New Literacies

New literacies are historically and socially recognised ways of generating and communicating. These literacies reflect the current postmodern post-industrial social paradigm that is participatory, collaborative, collective, sharing-oriented, nonlinear and dynamic. This is contrasted with stable, individualised, author-centric and expert-dominated notions of literacy under previous paradigms.

The continuously transforming and evolving nature of literacy is characteristic of new literacies. Transliterate citizens have the ability to read, write and interact across a range of modalities that include conventional literacies of reading, writing and arithmetic right through to continually evolving literacies surrounding digital technologies and discourse. Meaning in multimodal texts is communicated through various modes that include spoken or written language, moving image, music and sound.

In working towards transliterate students, the role of teacher in primary classrooms has moved away from imparting literacy skills towards both teacher and students working collectively and collaboratively with their peers to obtain, create and express meaning within a multimodal environment.

For more, see:
Houtman, E. (2013). New literacies, learning, and libraries: How can frameworks from other fields help us think about the issues? In the Library with the Lead Pipe.  Retrieved from Accessed March 17th, 2014

Lankshear, C., & Knobel, M. (2012). ‘New’literacies: technologies and values. Teknokultura. Revista de Cultura Digital y Movimientos Sociales, 9(1), 45-71.  Retrieved from Accessed March 17th, 2014


One thought on “New Literacies

  1. Thanks Debra – ‘silly but so wise’ is great term. Maybe a direct quote or paraphrase from the readings in your definition would enhance further. A good start generally though, Cheers, Jon

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