Reflections of an educational technology specialist on pedagogy, curriculum, assessment, culture, and technology integration.
Gordon Shupe's insight:
Thinking again about an essay I wrote on the importance of teaching the digital literacy of tagging/keywording, search strategies and how this works hand in hand with verbal literacy, reading and vocabulary.
"One of the most interesting data sets for aspiring mapmakers is the Census Bureau’s American Community Survey. Among other things, that survey includes a detailed look at the languages spoken in American homes. All the maps below are based on the responses to this survey. For instance, Mandarin, Cantonese, and other Chinese dialects are separated as different responses in the data and were treated as different languages when constructing these maps. If those languages had been grouped together, the marking of many states would change. In addition, Hawaiian is listed as a Pacific Island language, so following the ACS classifications, it was not included in the Native American languages map. "
The last couple of years I have been thinking a lot about verbal literacy's role in effective search skills. This article is a good overview over the power of search and how to hone one's skills, which includes expanding one's operational vocabulary.
Whether it's Wikipedia, Michael Lewis, or Aristotle, reading brings a host of benefits to the workplace.
"Many business people claim that reading across fields is good for creativity. And leaders who can sample insights in other fields, such as sociology, the physical sciences, economics, or psychology, and apply them to their organizations are more likely to innovate and prosper."
Also from the article...
"Reading increases verbal intelligence (PDF), making a leader a more adept and articulate communicator. Reading novels can improve empathy and understanding of social cues, allowing a leader to better work with and understand others — traits that author Anne Kreamer persuasively linked to increased organizational effectiveness, and to pay raises and promotions for the leaders who possessed these qualities. And any business person understands that heightened emotional intelligence will improve his or her leadership and management ability."
A PREFACE TO THIS 4 PART SCOOP SERIES IN DEFENSE OF READING LITERATURE
Have you ever had to defend great literature at a facuIty meeting? Ever struggle to justify fiction as having value during budget crunch discussions? Or, defend a title as having value to a parent, or that parent's offspring for that matter?
I've been researching the benefits of literature in pursuit of refining vision and mission statements, and other challenging questions related to my pending application for 501(c)(3) nonprofit status.
Today, I've focused upon the real question bluntly phrased, "What are the benefits of reading literature in the real world?"
I've come across a few articles today that are responsive to the question from perspectives beyond those of which we who teach literature are already aware. That is to say, articles that bring the value of reading literature to the "rest of the world," and of particular interest to me at the moment, to those who are willing to provide funding to socially beneficial endeavors, IF AND ONLY IF, those efforts can be documented as having measurable impact.
Though it is relatively easy to measure improvement impact in literacy education, as literacy is a "can-you-do-it-or-not" skill, it is much more difficult to measure impact of employing that skill in pursuit of wisdom as it has been articulated in great works of our global literary heritage.
PART 1 OF A 4 SCOOP SERIES IN DEFENSE OF READING LITERATURE ________________________________________
This extremely well-documented article goes right at the "What good is fiction in the business world" challenge.
A LOT of good apparently!
The premise being that great literature can make great leaders, whether they are business leaders such as "Steve Jobs (who) had an "inexhaustible interest" in William Blake; Nike founder Phil Knight [who] so reveres his library that in it you have to take off your shoes and bow; and Harman Industries founder Sidney Harman (who) called poets "the original systems thinkers," quoting freely from Shakespeare and Tennyson" or great political leaders; I had forgotten that the 1953 Nobel prize in Literature went to Winston Churchill who was awarded the prize "for his mastery of historical and biographical description as well as for brilliant oratory in defending exalted human values". (http://www.nobelprize.org/nobel_prizes/literature/laureates/1953/)
To know that there are those in the business world who recognize that the value of being well-read is a true 21st century skill of great value to both those who lead leaders as well as to those being led in the business world may put us in debt to those who recognize and articulate the values of literature beyond the awareness of non literature educators in curriculum development and decision making positions and in the communities where we dedicate our professional efforts.
Research shows that reading fluency is the key to building solid comprehension. How can you help your students become more fluent?
Gordon Shupe's insight:
Now appearing on a webpage near you: Content Marketing (a company that sells something offering -content- or information about their area of expertise) in an infographic form. Sort of like an online infomercial but better.
I think literacy includes knowing your source. Nice infographic, good infor, but still content marketing.
"How exactly does the technology we use to read change the way we read? How reading on screens differs from reading on paper is relevant not just to the youngest among us, but to just about everyone who reads—to anyone who routinely switches between working long hours in front of a computer at the office and leisurely reading paper magazines and books at home; to people who have embraced e-readers for their convenience and portability, but admit that for some reason they still prefer reading on paper; and to those who have already vowed to forgo tree pulp entirely. As digital texts and technologies become more prevalent, we gain new and more mobile ways of reading—but are we still reading as attentively and thoroughly? How do our brains respond differently to onscreen text than to words on paper? Should we be worried about dividing our attention between pixels and ink or is the validity of such concerns paper-thin?"
I will admit it, I have yet to read an entire novel or non-fiction book (of over a 100 pages) on an electronic device. But that is partly because I don't typically read novels and the non-fiction topics that I am interested in are not yet available in electronic form. But I have read (and do read) comprehend and 'know' a small library's worth of information over the last few years in smaller chunks from the screen of my various devices. I agree with the research and acknowledge the continued need for printed reading skills and materials. But I would also point out that these two formats should not be mutually exclusive, but rather are complimentary. Reading, managing, recalling, citing, validating digital text is quite different from printed text. It may be that printed text is preferable given a certain history/experience/purpose/ or skill set. But there are just as many advantages to electronic texts, and maybe we need to address them as two different important literacies as educators. It reminded me of comments I made when the iPad first came out: http://www.shupester.com/files/iPadDifferent.php iOS / iPad not 'better' but 'good different'?
As much as I love my Bible Apps and News Aggregators and I am ready to recite the values of eBooks, I think there are many arguments supporting physical book reading. I feel some of the same regret when I reflected on trying to teach keyboarding using computers rather than using typewriters. But that ship sailed a long time ago, and keyboarding is disappearing skill. One could even argue keyboarding is becoming less necessary with Natural Language User Interfaces that are becoming more prevalent.