Sunday, October 11, 2009

putting the "new" in "new media literacies": a helpful visual aid

Here's a Prezi project I've been working on to visualize some key features of what Kress, Lankshear & Knobel, Scribner & Cole, and others find salient in emerging new media literacy practices.

This visualization emphasizes Lankshear & Knobel's characterization of two distinct approaches to the "new" in "new media literacy." As they explain, the use of 'new' in the paradigmatic sense is a sociocultural approach to literacy practices:

the New Literacy Studies comprise a new paradigm for looking at literacy as opposed to the paradigm that already existed that was based on psychology. The use of 'new' here parallels that which is involved in names for initiatives or movements such as the New School of Social Research, the New Science, the New Criticism (and New Critics) and so on. In all such cases, the proponents think of their project as comprising a new and different paradigm relative to an existing orthodoxy or dominant approach.

Okay, that's the paradigmatic sense of 'new.' Here's the ontological sense, which Lankshear & Knobel explain

refers to the idea that changes have occurred in the character and substance of literacies associated with changes in technology, institutions, media, the economy, and the rapid movement toward global scale in manufacture, finance, communications and so on. These changes have impacted on social practices in all the main areas of everyday life within modern societies.... Established social practices have been transformed, and new forms of social practice have emerged and continue to emerge at a rapid rate.

Gunther Kress, in "Literacy and Multimodality," emphasizes design, perhaps above all else. He explains:
Design does not ask, 'what was done before, how, for whom, with what?' Design asks, 'what is needed now, in this one situation, with this configuration of purposes, aims, audience, and with these resources, and given my interests in this situation?'

Design matters; and my choice to work with Prezi and a publicly accessible blog shaped my engagement with this project. It would have looked very different had I sketched it out on a sheet of paper; even had I sketched it first, with the intention of designing it in Prezi and posting it to my blog.

This visualization is only my first attempt to point to two broad groups of shifts into new media literacy studies. I hope to gather feedback (you can comment below!); return to, revise, and refine this project; and resubmit it for your approval at a later date. Thank you in advance for your input.

To take a look at the visualization, click the arrow below the design. It's interactive--you can zoom in on any part of the graphic.


Mike said...

That is very cool. I'm going to have to try this out. I just found some software from Smart that lets you create concept maps pretty easily.

But i like how this one is 'interactive'. However, it sometimes is hard to see the big picture overall with how small it is (i know, out of your control). But as far as a presentation goes, this is very nice.

Jenna McWilliams said...

If you click on the "more" button on the right hand side, you can select the "full screen" option, which helps but doesn't fully resolve that issue.

Diane Glosson said...

Nice job on the mapping! I used an 'old fashioned' concept map, with way too many details...I like yours much better! It's simply designed... yet says it all. Great job!

Sean said...

This is awesome. Prezi is an important new contender in the presentation tool market, and I'm thrilled to see the "embed" function working (even if it is a bit awkward right now). I'm thinking a lot about Bruno Latour and actor-network theory at the moment - how non-human actors work with humans to create the social. Sometimes peeps take "technology" as being an actor without breaking it down into smaller components/actors; I really think that the "embed" function that has become ubiquitous across social media platforms is a hugely important young and hot actor. The ease that we can embed prezis, googlemaps and videos into plain ole text pretty much confirms that we're going to have to rethink the parameters of "text" altogether. In fact, I think that "new media" or "digital" as descriptors of current literacy practices also fall short. If communication platforms can so hospitably hold all these different modes of expression in one space. I'm thinking that networked literacies works better, but I need more space than a comment to work this out. #ineedmyownblogalready

Julie said...

I'm with Dianne; I love the simplicity of your concept map, and the division between paradigmatic and ontological makes a lot of sense with the readings we had.

Unsurprisingly (knowing me), I'm having issues with getting Prezi to work (I can't seem to zoom in enough to get the details), and because my kid is crying in the next room, I'm going to have to give up on it rather than sticking with the technology and figuring it out. THis is a common cycle for me a new things. I'm so unbelievably impatient that if something isn't easy and perfect within two seconds of using it, I'm frustrated and I give up.

In theory, though, I definitely see its allure.

The Untwitterable said...

This is pretty suave

Charlene said...

I love it! I think the fact that you used a new skill to put this up is great. I really want to do it with my readings =) If I need help, can I bug you?


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