‘New Literacies’

‘New Literacies’ is a term used to describe the dynamic process of being able to interpret and communicate across new evolving contexts and cultures that are becoming more and more intertwined in a technologically globalised world. It encompasses the shift and blurred boundaries between digital media of the New Age and the traditionally understood literacy of concrete texts such as books and film.

However, the traditional is not being replaced, but immersed in a new culture where the old and new are superimposed onto one another and turned on their head in a postmodern sense. This debunking occurs most frequently in internet culture, which has provided a thoroughfare for creativity that comments on and reflects society by building on the creativity of the past.

According to Lankshear and Knowbel, 2012, ‘postmodernity is not a displacement of modernity…It is more like a transcendence, in which elements of an earlier state of affairs are carried over and reshaped to become parts of new configurations’ (p.47). Much like this rejection of one or the other, ‘New Literacies’ rejects the interpretation of a singular meaning that comes from a single self or one creator. Much rather, it refers to communities (whether they be online, gaming, classroom, ethnic, cultural and social etc) interacting with one another as a collective. It is this collective mind that negotiates, shares ideas and creates together.

All considered, ‘New Literacies’ is all about ‘bridg[ing] and connect[ing] past, preset and, hopefully, future modalities.’ (Houtman, 2013) and we, as future teachers, will need to reexamine the rigidity of their teaching and understandings of ‘literacy’, ‘text’ and ‘author’ because we are in a world that is ‘deictic…and multifaceted.’ (Houtman, 2013).


Houtman, E. (2013). New literacies, learning, and libraries: How can frameworks from other fields help us think about the issues? In the Library   with the Lead Pipe.  Retrieved fromhttp://www.inthelibrarywiththeleadpipe.org/2013/new-literacies-learning-and-libraries-how-can frameworks-from-other-fields-help-us-think-about-the-issues/ Accessed February 14th, 2014

Lankshear, C., & Knobel, M. (2012). ‘New’literacies: technologies and values. Teknokultura. Revista de Cultura Digital y Movimientos Sociales, 9(1), 45-71.  Retrieved from http://everydayliteracies.net/files/RemixTeknokulturaEnglish.pdf Accessed February, 2014


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