Thriving Online – Rheingold’s Digital Literacies

Rob Watson, The Hechinbger Report, Dec 20, 2013
Commentary by Stephen Downes
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I think we can all agree that literacies are more than just "a new set of ideas and affordances." But Rob Watson asks, "when did literacies become something that we practice, in the form of a skill, rather than something that we strive for? When did literacies stop being about understanding the intentions of the author and the meanings that are potential within a text, for which reflection and contemplation gave us the answer?" On the other hand, I would view literacies as being deeper than "about understanding the intentions of the author and the meanings that are potential within a text, for which reflection and contemplation gave us the answer."

For the record, Howard Rheingold's digital literacies are:

  • Attention! The Fundamental Literacy.
  • Calibrating Your Crap Detector: What You Pay Attention to After You Pay Attention to Attention.
  • What It Takes to Participate in Participatory Culture—and What You Get Out of It.
  • Clueing in to Collaboration: Making Virtual Communities, Collective Intelligence, and Knowledge Networks Work for You (and Us).
  • What You Need to Know about Network Smarts—from Small Worlds to Privacy Settings, from Weak Ties to Social Capital.

And viewing this gives me context for Watson's criticisms, but underlines how literacy needs to be deeper that the determination of meanings within a text.

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