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Friday, April 20, 2012

Literacies and complexity 




















On my idiosyncratic pathway through informal meetings and programmed events at AERA 2012 I became interested in how becoming literate with technology is now being conceptualised and investigated. Researchers I have a close affinity with see digital practices as hard to pin down, difficult to describe and often associated with disrupting assumptions about literacy, pedagogy and curriculum. As the simple attractions of the iPad capture the attention of early years researchers, they raise similar issues to those of their colleagues working with older children and youth - both in school, and out-of-school contexts. Issues of varied experience, questions of what is age appropriate, and re-considerations of the processes and products of meaning-making recur. I seem to have come down firmly on the side of embracing complexity, and resisting simple frameworks and accounts, and search for this in the work of colleagues. At the moment I can see three reasons for upholding this acknowledgement of complexity. Firstly, it seems to me to be the stongest theme in my own empirical work. Secondly, it is in sympathy with post-modernism's rejection of grand narratives. And thirdly, from the educational perpective, it defies the sort of reductions that make learning seem measurable and something to assess and therefore a subject for numerous attempts to monitor and control - to render it as a mechanism that holds those institutions and individuals responsible through the vice-like grip of accountability.

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