Sunday, November 2, 2008

Article Assessment: "The Educator's Guide to the Read/Write Web"

In this thoughtful piece about technology and the changing nature of education, author Will Richardson concisely summarizes recent technological developments and their implications in the field of education. Blogs, wikis, podcasts, and the sheer ease with which information can be accessed online have created a radically different information culture which in many ways demands a rethinking of traditional educational goals and methods. In particular, Richardson argues that the traditional definition of literacy as the ability to read and write is insufficient in an age where anyone with internet access and a computer can create content which is accessible across the globe. Literacy in such a society must also include the abilities to:

  • Identify sources and gauge their credibility
  • Compare new information with existing knowledge
  • Evaluate the authenticity and relevance of information
Simply being able to read and write is no longer enough.

As educators, Richardson's words are hugely relevant to us. Important as it is for students to be traditionally literate, it is increasingly critical that students also be able to evaluate and make intelligent use of the wealth of information at their fingertips. In an age where anyone can contribute to the body of knowledge, educators need to ensure that students develop those skills that enable them to become adept at gathering, interpreting, evaluating, and synthesizing information. The web is awash in information, some profound and enlightening, some trivial, and some disengenious or false. It is enormously important that students have the tools to intelligently evaluate information and it is the duty of the educational system to help provide those tools.

1 comment:

Ciara Rear said...

Layout: Your use of flowers to make bullet points is simply inspiring. I'm also impressed that you've managed to make your blog into a series of pages. Great organization.
Your phrasing is always great. I agree that we need to re-evaluate our definition of literacy. The ability to word process is listed under the Alaska standards for language arts, but that hardly constitutes technological literacy.
As an educator I realize how focused I have been on helping students to be traditionally literate, and will have to shift my focus in order to ensure that students become "adept at gathering, interpreting, evaluating and synthesizing information."