Everyone had the opportunity to discuss the qualities of transliteracy during the small group session and some groups enjoyed added high-tech accoutrements like coloured felt-tips and flip charts.
Neil began our sharing session by passing on Andy’s suggestion that we think about what makes transliteracy distinctive. Group four seemed to agree that the defining difference of transliteracy is the movement between senses. (Yay! I personally agree with this idea especially in the context of web fictions where readers (critical readers, literate readers) must be able to interpret (not just navigate) various modes which appear or are present in the same space/time.)
Claire Hudson, reporting for group seven, saw transliteracy more about awareness of sensitivity to different kinds of human interaction rather than terming it as an “ability.” Claire then noted that often literacy is vs fluency and found Andrew’s comments (made in his presentation on music and transliteracy) were pertinent: one needn’t be literate in order to be fluent. Group seven tackled the idea that collective behaviour can be exclusive. Claire finished her feedback with a question: “will the next generation all be transliterate?”
Tag clouds can be understood as new ways of reading announced Ruth for group five. Tag clouds are excellent examples of tying together verbal and visual literacies. Accompanying group five’s (numerous!) thoughts were a variety of graphs. While I cannot do justice to all of them I will share with you some of the main ideas. In terms of collaboration there are benefits such as user “curated” content which allows the building of a montage of pre-existing material thus satisfying different styles of learning (this would definitely have some practical applications in the class/lecture room). As Toby explained, moving “across” existing lit. by montage/mashing up etc… creates a “new” kind of literature (or work etc…) that moves us (as readers, learners, participants) to a new or more embodied literature. In terms of learning styles, transliteracy might also call attention to a selective reading or selective attention. Rather than demanding a left-to-right complete absorption of a “text,” transliterate readers can skim and scan in a non-linear way. So transliteracy is a different kind of literacy that relates to multiples and plurality of attention.
David related group two’s finding by noting that an awareness of cultural and historical context might be a quality of transliteracy but what would those to terms actually mean to a 14 year old – would her awareness be only of her specific history and context? (However, I think we could probably agree that all history and context is situated). David also explained that “awareness” of new tools is too pragmatic for a concept as fluid as transliteracy. However, multimodal sensibility, David argued, should include ethics and critical literacy. Again, I must agree! Of course. All reading is interpreting and the more fluent a reader you are, the more critically literate you probably are. Thus, teaching people to read transliterally also means teaching readers to ask why certain modes have been employed, what kinds of contexts are invoked, and who is empowered? Mark echoed group five’s thinking that transliteracy is about different levels of attention and so should encourage and develop multiple kinds and ways of attending to skills like searching and engaging and the shifting balances between reading video online and e-mail communication etc… Ruth came to the conclusion that transliteracy is transmodality rather than just multimodality which are just modes existing at the same time.
Guiding the general discussion back to the term transliteracy, Dave E., who is a visual artist, suggested that transliteracy should be renamed so as to avoid being “imprisoned in letters.” In terms of acknowledging context and history he reminded us that identity is not monolithic and asked how might context-specific identities fit with transliteracy? (I suspect feminist theory would give us some ideas here).