Tuesday, April 23, 2013
Levels of literacy
Yesterday I taught an introduction class. Two of my students had originally signed up for the intermediate class (called "Getting More") and after the first fifteen minutes decided they were in too advanced a class and left. During the day they indicated that they were very glad they had moved back a level, and one student is going to be taking another introduction class rather than a "Getting More" class for a different program. My classes are different than many literacy classes in that my students are expected to have certain literacy skills, and we only have one day to 'learn' the software. I think often of the more knowledgeable other I become in the front of the room. My students are anywhere from 18 to 70 years old, and come in with their own history and skills. I have to kind of corral those skills into a common area and begin to work with the group to bring them up to a common skill level. In the Getting More classes, the zone of proximal development becomes more important. I scaffold the students to become more proficient in software that helps them in their jobs, which is the primary reason people take these classes. Ms. Coiro (got it this time, Dr. M.) discusses literacy in a way that pertains to my work. Eymann's discussion of digital literacy resonated with me, because as I've written in previous posts, the literacy in computers is not the skills to perform the tasks, but the ability to use the skills to acquire knowledge. Everyone used Presi last week, which I've never seen before, but is evidently common in the academic world. So now I am once again illiterate; I will be working on my own to explore the software and see if it is something I can learn without instruction. I am self-taught in most of the software I teach, and students are sometimes amazed (their word) that I can learn software on my own. It's only recently that I realize that other people don't understand software the way I do - I always say it just makes sense to me. And yet there has been so much this semester that everyone understands that I struggle with. Another example of different literacies, the basis for this class. Off to school.