Writing and reading are personal as well as social activities. There are many current campaigns which promote the development of literacy, and they have focused on the link between the learner and the community. These campaigns have been based on the specific cognition theory which implies that learning can be intertwined with the physical and social settings and that education is achieved through active involvement in the community of practice. As a result, this issue sparks interest in the exploration of literacy in my neighborhood. Even when a writer or reader is alone, exchange of ideas may be necessary to ensure effectiveness in the overall learning outcomes. This paper seeks to explain how literacy is practiced in my community as a way to bring out the concept of how literacy has changed meaning over the years.
Firstly, I interviewed the chief librarian at the community library to get the degree at which reading and writing is taken in our community. Through the interview at the library, I was able to get better insights into some of the crucial topics, including the reading patterns in the library, the demographics of those who went to the library and the resources provided by the library to facilitate reading and writing. The librarian explained to me that the reading culture in our community was high as the frequency in which people used the library was high. He explained that this was mainly in the evening where almost every space was filled up. Attribution was given to the recent developments in the library that enabled reading to be easier. There were developments in terms of technology used that enabled acquisitions of information in the library. Most people were attracted to reading through computer gadgets rather than physical books. This implies that literacy has changed to be less of knowing how to read and write, to include more information and opportunities.
Moreover, I conducted an interview in a neighboring college where I interviewed one member of staff who provided more knowledge on the developments of literacy. I gained insightful information that digital literacy was applied in the school more extensively. It was used right from the application process to the use of resources in school. The member of staff explains to me that basic technological skills were a necessity in today's school setting as most information is acquired and most activities are processed through technology. For instance, the application process in that particular school was done online. The students were also required to create an email address through the various such engines. This activity required knowledge on the basic technologic skills which could be acquired through other ways other than just the essential physical reading and writing. He also explained to me that the adaptation of technology in the paper depended on the pervasiveness of the teacher. There are those who were resistant towards using forms of technology in reading and writing and preferred to use the generic pen and paper method in explaining their views.
The interviews as indicated above made me develop a new and extensive comprehension of the changes in literacy. I support the interviewees' approach that literacy has generally changed and evolved to mean more than just simply reading and writing. I support the idea that the definition of a literate person is largely different from the traditional view of literacy. Instructors should also take it this way and realize that investing in vital digital literacy skills is just as essential as investing in traditional literacy skills. Technology in today's context has been increasingly integrated into today's society; hence the learners should also be honed with the skills to be accurately literate with the skills needed in today's world.
The community as a whole, including the libraries, the school leaders and administrators as well as the individuals in the society can actively participate in enhancing literacy to fit the current contents. This will be primarily achieved through technology integration and adaptation. The definition of a literate person has changed and so should the general community's perception of literacy have changed. The social aspect of literacy should focus on the experiences that contribute to the interpretation of messages and readings as in today's setting.
The crucial element of literacy focuses on the ability of an individual to assess what they have interpreted, what it means to them and the implications that it will present (Koltay, Spiranec and Karvalics 87). Literacy can as well provide a person with the tools that are essential to free themselves from cultural and social constraints (Parry, Burnett, and Merchant). It would be therefore critical that people should understand the role of technology and its implications on literacy. It is therefore essential that all stakeholders in the community should realize that there is a change in the definition of a literate person in the 21st century. Technology plays a crucial role in any form of education, and therefore there is a need to develop technological and media literacy just like traditional literacy was developed.
In conclusion, the definition of literacy in the community has generally changed. There are more benefits of integrating technology in the classroom, and therefore people should develop on the necessary technological knowledge.
Koltay, Tibor, Sonja Spiranec, and Laszlo Z. Karvalics. "The shift of information literacy towards research 2.0." The journal of academic librarianship 41.1 (2015): 87-93.
Parry, Becky, Cathy Burnett, and Guy Merchant, eds. Literacy, media, technology: past, present, and future. Bloomsbury Publishing, 2016.
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