SEEMS TO BE FREE, AND THERE'S
A SCREEN GIVING YOU AS WELL AS
ADS THE WEATHER AND THINGS LIKE THAT.
OF COURSE WE ALL BANK USING ONE
OF THESE.
MY DAUGHTER GOT A CHEQUE AT
CHRISTMAS TIME THAT WAS IN
POUNDS AND SHE AND HER FRIENDS
WERE LOOKING AT IT FOR A WHILE
SORT OF WONDERING WHETHER IT
WAS SUPPOSED TO BE PARTICULARLY
HEAVY OR SOMETHING AND YOU KNOW
WHY THEY WOULD HAVE THIS FUNNY,
WHY WOULD IT BE IN POUNDS?
YOU KNOW, WHAT'S THIS ALL ABOUT?
AND I TOLD HER "WELL YOU HAVE TO
TAKE IT TO A BANK AND YOU HAVE
TO GO INSIDE THE BANK AND TALK
TO THE PEOPLE WHO ARE ACTUALLY
IN THERE."
AND THEY ALL LOOKED SORT OF
TERRIBLY SURPRISED, SHE AND
SOME OF HER TEEN FRIENDS.
THAT YOU KNOW, WHY WOULD YOU DO
THAT? YOU KNOW YOU JUST GO TO A
MACHINE, YOU KNOW AND DO THIS,
DO ALL THAT KIND OF STUFF.
AND I SAID, WELL, YEAH, BUT
THAT'S NOT THE RIGHT KIND OF
MONEY FOR THE MACHINE SO YOU'RE
GONNA HAVE TO GO INSIDE.
BUT WHEN WAS THE LAST TIME YOU
WALKED INSIDE A BANK?
YOU KNOW, I MEAN THAT'S, THAT'S
CONSIDERED A SORT OF NORMAL WAY
TO DO THINGS.
HERE'S A, EVEN A PAY TELEPHONE,
NOT TO MENTION CELL TELEPHONE
AND THE SCREEN INFORMATION ON
THAT, JUST TO BUY THE CARD THAT
GOES IN IT.
AND THIS IS I TOOK FROM MY
PRINTER WHEN IT DIDN'T WORK FOR
ME BECAUSE IT TOO HAS A LITTLE
SCREEN JUST TO SAY THINGS LIKE
"SORRY, YOU DID THIS WRONG."

A slide shows different photos under the heading "Changing Social Contexts."

Heather continues IN THE WORLD AROUND US, JUST TO
SORT OF SHOW YOU, THESE ARE A
BUNCH OF PICTURES I HAVE FROM
STUDENTS IN MULTILINGUAL EDUCATION.
SO THANK YOU VERY MUCH TO
REBECCA ALLEN AND TO JULIA
HOISKIN FOR SOME OF THEIR
PICTURES OF ENVIRONMENTAL
PRINT, JUST TO SORT OF INDICATE
TO YOU THAT THE WORLD AROUND US
TOO IS NOT AS MONOLINGUAL AS
WE'RE SORT OF ASSUMING IT IS IN
TERMS OF HOW WE'RE LOOKING AT
LITERACY, HOW IT'S TAUGHT AND
HOW IT'S TESTED.
AND SO HERE'S A FEW
NEIGHBOURHOOD SHOPS WITH SIGNS IN RUSSIAN,
WE HAVE KOREAN, WE HAVE
CHINESE, JAPANESE, FARSI, UM,
ARABIC. YOU KNOW JUST LOTS OF
DIFFERENT, WE HAVE SOME
PORTUGUESE, SPANISH, JUST TO
LET YOU KNOW THAT IT REALLY IS
A VERY, MULTICULTURAL WORLD
THAT'S ENCODED FOR US OUT THERE.
SO WE REALLY HAVE TO
RECONCEPTUALIZE WHAT LITERACY
IS IN THE DIGITAL AGE.
SO LET'S START WITH, WITH KIDS,
WITH ADOLESCENTS WHO HAVE BEEN
CALLED DIGITAL NATIVES BY MARK
PRENSKY, AS OPPOSED TO THOSE OF
US WHO ARE DIGITAL IMMIGRANTS
BECAUSE WE HAD TO SORT OF
FIGURE IT OUT AS A KIND OF NEW
WAY OF DOING THINGS, A NEW KIND
OF LITERACY CITIZENSHIP.

A new slide full of photos of gadgets is headed "Adolescents' Social Literacies."

Heather continues AND DIGITAL NATIVES, WHICH IF
YOU'VE GOT KIDS THEY'RE GONNA
BE, LIVE IN THIS KIND OF A LAND
WHERE ALL THIS STUFF IS NORMAL.
AND YOU KNOW KIDS ARE NOT
AFRAID TO USE TECHNOLOGY IN, IN
THE WAY THAT SO MANY ADULTS ARE.
YOU PICK IT UP AND YOU THINK "OH
I DON'T WANT TO BREAK IT.
I DON'T WANT TO DO THE WRONG THING.
I DON'T WANT TO HAVE IT CRASH ON ME.
I DON'T WANT TO HAVE ANY OF THIS HAPPEN."
AND I REMEMBER WATCHING AT
JOYCE, AT JOYCE PUBLIC SCHOOL
WHEN I WAS WATCHING AN AFTER-SCHOOL PROGRAM.
AND THE KIDS WHO WERE THERE AND
WHO'VE GOT A WONDERFUL, VERY,
RICH TECHNOLOGY PROGRAM
WERE SORT OF DOING ALL KINDS OF
FANCY THINGS WITH THE COMPUTER.
THESE ARE LITTLE KIDS TOO, YOU
KNOW WITH THE COMPUTERS.
AND IN THIS PARTICULAR PROGRAM THE
PARENTS WERE THERE TO HELP THEM
READ AS WELL.
AND THAT YOU COULD SEE THE
PARENTS JUST TERRIFIED THAT
THEIR KIDS WERE KIND OF GONNA
BREAK SOMETHING...
OR GONNA DO THE WRONG THING, YOU
KNOW, AND THIS, THIS, THIS WHOLE
COMPLETELY DIFFERENT ATTITUDE
THAT TECHNOLOGY'S SOMETHING YOU USE.
YOU GET IN THERE AND YOU DO IT,
AS OPPOSED TO THE SORT OF MUCH
MORE, WELL, I WONDER HOW I DO IT?
YOU KNOW WHAT'S THE CORRECT WAY
AND WHERE DO I START?
KIDS DON'T START.
THEY JUMP INTO THE MIDDLE AND
THEY GET GOING.

A slide shows a male and a female teenager standing in front of a computer screen and moving rhythmically, as though dancing.

Heather continues UM, PEOPLE OFTEN THINK THAT
THESE SORT OF GAMES ARE
TERRIBLY SEDENTARY AND YOU'VE
GOT KIDS KIND OF BATHED IN
UGLY, GREEN LIGHT AND THEY'RE
NOT GETTING ANY EXERCISE OR
FRESH AIR.
AND IN FACT WHEN I HAD AN
ARTICLE THAT GOT PUBLISHED AND
GOT TALKED ABOUT A GREAT DEAL
IN THE PRESS ABOUT THE "X-BOX" AND
THE EQO MAYBE NEEDING TO TALK
TO EACH OTHER.
I HAD MAIL FROM PEOPLE SORT OF
SAYING, OH, YOU WANT KIDS TO BE
SORT OF YOU KNOW COUCH POTATOES
AND WHAT SORT OF HORRIBLE
PERSON ARE YOU?
AND I THOUGHT WELL, YOU KNOW
REALLY, YOU HAVE TO TAKE A
LOOK, YOU HAVE TO TAKE A LITTLE
CLOSER LOOK AT THIS BECAUSE YOU
MAY NOT REALLY REALIZE WHAT
KIDS ARE DOING.
PLUS, THIS ISN'T TO ERADICATE
ALL THE OTHER STUFF THAT'S OUT THERE.
THERE'S NOBODY SAYING THAT.
NOBODY WANTS TO SORT OF DITCH
SHAKESPEARE OR ANYTHING.
UM, IT'S A MATTER OF LOOKING AT
A BROADER SPECTRUM IN FRONT OF YOU.
SO THIS IS DVR AND THESE ARE
TWO OF THE KIDS WHO ACTUALLY
PARTICIPATED IN, IN SOME OF THE
WORK I DID LOOKING AT KIDS MSN
CHAT AND THEIR USE OF XBOXES
AND STUFF.
AND THIS IS CALLED DANCE, DANCE
REVOLUTION.
YOU HAVE TO FOLLOW A SERIES OF
ARROWS THAT ARE MARKED.
IT'S, IT'S AN INCREDIBLE, AN
INCREDIBLE COGNITIVE ADVENTURE
ACTUALLY AND IT'S PHYSICALLY
QUITE DEMANDING AS WELL.
THERE'S A SERIES OF ARROWS THAT
MATCH A RHYTHM AND WHEN THEY,
WHEN THEY HIT THE KIND OF
BASELINE UP HERE AND THERE'S A
BACKDROP AND THERE'S MUSIC AS
WELL YOU HAVE TO ACTUALLY HIT
THEM WITH YOUR FEET.
DOWN HERE YOU HAVE THE
EQUIVALENT OF A, OF A PAD BUT
IT'S A FOOT ONE INSTEAD OF A
HAND ONE.
AND YOU HAVE TO HIT THE ARROWS
UM... IN TIME AND IN TUNE, AND THE
RIGHT DIRECTIONS, AND SO FORTH.
IT'S ACTUALLY EXTREMELY DIFFICULT.
I'M KIND OF EMBARRASSED TO,
WELL, ACTUALLY THE KIDS THINK
IT'S KIND OF NEAT THAT I'LL TRY
IT AT ALL.
BUT WITH ALL OF THIS STUFF YOU
KNOW, IT'S AMAZING WHEN YOU
ACTUALLY TRY IT.
THE MASTERY THAT THEY HAVE IS,
IS STUPENDOUS.
AND TO GET THERE, THEY'VE
COLLABORATED, THEY'VE SOLVED
PROBLEMS.
THEY'VE CHECKED THINGS OUT IN
THE MANUAL.
THEY'VE TALKED TO EACH OTHER.
THEY'VE GONE ONLINE.
THEY'VE DONE ALL OF THESE
FACILITATIVE LITERACIES JUST TO
GET THERE.
THIS ONE EVEN TURNS OUT TO BE
PHYSICAL, TO BE GOOD EXERCISE.

A new slide is headed "Digital natives' texts..."

Heather continues THIS IS A LITTLE BIT MORE ABOUT
THE DIGITAL NATIVES' WORLDS
THEIR TEXTS...
BECAUSE THERE'S A LOT OF YOU
KNOW A LOT OF COMPLAINTS ABOUT
THIS AS WELL.
THIS IS A LITTLE SEGMENT OF CHAT.
THESE KIDS WERE ON MSN, WHICH
IS AN INSTANT MESSAGING SYSTEM.
WHEN I GOT -- THIS IS USED WITH
PERMISSION -- FROM TWO KIDS WHO
WERE 13, 14 IN THAT SORT OF
GRADE NINE.
WHEN THEY, THIS IS A FEW YEARS
BACK, WHEN THEY GAVE IT TO ME.
THIS IS, THEY CLEAN THIS UP OF
COURSE BEFORE THEY GIVE IT TO ME.
THEY DON'T WANT ME TO SEE THE
REALLY BAD STUFF, BECAUSE THEY
ARE, THEY'RE KIDS RIGHT, AND
THEY'RE COMPLAINING ABOUT THEIR
MOTHERS AND SO FORTH.
AND YOU KNOW I'M A MOTHER AS
WELL, SO I GET THE NICE,
SANITIZED STUFF.
NONETHELESS, UM, I WORKED WITH
A LINGUISTICS STUDENT THAT YEAR
TO COLLECT DATA FROM THREE
POPULATIONS, FROM TEENAGERS IN
CANADA, FROM A SMALL, A PAIR
ACTUALLY OF 20-YEAR-OLDS HERE
AT YORK UNIVERSITY AT THE TIME
AND A GROUP OF CHINESE ADULTS
IN CANADA AND CHINA.
AND WE ANALYZED THE LANGUAGE
LINGUISTICALLY IN ENGLISH AND
IN CHINESE. AND WE
FOUND IT VERY SYSTEMATIC.
I MEAN THIS IS ENGLISH OF
COURSE, AND THERE'S NOTHING SORT
OF "NOT ENGLISH" HERE.
THIS IS NORMAL, ORDINARY ENGLISH.
IT'S JUST THAT THE ORTHOGRAPHY,
THE WAY IT'S WRITTEN, IS DIFFERENT.
WHY IS IT WRITTEN DIFFERENTLY?
BECAUSE THE WHOLE CHANNEL IS
DIFFERENT. IT'S NOT SPEECH.
IT'S NOT WRITING.
YOU DO IT ONLINE THROUGH A
LITERATE INTERFACE, BUT YOU'VE
GOT TO DO IT FAST ENOUGH TO
KEEP UP A CONVERSATIONAL FLOW.
YOU COULD HAVE A SMALL SCREEN.
THERE'S ONLY A SMALL INPUT AREA.
SO YOU'VE GOT TO GET YOUR
CONVERSATION IN THERE FAST
ENOUGH FOR IT TO BE A CONVERSATION.
OTHERWISE THE OTHER PERSON'S
GONNA GO TO SLEEP.
SO IT'S, THERE'S, IT'S VERY
HIGHLY PRINCIPLED, THE WAY THIS
HAS ALL HAPPENED.
AND I THINK IT'S JUST A SCREAM
MYSELF BECAUSE IN THE SPACE OF
A DECADE AND A HALF KIDS HAVE
REVOLUTIONIZED ENGLISH SPELLING
IN A WAY THAT NOBODY HAS
BEFORE, DESPITE ALL THESE SORT
OF HIGHBROW TYPES OUT THERE
YOU KNOW ON THEIR HIGH HORSES
SORT OF CHANGED SPELLING.
NOAH WEBSTER HAS, HE'S THE MOST
SUCCESSFUL TO DATE, BEFORE ALL
THESE KIDS, WITH AMERICAN
SPELLING, WHICH HAS GOT VERY
LIMITED, YOU KNOW WE DO
RECOGNIZE CULTURAL DIFFERENCES
THERE, BUT VERY LIMITED SUCCESS.
GEORGE BERNARD SHAW GOT NOWHERE
WITH HIS FAMOUS CONTEST THAT'S
ON EVERY YEAR TO REVOLUTIONIZE
THE ENGLISH WAY OF WRITING.
AND LOOK AT THIS, YOU KNOW, A
SORT OF GROUND, GRASSROOTS EFFORT.
BUT IT'S HIGHLY PRINCIPLED, AND
ITS WRITTEN IN WAYS THAT ARE
VERY STRUCTURED ACTUALLY.
SO NOW LET'S GO TO SCHOOL AND
THINK ABOUT SCHOOL LITERACIES
AND HOW INTEGRATED SCHOOL
LITERACIES AND TECHNOLOGIES ARE.
WELL NOW THIS VARIES FROM
SCHOOL TO SCHOOL OF COURSE.
BUT ONE OF THE THINGS I FOUND
VERY INTERESTING WAS ASKING THE
QUESTION WHAT IS TECHNOLOGY AT
SCHOOL? BECAUSE IF YOU ASK IT HERE AT A
UNIVERSITY THEY WILL SAY COMPUTERS.
AND YET, EVEN HERE IN THIS
SETUP THERE IS OTHER TECHNOLOGY
THAT'S AVAILABLE.
AND IN THE SCHOOL YOU, YOU
DEFINITELY GET THIS ANSWER.
WELL, A DIGITAL CAMERA FOR
INSTANCE IS AN INEXPENSIVE
PIECE OF TECHNOLOGY THAT WE CAN
USE. WE HAVE A SCANNER.
WE HAVE LAPTOPS.

A new slide showing more old-fashioned digital devices is headed "School Literacies."

Heather continues WE HAVE ONLY OLD DESKTOPS, BUT
YOU KNOW THEY'RE IMPORTANT.
PRINTERS, EVEN AN OLD,
PHOTOCOPIER IS LOOKED AT AS A
PIECE OF TECHNOLOGY.
SO THIS IS GOOD ACTUALLY THAT
THERE'S A VERY SORT OF BROAD
SENSE OF THE TECHNOLOGY THAT'S AVAILABLE.
HOWEVER THIS IS THE KIND OF
TEXT YOU FIND, WHICH IS A, AND
I'VE TAKEN THIS FROM THE E.Q.A.O.
BECAUSE THEY, THEY'RE THE FINAL
WORD, RIGHT?

A new slide is headed "School Texts."

Heather continues THIS IS FROM THE ONTARIO
SECONDARY SCHOOL LITERACY TEST
AND YOU HAVE TO PASS THIS TO
GRADUATE FROM SCHOOL.
OR THERE ARE A FEW KIND OF
DISPENSATIONS FOR PEOPLE WHO
SORT OF FALL OFF.
BUT BASICALLY THIS IS THE BIG
ARBITER, AND THIS IS WHAT'S
USED -- THE WORLD OF PAPER, MODERN TEXTS.
THAT'S A BIG DIFFERENCE FROM
THE KIND OF TEXT KIDS ARE DOING.
ONE OF MY STUDENTS, DEANNA
NEVILLE-VERARDI, DID A
SCREAMINGLY FUNNY SPOOF OF THE
E.Q.A.O. THAT I'M GONNA JUST SHOW
YOU A COUPLE OF PAGES OF HERE
BECAUSE IT'S SUCH FUN.
SHE DID ONE LOOKING AT IN TERMS
OF MUCH MORE CONTEMPORARY KNOWLEDGE.
SO HAVE A LOOK AT THESE QUESTIONS.

A slide shows a series of questions numbered from 1 to 5, headed "The New Revised Literacy Test."

Heather reads the questions and says
LIST FOUR MAJOR SEARCH ENGINES, WHAT IS A BLOG?, WHY MIGHT YOU USE QUOTATION MARKS WHEN CONDUCTING A SEARCH?, WHAT DOES THE FOLLOWING EMOTICON MEAN?, WAHT DOES THE FOLLOWING SAY, AND WHERE WOULD YOU NORMALLY SEE IT?

She continues I'M GOING TO READ YOU THE READING
PASSAGE SO YOU CAN CHECK
YOURSELF OUT WITH THE LEGEND OF ZELDA.
MY DAUGHTER DID THE E.Q.A.O., SHE
HAD TO WRITE SOMETHING ON
LANDSCAPE GARDENING.
HERE'S THE LEGEND OF ZELDA.

Heather reads from a piece of paper and says
HOW TO SURVIVE THE IMPENDING DOOM.
AFTER DEFEATING THE MIGHTY
GANENDORF, AND SAVING THE LAND
OF HIRULE OUR HERO DECIDES TO
TAKE A MORE PERSONAL JOURNEY.
HOWEVER HE FINDS HIMSELF IN A
PRECARIOUS POSITION WHEN A
DEVIOUS, LITTLE IMP STEALS THE
OCARENA OF TIME AND HIS STEED, OPPONA.
AND WITH THIS EVENT OUR HERO
FINDS HIMSELF CAUGHT UP IN YET
ANOTHER ADVENTURE OF GRAND
PROPORTIONS.
TIP -- TARGETING AN ENEMY WITH
ZED NOT ONLY ALLOWS YOU TO
TRACK THAT CREATURE'S
MOVEMENTS, BUT ALSO PREVENTS
ANY OTHER ENEMIES IN THE
VICINITY FROM ATTACKING YOU
WHILE YOU'RE ENGAGING THE
TARGETTED CREATURE.
THIS CAN BE EXTREMELY HELPFUL
WHEN YOU ENTER A ROOM FILLED
WITH CREATURES AND YOUR HEALTH
METER IS LOW.
ALL RIGHT, SO HERE'S OUR
MULTIPLE-CHOICE QUESTIONS.

Heather says WHAT'S
THE BEST MEANING FOR DEVIOUS?
WHO IS THE HERO THEY ARE
TALKING ABOUT IN THIS READING?

In an aside, she says AND THESE ARE STANDARD, READING
COMPREHENSION QUESTIONS,
WRITTEN ANSWERS.

She continues WHY WOULD THE HERO BE CAUGHT IN
YET ANOTHER ADVENTURE OF GRAND PROPORTIONS?
WHAT IS THE USEFULNESS OF THE
TIP THAT IS OFFERED IN THIS READING?
BASED ON YOUR READING OF THIS
SELECTION, DO YOU THINK THE
HERO WILL BE SUCCESSFUL YET AGAIN?
THEN EXPLAIN.

Heather says AND WE
HAD TESTS WHERE WE ALL HAD
HANDHELDS AND HAD TO FIND THE ON
AND OFF AND HAD TO EDIT THINGS
AND HAD TO USE THEM.
IT WAS REALLY FUN.

Heather says LET ME
TAKE YOU TO A REAL, PROJECT NOW
AT JOYCE PUBLIC SCHOOL IN THE...
IN THE TORONTO DISTRICT SCHOOL
BOARD WHERE WE ARE WRITING... WE
AREN'T -- THE CHILDREN ARE
WRITING DIGITAL NARRATIVES.
OUR PILOT YEAR WAS A PROJECT TO
REWRITE "GOLDILOCKS AND THE
THREE BEARS."
UM, WE DID IT WITH GRADE TWO
CHILDREN, AND IT'S BEEN WRITTEN
ABOUT IN OTHER PLACES.
SO I WON'T GO, I WON'T GO INTO
HOW IT WAS ALL DONE AND EVERYTHING.
BUT IT WAS A KIND OF "FEEL, YOUR
WAY AS YOU GO."
WHAT WE WANTED KIDS TO DO WAS
TO LEARN -- I MEAN KIDS WERE
LEARNING TO READ BASICALLY,
BUT WE WANTED THEM TO DO THAT
BY ENTERING THE TEXT THEMSELVES
AND BECOMING WRITERS OF THE
TEXT, AND DIGITAL TECHNOLOGY
GAVE US THE OPPORTUNITY TO DO THAT.
SO THEY WOULDN'T BE PASSIVELY
OUTSIDE THE TEXT, JUST
LISTENING TO "GOLDILOCKS AND
THE THREE BEARS."
THEY'D BE ABLE TO GO INSIDE IT
AND MANIPULATE THAT TEXT.
TO DO THAT YOU HAVE TO KNOW THE STORY.
SO, I'M GONNA SHOW YOU A FEW
LITTLE BITS AND PIECES FROM
WHAT THEY DID.
WHAT WE FOUND IS THAT IT
CREATED THAT VERY THING THAT
WAS LEFT OUT OF THE DEFINITION.
LITERACY WITH, WITH AGENCY,
THAT THESE ARE VERY LITTLE
KIDS, SEVEN AND EIGHT YEARS OLD.
BUT IT ALLOWED THEM TO DO
SOMETHING THEIR WAY WITH WHAT
THEY WERE LEARNING, AND THEY
DID A BEAUTIFUL, BEAUTIFUL JOB.

A new slide with a smiley face on a green background is headed "Literacy With Agency."

Heather continues AND I'M SO -- YOU KNOW, I'M, I MEAN
THESE ARE NOT MY CHILDREN BUT
I'M STILL SO PROUD OF THEM.
I KEEP SHOWING THESE PICTURES EVERYWHERE.
UM, THIS IS, THIS IS SUCH A
LOVABLE, YOU KNOW, VILLAIN.
THIS IS, THIS IS THE ROBBER.
"ONCE UPON A TIME THERE WAS A ROBBER.
HE WAS EVIL, DUMB AND STINKY
AND HE'S SO CUTE."
SO IN THIS SITUATION GOLDILOCKS
IS INTERPRETED AS A ROBBER.
AND THE REINTERPRETATIONS WERE BRILLIANT.
SO THE WHOLE WAY THROUGH THE
PROTAGONIST, WHO'D BEEN
REFASHIONED THROUGH THE KID'S
EYES, DID THE KINDS OF THINGS
YOU'D EXPECT THEM TO DO AND
STAYED WITHIN THE FRAME OF THE
STORY, WHICH TO ME IS VERY SOPHISTICATED.
HERE'S ANOTHER ONE.
YOU KNOW WHEN GOLDILOCKS GOES
INTO THE HOUSE SHE YOU KNOW
FINDS THREE BOWLS OF PORRIDGE OF COURSE.
BUT "WHAT'S PORRIDGE?" AND "WHY
WOULD YOU BREAK INTO A HOUSE TO
EAT PORRIDGE?"
SO, THEY'VE GOT DIFFERENT FOODS.
IN THIS CASE WE'VE GOT SUGI WHO
IS A SPACE EXPLORER AND HE HAS
INVADED THE HOME OF THREE ALIENS.

A new slide shows a kid's coloured doodle feauring a stick figure with red lips and spiky blue hair holding a basket and standing in front of a blue bowl full of green porridge.

Heather continues WELL, THAT'S 'CAUSE HE'S AN
EXPLORER, AND THAT'S WHAT EXPLORERS DO.
AND THEY'VE GONE OUT FOR A FLY
I GUESS OR SOMETHING.
AND THIS IS THE SITE, THIS IS A
LITTLE BOY WHO WROTE THIS AND
SUIT-SUITABLY KIND OF GORY
STUFF IN THE SECOND BOWL.
THE SECOND ONE TASTED LIKE
TAFFY WITH NAILS.
SUGI NOW HAS NAILS IN HIS TONGUE.
BUT THE THIRD BOWL YOU'LL BE
PLEASED TO KNOW TASTED JUST LIKE JELLO.
NOW THAT'S BABY'S BOWL, SO HE
ATE IT ALL UP.

To the class, Heather says THIS IS MY FAVOURITE ENDING.
THIS WAS A LITTLE GIRL WHO DID
THIS, WHICH IS FUNNY BECAUSE
SHE, SHE WROTE QUITE A
SOPHISTICATED STORY WITH
GOLDILOCKS A SHARKY.
A SHARK WAS A BULLY AND IT JUST
WANTED TO TAKE ALL THE STUFF.
SO HE WENT INTO THIS, THIS HOME
OF THREE I BELIEVE THEY'RE
GOLDFISH, EVEN THOUGH THEY LOOK
BLUE AND THEY'RE MUCH BIGGER.
[She laughs]

On an orange background, a cartoon shows three blue fish of different sizes being chased by a larger blue fish with prominent teeth.

Heather says
NONETHELESS, THREE FISH WHILE
THEY WENT OUT FOR A SWIM.
AND SHARKY WAS SUCH A BIG BULLY
THAT HE TOOK PAPA'S, YOU KNOW,
BOWL OF FOOD.
I THINK IT WAS FISH FOOD, AND
PAPA'S CHAIR AND PAPA'S BED.
AND THE ENDING WAS SO PERFECT.
THEN SHARKY WOKE UP.
HE SAW THREE FISH.
SUDDENLY SHARKY ATE ALL THE
FISH UP AND LIVED HAPPILY EVER AFTER.
I MEAN, COMPLETELY IN CHARACTER.
WE'RE LOOKING AT MORE
EXPERIMENTAL WAYS, THIS WAS
DONE ON HYPERSTUDIO.
ALL OF THIS IS UM, AVAILABLE
SOFTWARE FROM THE MINISTRY OF EDUCATION.
ANY SCHOOL CAN GET IT.
YOU KNOW IT'S JUST THE DOWNLOAD.
UM, WE'RE LOOKING AT THESE SORT
OF EBOOKS, ELECTRONIC BOOKS
THROUGH HYPERSTUDIO'S STORY.
WE HAVE, KIDS PICK LOTS OF
DIFFERENT PROGRAMS ALLOW YOU TO
DO THAT.
WE'VE GOT ANOTHER STORY OF "THE
LITTLE RED HEN" THAT WAS
REWRITTEN, DRAMATIZED,
VIDEOTAPED, TURNED INTO AN
I-MOVIE, DUBBED AND SO FORTH.
SO THERE'S A WHOLE SORT OF
PROCESS WHERE YOU GET A VERY
DIFFERENT SORT OF TEXT.
AND THE DAY AFTER TOMORROW I AM
GOING FOR A MEETING WITH
JENNIFER JENSEN, ONE OF MY
COLLEAGUES WHO WORKS
EXTENSIVELY WITH VIDEO GAMES TO
START A PROCESS, WHEREBY WE'RE
TAKING AN EXPERIMENTAL "GAME
SHELL" TO CHILDREN TO HAVE THEM
MAKE, HAVE THEM DO THEIR
NARRATIVES AS GAMES.
SO WE'RE AT THE POINT WHERE
WE'RE ACTUALLY LOOKING AT USING
GAME SHELLS AS THE KIND OF
THING, IN ELEMENTARY SCHOOL
THAT KIDS CAN DO THERE.
UM, NOW THESE WON'T BE
SOPHISTICATED, WELL HEY, MAYBE
THEY WILL BE.
WE HAVEN'T DONE THEM YET, YOU
KNOW, SO WE'LL HAVE TO SEE WHEN
WE GET THERE.
[She laughs]

Heather continues NOBODY
WANTS TO SORT OF BRING "GRAND
THEFT AUTO," YOU KNOW, INTO THE
CLASS OR ANY SORT OF RIDICULOUS STUFF.
BUT IF WE DON'T LOOK AT THE
TECHNOLOGY AND HOW WE CAN
HARNESS THE TECHNOLOGY THEN WE
ARE MISSING A LOT.

A new slide, showing four photos of kids busy at literacy activities, is headed "Today's Literate Kids."

Heather continues HERE'S A PICTURE OF THE KIDS AT
JOYCE, AND I'VE GOT ONE YOU'LL
BE PLEASED TO SEE OF A CHILD
WITH BOOKS AS WELL, BECAUSE
NOBODY IS TRYING TO STOMP ON
THE MODERN WORLD.
UM, THAT PROCESS IS HAPPENING
QUITE NATURALLY ANYHOW.
NOBODY HAS CARD CATALOGUES IN A
DRAWER ANY LONGER, BECAUSE
IT'S, IT'S A DINOSAUR, IT'S GONE.
WE HAVE DIFFERENT WAYS OF DOING THAT.
BUT MY IDEA OF A VACATION IS TO
GET A, YOU KNOW HAVE AN AUTO
REPLY THAT SAYS "GONE FISHING,"
AND TAKE A PILE OF NOVELS AND
GO TO A BEACH AND START READING THEM.
SO YOU KNOW NO ONE HAS TO THROW
BOOKS OUT OR DO ANYTHING LIKE THAT.
THEY'RE STILL ALL, VERY MUCH A
PART OF THINGS.
BUT HERE YOU'VE GOT KIDS
ENGAGED WITH, AND, AND THEY ARE ENGAGED.
YOU CAN JUST SEE YOU KNOW HOW
RIVETTED THEY ARE.
HERE THEY HAVE A MUSIC LAB
WHERE THEY'RE DOING THINGS THAT
IS, THE DIGITIZED MUSIC LABS,
ABSOLUTELY FABULOUS.
AND HERE LEON, WHO'S RIGHT HERE
IS USING A SMART BOARD WITH ONE
OF THE CHILDREN.
SO THIS IS A TOUCH-SENSITIVE
BOARD THAT THEY CAN USE.
SO I'M THINKING IT'S ABOUT TIME
FOR A CHANGE IN THE L.L.A., REMEMBER
THAT? THE LADIES LITERACY, NO, WAS
IT, YEAH, IN ART.
"LADIES LITERATE IN ARTS," TO
UPGRADE IT A FEW CENTURIES, AND
MAYBE ALLOW THE MEN TO HAVE ONE
OF THESE TOO -- YEAH, YOU KNOW,
AND CALL IT "LITERATE AND DIGITAL
ARTS" OR SOMETHING LIKE THAT.
YOU KNOW IT'S ABOUT TIME FOR IT
TO BE BROUGHT INTO THE 21ST
CENTURY AND I HAVE HAZARDED AN
ATTEMPT, ANYHOW, AT A DEFINITION
THAT IS COMPLETELY NEGOTIABLE.
IT'S A WIKI IN ITSELF TO TRY TO
BRING A NOTION OF LITERACY INTO
THE 21ST CENTURY.
AND SO HERE IT IS.
"CONTEMPORARY LITERACY IS A
PROCESSING FACILITY FOR
ACCESSING, EXPRESSING AND
ARCHIVING COMMUNICATION, NOT
LIMITED TO ALPHABETIC SCRIPTS,
PARTICULAR LANGUAGES, PRINT,
PRESTIGE NORMS OR PAPER-BASED
ORTHOGRAPHIC CONVENTIONS.
LITERACY IS SOCIALIZATION INTO
A CONTINUALLY EVOLVING
PROCESSING FACILITY NEEDED FOR
NAVIGATING CONTEMPORARY SOCIETY."
AND I LEAVE THAT OPEN FOR ALL
OF YOU FOR FURTHER DISCUSSION.
I THINK WE SHOULD BE ABLE TO
MANAGE THIS.
AFTER ALL, AS WE'VE SEEN IT'S
CHILD'S PLAY.
THANK YOU.

[Audience applauding]

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