Thoughts and ramblings inspired by UKLA National Conference 2013 (Part 1)

Here I am back in my office after a long, yet increadibly inspiring day at the UKLA National Conference 2013. My thoughts are spinning with the speed of light and I am having so many debates with myself that it becomes hard to think. This is why I decided to lay them out briefly here. This somehow fits with the overal focus of the conference on multimodal literacies and specifically the use of Web 2.0 tools to share information with the world. As much as the focus was on schools, I can see relevance in my PhD experience – we all blog now, we all have something to say to the world out there, we all try to build an audience and share what we do, develop new networks and learn from others. And with the technological development it has become all so easy, hasn’t it?

Back to the conference, in my current state of mind the major thoughts go like this (I am really trying to bring some structure, forgive me if it doesn’t seem so):

  • Learning in a fast-paced world and the use of Web 2.0 tools in the classroom – as an educator, researcher and aspiring academic I have asked myself a number of times about the value of learning, its relevance and importance in all sorts of contexts. The relevance is my top concern, there is so much written about making learning relevat and yet at the majority of cases it is teacher-centred and favouring certain experiences over others. The use of Web 2.0 has become so widespread – people are buzzing on Facebook, Twitter, blogs, Flickr and so on sharing content, making links, communicating in an array of new ways so is that something that would make education relevant? Is that pointing us towards the new sets of skills and literacies that children need to develop?
  • Blogging at school develops literacy skills – in order to to learn how to blog and produce content to share, children have to read and write. In fact, they have to read and write a lot. I am absolutely inspired by the work going on in some schools where children are getting to grips with Web 2.0 at a very early age. I think this is quite important as this seems to be the way forward, the way to get to know new literacies which are as valid as alphabetical literacy.
  • The old and new ways debate and inner dilemmas – I have a confession to make, I have always been going on and on about children reading books for pleasure. I used to love reading as a child and I still do now! But there is a point to accept that our ways are changing. I used to read as a child because I didn’t have a laptop or a PS or whatever new gadgets are out there nowadays. I used to play with other children outside and my portable wireless Barbie casette player was an absolute technological hit! Then again, how much has changed in the last 20 years… I suppose we have to go with the flow and try to adopt new ways of thinking and doing as much as possible while persevering through inner doubts and dilemmas.

 I will have to stop here as this post seems to be getting a tad bit too long 🙂 In my next post I will address the following:

  • Multimodal approaches to literacy teaching and what is literacy?
  • Literacy and EAL
  • My research within the literacy debate
  • Resources are everywhere so it’s about being creative to make it work.

Let me know in the comments section which of these points appeal to you the most!


One comment

  1. Elena Anastasiou · · Reply

    I have noticed on the school I volunteered at, that EducationCity software programme was proved to be a very helpful tool for students with EAL. It offers them a multimodal way of understanding even the most simple concepts- or even connecting words with meanings eg parts of the body with the right words refers to. I was also quite impressed from their interest and motivation on using those programmes instead of just using a pencil and a paper:)

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