Education and librarianship have a bias toward print. This communication/ information format has served civilization well for a couple millennia. Most professionals now demonstrate high levels of proficiency in print literacy skills and they can be expected to defend the necessity of such skills vociferously. Most of my fellow professionals are in the same straights that I find myself - a competent reader, writer, and print analyst but neophyte video, audio, and graphic producer, consumer, and critic. And it is human nature to be dismissive of those competencies that we ourselves lack.
But I would argue that postliteracy is a return to more natural forms of multi-sensory communication - speaking, storytelling, dialogue, drawing, debate, and dramatization. It is just now that these modes can be captured and stored digitally as easily as writing. Information, emotion, and persuasion may be even more powerfully conveyed in multi-media formats. Libraries for a Post-Literate Society Multimedia & Internet @ Schools, July/August 2009
By any traditional measure, I am considered a literate person. I can read, speak, and write. I do it well enough that others will pay me for using these skills. Being literate has served me well both professionally and personally. I would say this assessment also applies to 99% of all educators I've known.
Yet I am increasingly feeling "trans-illiterate." I lack the grammar, syntax, and vocabulary needed to create a professional looking video, podcast, graphic, or game. I also feel I lack the analytic skills to deconstruct these media as I would a poem, novel, or essay.
So I need to carefully consider how much my own transilliteracy impacts my answer to this month's ISTE Leading & Learning Point/Counterpoint question: "Should transliteracy replace language arts?" Is "language arts ... due for an update to encompass literacy in all the media that students must navigate in our mediacentric society" is the wicked question.
Not being transliterate myself, I have a difficult time determining if traditional print literacy is a prerequisite to other literacies. Do I need to be able to write well if I am going created a quality video, for example? My approach to creating a video would be to write a script first, so I would consider traditional literacy foundational to transliteracy. But that's me.
This feels like a classic "and" not "or" situation. It shouldn't be tradtional language arts or digital literacy but traditional language arts and digital literacy. And I would argue the class should be core at every grade level - required by all students.
So who would we find among our current generation of teachers and librarians who could teach these fundamental skills for a post-literated society?