Talking #transliteracy with @dajbelshaw @PatParslow @hrheingold @daveowhite @ambrouk

First posted at my personal blog

Today, the looming start of term requires grant and report writing but I cannot settle to it without first referencing one of those complex Twitter conversations that suddenly burst out last night and needs to be addressed. This is where Twitter quickly becomes annoyingly much too constraining, but this post will also be short as time is limited today.

Last night @dajbelshaw @ambrouk @PatParslow @hrheingold @daveowhite and I were discussing a new post by @dajbelshaw on digital literacies, open source and Google, a conversation which led us in all kinds of directions including digital and analogue cultural normalization, crap detection, and the post-digital. This morning I followed up on suggested reading via 2 pieces by @daveowhite from 2009 – one on the post-digital and an earlier one on preparing for it

I'd like to make a quick comment on the notion of post-digital, or post- anything for that matter.  My research into transliteracy has convinced me that thinking linearly about literacy is seldom a good idea. Literacy should be thought of as a holistic ecology, not a linear series of events and changes. Yes, we can trace all kinds of 'first uses' to dates or moments in time but what is much more important than a first use is the way that a tool or skill becomes integrated and unified within the greater sphere of all literacies – nonverbal, visual, grammatical, alphabetical, interpersonal, cultural, interactional and so on. 

There are some who find transliteracy annoying because it is too much like a theory of everything. I appreciate their irritation, but point out that it was not until we developed the unifying concept of 'the environment' that real progress started to be made in terms of collaboration towards ecological sustainability. I predict that the same will be found to be true of literacy once we realise that theconnections between varieties of literacies are endlessly more fascinating and productive than the differences.



2 thoughts on “Talking #transliteracy with @dajbelshaw @PatParslow @hrheingold @daveowhite @ambrouk

  1. I take your point about the dangers of thinking linearly but in a later post I evolved the idea to explore how technologies become culturally normalised
    Generally I find ‘motivation to engage’ in different contexts a useful tool for understanding the web as in my Visitors & Residents idea:
    This is based on a continuum which can be used to map your approach. Currently assessing the value of a vertical axis labelled ‘Personal’ and ‘Institutional’. It would be an axis of ‘Validation’.

  2. Dave, thanks for your comment. Of course, trying to be clever I put my post on 2 different blogs and now I have a comment from you on this one and a comment from Pat Parslow on my general blog Arg! So I’ll respond to you here and to Pat there!
    The first post and comments make for an interesting meander through all the different states of being we struggle with in relation to technology. I especially like your suggestion of ‘composite reality’ since that is kind of what reality always is, isn’t it? But the discourse still has this sense of regarding the products of techne as ‘new’ when they are very often just reworkings of other things. (And as a Prof of ~New~ Media I certainly suffer from this!)
    Re visitors and residents – I’ve read your work on this before and like the notion very much. In my last book, Hello World, I wrote about individual users going through a maturation process from being like children online, then adolescents, then adults, in terms of their personal journeys in cyberspace. I totally agree with you about the motivation issue and it’s about personality too, and an interesting willingness to leap in and try things. With regard to age differentials etc, you might enjoy the comments from our 2000 survey in the section about what worries and excites people about the internet.
    thanks again for responding.

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