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Multiple Literacies for the 21st Century

Three Senior Students Studying

New literacies build upon the foundational literacies we have always taught in schools to prepare students for the effective use of books, paper, and pencils. However, the new literacies go beyond these foundational literacies to include new reading, writing, viewing, and communication skills required by the many new ICTs that continue to appear in our lives. (Leu et al. 496)

In the 21st century, the Internet instantly makes available vast amounts and types of unfiltered information. Most of this information is no longer filtered by textbook publishers, librarians, and teachers, so students need to extend their literacy skills to include the following:

True, False
  • identifying appropriate inquiry questions
  • navigating multiple information networks to locate relevant information (print, images, data, video, music, talk, et cetera)
  • applying critical thinking skills to evaluate information sources and content
  • synthesizing information and ideas from multiple sources and networks
  • representing information and ideas creatively in visual, aural, and textual formats
  • crediting and #rightreferencing sources of information and intellectual property
  • communicating new understandings to others, both face to face and over distance

The Conference Board of Canada has compiled a list of essential skills for lifelong learning in the 21st century. They include broad literacy skills that will be required as today’s students graduate and enter the workforce. These same skills are also embedded in the continuum.

  • Managing Data: identifying what needs to be measured or calculated, estimating and verifying, and observing and recording primary data using appropriate technology
  • Managing Information: locating, collecting, assessing, analyzing, and applying knowledge from various disciplines and electronic sources
  • Communicating Ideas: reading a variety of media formats, writing and speaking clearly, and communicating using a range of technologies

(Conference Board of Canada)

Resources for Multiple Literacies

For access to more resources about multiple literacies, visit the LwICT - Resources for Multiple Literacies site. This site is moderated, if you have a recommended resource that you would like to share, just double click and post your resource to the site.