In Julie Coiro’s article titled “Purposeful, Critical, and Flexible: New Standards for Online Thinking, Teaching and Theory” the term “new literacies research" is used. Although the term was used at least six times in the article, I did not find its definition. Consequently I searched the Internet for a definitive definition of the term “new literacies.”
My first stop was the “The New Literacies Research Lab” at the University of Connecticut webpage. http://www.newliteracies.uconn.edu/ Although I did not find a definitive definition, the description of their work alluded to their meaning of “new literacies.” In particular, under the “Who We Are” banner it stated “The New Literacies Research Lab at the University of Connecticut is the most widely recognized center in the world for conducting research on the new reading comprehension and learning skills required by the Internet and other emerging information and communication technologies.” I felt I was getting warm, but I continued my search.
My second stop was the webpage for the International Reading Association (IRA) titled “New Literacies and 21st-Century Technologies.” http://www.reading.org/general/aboutIRA/positionstatements/21stcenturyliteracies.aspx The webpage pertains to the IRA’s position statement on the topic. In particular, it stated “To become fully literate in today's world, students must become proficient in the new literacies of 21st-century technologies. IRA believes that literacy educators have a responsibility to integrate information and communication technologies (ICTs) into the curriculum, to prepare students for the futures they deserve.” Although this statement provided some insight about term, it did not define “new literacies,” so I continued my search by opening up the IRS's position statement pdf file.
I was happy to find the following:
“There is extensive debate about what new literacies are— the term is used to mean many different things by many different people. However, there are at least four common elements that apply to nearly all of the current perspectives being used to inform the broader dimensions of new literacies research (Coiro, Knobel, Lankshear, & Leu,2008):
(1) The Internet and other ICTs require new social practices, skills, strategies, and dispositions for their effective use
(2) new literacies are central to full civic, economic, and personal participation in a global community
(3) new literacies rapidly change as defining technologies change
(4) new literacies are multiple, multimodal, and multifaceted; thus, they benefit from multiple lenses seeking to understand how to better support our students in a digital age.”
Jackpot! First, it confirmed my suspicion that this term “new literacies” has multiple meanings. Second, it provided the common elements of these multiple meanings – the closest thing to a definitive definition.