Posts Tagged ‘cary bazalgette’

Digital Literacies

Friday, March 6th, 2009

I’ve recently had trouble interpreting terms like digital literacies, visual literacies, knowledge literacies, and web literacies. What exactly do they mean?

In an enjoyable lecture – appropriately titled The Great Multimodal Muddle – held last night at the School of Education, freelance writer and researcher Cary Bazalgette talked of the confusion resulting from the extended application of the term ‘literacy’ to non-print based media. She stressed that literacy should always refer to the knowledge and understanding of texts, and also explained how the concept of multimodality is nothing new; using Danish church interiors and Maori carvings as examples.

Bazalgette challenges the notion that all digital media should be seen collectively, proposing instead that the study of lliteracies be conceptualised around two basic categories: ‘Page-based Texts’ (which includes digital artifacts like Webpages and SMS), and ‘Time-based Texts’ (i.e. TV, film, games, VR, recorded music, podcasts etc.) This seems to be a useful framework, though I would argue Web environments which increasingly combine multiple media (i.e. page- and time-based texts) make this approach problematic.

Bazalgette concluded with some interesting observations on recent research, explaining how very young children  learn concepts of narrative, genre and character through viewing TV, whilst developing an understanding of ‘film language’ that is often to a higher level of sophistication than that provided by age-appropriate print texts.