Tuesday, April 23, 2013

Reflection on Heidi Shzter and Mark Warschauer

Reflection on Shetzer and Waschauer

The article provides complete framework for an electronic literacy. It divides 3 skills of an electronic literacy overlapping areas: (1) communication, (2) construction and (3) research.

For communication, computer-mediated communication (CMC) allows us to communicate with groups of people all over the world at the same time at little cost. It can be found to exhibit certain characteristics typical of written communication, certain characteristic typical of spoken communication. Although CMC is useful and helpful, it may reduce social context clues related to race, gender, handicap, accent and status, as well as non-verbal cues such as frowning and hesitating. How to communicate effectively via computer may involve new ways of interacting and collaborating.

Secondly, for construction, there are 3 important shifts: (1) from essay to hypertext. (2) from words to multimedia, and (3) from author to co-constructor. Hypertext is not only matter of reconceptualizing how to arrange words; it also involves creative use of other media, such as graphics, audio, and video. The article pointed out that on-line construction of documents is generally a collaborative process.

For research, knowing how to navigate internet sources, search for information, and critically evaluate and interpret what is found represents perhaps the most crucial set of electronic literacy skills. Simply speaking, in the past, students are required to search the information what they want to know or need, however, now students may only input the keywords on search engine online. They can acquire the relevant information. It is no doubt that students looking for information on the internet are expected to have different reading and research strategies. Besides, students are expected to have the ability of evaluation on text and multimedia documents.

This article provides a useful and helpful of electronic literacy approach in classroom applications. The table below shows difference between earlier approaches v electronic literacy approach.

Earlier approaches
Electronic literacy approach
Based on speaking and listening
Also includes computer-mediate communication
Based on linear texts.
Excludes nonprint media
Tends to focus on individual writing
Also includes hypertexts
Combines texts and other media
Strong focus on collaboration
Reading & research
Restricted to print sources
Focuses on linear texts
Excludes nonprint media
Tends to separate reading skills

Focuses on library search skills
Includes on-line sources
Also includes hypertexts
Combines texts and other media
Views critical evaluation as central to reading
Includes searching and navigating on-line sources
Learning paradigm
Often based on curricular learning paradigm
Based on interactive learning paradigm, with emphasis on autonomous learning

As the mentioned in this article, the framework is designed to be used as a tool for planning tasks and projects for the language classroom that use computers and the internet as tools for personal and professional empowerment. In combination of communication, construction and research, skills and activities are suggested to promote autonomous learning and meaningful language use.

The electronic literacy approach causes many implications of the three overlapping areas caused many implications on challenging the boundaries of traditional teaching. Teaching students to ask questions and find answer in a global, on-line context raises provocative sociopolitical issues that teachers need to comprehend in order to effectively teach strategies for autonomous learning and language use.

The strengths of electronic literacy approach in terms of communication, construction and research. Many of the ideas in the communication section of the framework encourage the teaching of speech acts and conversational strategies and functions reminiscent of notional-functional syllabi. Creating web pages and web sites can be supplementary component to a language class that meets occasionally in a computer lab, or it can be a course in itself. As for research, teachers might progress from teacher-directed projects, which provide necessary scaffolding for beginning internet users, to student-orientated projects so as to promote autonomous learning.

Although the electronic literacy approach can benefit the students and teachers, the CMC as in the article is very difficult to master. In reality, technologies always change and improved, even will be phased out. Today the technology we acquired will be out of date tomorrow. It is the limitation for electronic literacy approach. We are reluctant to keep a peace with the development of technology.

Nowadays, the price of laptop computers, tablets and smartphones, I do believe that it is essential equipment for students like watches and calculators are to be permitted for carrying into schools and class. Basically, some developers started investigate ebooks for teaching and learning. So the electronic literacy approach will be widely adopted.

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