Monday, February 16, 2009

Is digital literacy supplanting print literacy?

In a series of thought provoking articles, the New York Times is exploring the question of whether the emerging visual society we find ourselves in is redefining the notion of literacy itself.  In this second installment entitled "Using Video Games as Bait to Hook Readers," the NYT reports that some commentators like Jack Martin, Assistant Director for Young Adult Programs at the New York Public Library, claim that the concept of what it means to "read" is undergoing a transformation:  “Reading is no longer just in the traditional sense of reading words in English or another language on a paper."  Rather, there is an emerging "digital literacy" that is learned from video games and other visual mediums.

Others, like Professor Mark S. Seidenberg of the University of Wisconsin a scholar in the cognitive processes that support reading, assert that there is still little research on whether students ultimately absorb information better through a digital medium such as video games.  As he says:  “I actually think reading is pretty great and can compete with video games easily.  So rather than say, ‘Oh, books are irrelevant in the modern era because there are all these other media available,’ I would ask shouldn’t we be doing a better job of teaching kids how to read?”

The first article in the series, "Online R U Really Reading?" appears here

I am the scholarship dude.


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