While Allen does not in this article define the 21st century literacies that students need to become fluent in, he does characterize them. Summarized briefly, he states that changes in technology result in the need for complex and different approaches to the application of existing literacies, and the creation and transformation of new literacies, as well as new social practices, skills, and approaches to cope with them.
Some of the advice he gives probably seems obvious to most teachers in the classroom today, such as integrating technology, and promoting critical thinking. However, there are some very interesting ideas presented as well that still seem fresh and often overlooked even 6 years after they were published.
1. Using online roleplay to discuss narrative and character development in an engaging and authentic way that promotes learner autonomy.
2. Redefining ‘original’ to include projects that synthesize, remix, or ‘mash-up’ preexisting content.
3. Strategic reading and active decision-making as a strategy to combat following off topic links during research.
Despite being published in 2010, Allan’s article contains ideas that are still pertinent and valuable to the modern educator. It was worth reading.
Matthew Boomhower is a mid-career educator with 18 years of classroom teaching and educational leadership experience. He is Head of Innovation & Learning at an international school in Malaysia and is a proud husband and father.