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Literacy And Literate Practices
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Fan authors, artists, beta-readers, and webmaster are also developing a strong work ethic as they engage in self-motivated and self-monitored forms of content creation and set their own learning goals and standards in relation to their textual products. Collectively, these activities are all illustrative of the sort of "learning and innovation...and life and career skills" (NCTE, 2007, n.p.) that are valued in the 21st century and can be developed either in tandem with or independently of new technologies. Such activities also illustrate that ELLs, in spite of language barriers, are fully capable of using technology and multimodal forms of representation to learn and generate knowledge through participation in linguistically sophisticated and cognitively demanding tasks.
As this paper deals with literacy and literate practices, it is not surprising that an underlying theme running through the discussion Breitling Replica is that of identity. Many adolescents spend time communicating and creating content online largely as a means of forging social connections and representing themselves and their perspectives to their peers. As adolescents develop new literacy, technology, and 21st-century proficiencies, they are also taking on the values, mindsets (Lankshear & Knobel, 2007), and ways of being in the world (Gee, 1992) associated with such practices and digital media spaces. In terms of literacy education then, it might be useful to begin thinking about how activities in such spaces recruit identities and literacy practices and mindsets that are valuable for learning. For example, the appeal of many online communities or affinity spaces (Gee, 2004) is that they allow youths to adopt a variety of social roles including peer, mentor, learner, collaborator, technology-expert, webmaster, author, reader, and consultant. Also in these sites, youths take on leadership roles, set their own goals for participation, and engage in self-directed forms of learning.
These kinds of identities and ways of being in the world also have the potential to serve students well in schools. As Cummins (1996) pointed out, â€œthere is a reciprocal relationship between cognitive engagement and identity investment" (p. 126). Specifically, the more that ELL students can take on Breitling Replica Watches powerful roles as learners and experience success with learning, "the more their academic self-concept grows, and the more academically engaged they become" (1996, p. 126). However, nonmainstream students more often receive the message that their cultural and linguistic backgrounds and prior knowledge and experiences are irrelevant to classroom activities, thus giving them little to build on as learners.
The challenge then is thinking of ways to make our classrooms more open to what Lankshear and Knobel (2007) referred to as the "ethos stuff" of new literacies (p. 9). This might involve creating classroom environments that emphasize inquiry-based, participatory forms of learning in which students are encouraged to explore alternative interpretations of literature and classroom materials, much as they explore alternative interpretations of media through their fan fiction texts. Activities would, of course, require expert guidance by teachers; however, in keeping with the ethos of new literacies and 21st-century proficiencies, they also would involve a great deal of collaborative learning among students and would stress the importance of accessing, evaluating, and integrating knowledge across available on- and offline sources. Such an approach presents an alternative to the "teacher as authority" model and allows students to build on their existing competencies, consider the validity of multiple perspectives, and enact powerful identities as both teachers and learners.
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