It’s Broke, We Can Fix It

What is driving how literacy is taught in the 21st century in schools today? Is it fear or faith? Paul Barnwell in his article The Common Core’s Digital Literacy-Gap, raises the question this way “Do the common-core creators believe in a utopian world where students and teachers will magically leap from analog learning to being digitally competent?” Many of us know and live the proverb ‘anything worth having is worth working towards,’ so why haven’t we applied this knowledge or shall I say strategy to reading in today’s world?

Gone or quickly fading are the days of teaching reading in isolation. Our society is multi-faceted and if common core standards do not embrace the technology that is here to stay we will be headed on a path that will have a profound impact and influence on how our students learn and become productive citizens (on and off line).

“Adult literacy in 2012 means being able to synthesize information from multiple online sources to write a blog post or substantive email. It means analyzing which online tools will best serve your communications purpose. It means making smart decisions about what information is useful online, and how to curate and filter the endless stream of data coming in. It means reviewing your digital footprint and learning how to take some control over what information you broadcast to the world, from your tweets, profile pictures, and recommended links.”Paul Barnwell

Route 21 and the information given to build 21st century skills suggest a blueprint of success for the marriage of common core standards and digital literacy. In addition to covering the common core subjects they believe that schools have the additional responsibility to promote an understanding of the following while teaching the core subjects:

• Global Awareness
• Financial, Economic, Business and Entrepreneurial Literacy
• Civic Literacy
• Health Literacy
• Environmental Literacy

Their efforts to see the big picture should be applauded and more importantly resources should be provided to ensure that the marriage of both cannot merely survive but thrive. Our culture needs to know how to critically evaluate literacy in the forms of information, media, and through information, communication, and technology. If we do not supply this need, we are setting ourselves up to have citizens who do not operate at a level of productivity but marginal proficiency. While I am on the topic of productivity, what actions are K-12 schools taking to prepare students for life post high school? Route 21 once again highlights some necessary skills for those who pursue any higher education training rather it be vocational school or a college degree. The skills include ones ability to be flexible and adaptive, self-directed and one who takes initiative, one who posses social and cross-cultural skills, one who is productive and accountable, and one who has the ability to be a leader and take responsibility.

It goes without saying that this life-long learner appreciates the blueprint Route 21 outlines for promoting learning in this digital age that will have not only impact but a positive influence on our world.


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