Over the last decade, the information age has been rapidly changed by the introduction of the new literacy. But even this definition, now a decade old, fails to articulate how might change in an “information age. New literacies have risen due to the introduction of new technologies such as text messages, blogging, social media, video making, and podcasting. These new technologies change and improve our communication skills and abilities, frequently by blending text, images, and sound (Gee, 2015). Even though we are still connected to older literacy practices of reading and writing, nevertheless the new technology has changed our definition of both reading and writing texts and the meaning of the text as well. This paper will compare and contrast the literacy practices we engage in the academic domain and the personal domain.
Introduction of the new literacies is very necessary for wielding these new technologies efficiently placing new demands mainly on students and the whole population as well. In life, we have a responsibility to move very fast in identifying problems and also know where to get the required information in addressing and solving these problems on our own. Additionally, we are also required to evaluate and synthesize the information we got so that we can solve the issues affecting us, communicate with our colleagues about these issues and their potential solutions and also monitor the solutions we get if they are effective and be up-to-date with any new problem that may arise.
Most scholars today define literacy as the ability to read and write. However, with time we have recognized that this definition doesn’t consider the economic, social, political and cultural power which is brought about by literacy (Barton, 2000). Additionally, UNESCO defines literacy as the state where we can identify, interpret, understand, communicate, create and figure, using written and printed materials related to the varying backgrounds. Literacy comprises of a continuum of learning materials which helps people to accomplish their learning objectives, thus developing their knowledge, understanding and their potential. Consequently, with this knowledge and understanding, people will be able to participate fully in their societies and the wider community.
The new literacies we have today are divided into four main literacy domains in which students and teachers have to develop their particular literacy practices. The most common literacy practices are academic and personal (Jetton, 2004). Both the personal and academic literacy practices have numerous differences and similarities. These differences have been caused by the difference in ideology and their associated values and beliefs. Thus each domain governs different types of reading and writing, the type of language which is used in the domain.
One of the major similarities between these two literacy practices is that both of them involve reading and writing. In the academic domain student and teachers read from the academic materials, so us to understand the academic concept. The academic domain today is dominated by reading and writing where the student is required to write whatever information he/she has understood from reading. In the personal domain, we always read and write on our daily basis (Barton, 2000). Over 90% of the world’s population either read news from a newspaper or use the social network to read the news. Additionally, most of us write more than once in a day, either in our diary or when writing or signing our bank details.
The second similarity of both personal and academic literacy practices is that they all use the same tools. Both of these practices use the same writing or reading materials. Due to the introduction of new technology, people today use social media to pass information which is intended for the academic domain or of a personal domain. Book authors today post reading materials or articles on the internet where the school students can read and get the information they require. On the other hand, some of the books of articles on the internet can be addressing personal life issues hence passing information to the personal domain (Barton, 2000).
Literacy practices we engage in the academic domain and at personal domain have numerous differences. One of the differences is that the literacy practices we engage in the academic domain is permanent and it cannot be changed while the literacy practices in the personal domain can change with time. For example, the academic theories we learn in school cannot change they will just remain the same unless the whole concept in the academic books is changed. The literacy practices in the personal domain changes with time and other factors.
The second difference is that the literacy practices in the academic domain have a different ideology with the literacy practices in the personal domain. Academic domain literacy practices aim at instilling us with the information about our world, science, our economy and our cultures while the personal domain literacy practices teach us about our personal lives and we should live (Jetton, 2004).
In conclusion, by learning new Literacies for Teachers, I have been able to differentiate literacy practices in a different domain. Additionally, before I joined the university I had no idea about literacy practices in the personal domain, but now I have a broad understanding of this domain of literacy practices. With this, I will be able to the different types of reading and writing and the language used in the different domain of literacy practices.