What Does It Mean To Be Literate?

I am working on a keynote presentation for the CEGSA conference coming up July 17, and I am hoping to gather insight from individuals for a crowdsourced portion of the presentation. It is my goal to gather original text/quotes, images, videos, audio, slides, etc. from you, members of my learning network, to answer the question, “What does it meant to be literate today?”  I expect that most responses will come from an information/knowledge/connected society perspective, and that’s great, but I am also happy to receive alternate perspectives on this topic.

I hope to use some of these in the presentation, but expect that I won’t be able to use all of them. However, I will be sure to share all submissions openly for others to see.

I have created a Google Form to streamline the process (click here), but if you would rather just email me your submission (or need help getting it to me), contact me at couros@gmail.com.

Thank you to all of of those willing to help. I truly appreciate your insight and support.

UPDATE: A compilation of data gathered.

  • http://www.amazon.com/Goat-Ripper-Sonoma-Knight-ebook/dp/B00DQ3FI0A/ref=sr_1_1?s=books&ie=UTF8&qid=1372944994&sr=1-1&keywords=goat+ripper Peter Prasad

    To be literate means to be well-read, so let’s start with all the history and geography of the world, spiced by novels considered well-written, topped by all the genres you have passion for. Don’t be in a hurry – this takes a lifetime. It’s like adding colors to a rainbow. New dimensions opn and you chuckle more. Feed your brain.

  • Linda Martin

    To be literate means to be able to take in information from any media (written, video or audio) and the ability to filter through the garbage, assimilate the good stuff with prior knowledge and be able to use that information to improve yourself and the world around you. It is a necessary skill for learning anything new.

  • Ágica Fogarasi

    Mit jelent, hogy jártas? Szerintem, egy olyan képesség, melyet akkor szerezhet meg valaki, ha először is érdekli, a téma. Utána néz, érdeklődik, tanul, olvas, beszélget sok emberrel. Megkérdezi mások véleményét a témáról és kialakítja a saját gondolat menetét a kérdésről. Ezután képes a megszerzett tudást mások számára átadni és ezzel oktatni másokat. Folyamatos önfejlesztés által elsajátított képesség.

  • Ágica Fogarasi

    Mit jelenthet ma, hogy valaki írástudó? Többféleképpen is értelmezhetjük. 1. Egyrészt mondhatjuk azt, hogy olyan személy, aki fizikailag és értelmi képességeinek birtokában, képes az elsajátított szavakból értelmes mondatokat alkotni és ezzel kifejezésre tudja juttatni írásban a gondolatait. Azért hozzá teszem, hogy a mai online felületeken egyre kevésbé igaz ez az állítás, főként, ha a Tweeter-t és hasonló oldalakat tekintünk meg, mert itt már nem csak, hogy nem mondatokban beszélgetnek az emberek, de lassan a szavakat sem akarják leírni a maguk eredeti, valódi formájukban. Pl.: thanks = th. Így lassan a gyerekek a helyesírási képességüket is elveszítik, mert nincsenek rákényszítve annak megtanulására. Lassan visszatérünk az ókori és őskori jelbeszédhez, ez pedig szerintem hátrányosan érinti az anyanyelvek fennmaradását. Ráadásul felületessé teszi a kapcsolatokat is egy idő után, mert nem enged időt egymás alaposabb megismeréséhez, csak pár odavetett szó és mindenki rohan tovább. 2. Másrészt az írástudót felfoghatjuk egy olyan hatalmas képzelőerővel és lexikális tudással rendelkező személynek, aki képes a régi mesemondókhoz hasonlóan, sok képi hasonlattal, társításokkal és képzelőerővel mások számára megjeleníteni, elmesélni történeteket. Képes érdeklődést kelteni és ezáltal tanítani másokat, miközben tovább örökíti a megszerzett tudást és álmokat. 3. Vagy leegyszerűsítve, lecsupaszítva mondhatjuk azt is, hogy írástudó, aki lát, van két keze, szellemileg elég fejlett, hogy a betűknek hívott írásjeleket képes legyen lemásolni. Ez még nem jelenti, hogy fel is fogja ezen jelek értelmét, összetettségét. Csak egy képesség, melyet akár autódidakta módon képes elvégezni.

  • http://readingbyexample.com Matt Renwick

    To me, being literate means
    - to recognize letters, words, audio, images, video, and other media as forms of communication,
    - to understand their purpose and role in learning within a global society, and
    - to apply these forms of media to communicate ideas, collaborate with others, create new learning, and reflect on current understandings.

    Whew, tough question! I probably missed something. An image? A simple one could be a spider web.

  • Nancy Stuewe

    To be literate means you understand the relationship between the “there and back again” of language. That perhaps you do not know what you think until you hear someone else say back what they think they heard you say.
    Just a little bit of something.

  • Anthony Garton

    I’ll have a go. To be literate means to engage successfully with one’s environment to seek and construct understanding and contribute to relationships. The means by which we do this can involve various and changing systems and technologies.

  • http://rhonimcfarlane.wordpress.com/ Rhoni McFarlane

    We use several social media platforms in our Unit and our students are developing skills in writing for different audiences. Recently one of our students wrote a comment on our blog “I was sick Friday night from Emma”. This was not related to the post she was responding to nor was it relevant to any other post in the blog. This provided an opportunity to discuss the differences between the platforms we use at school and where her message best fit. It was an avenue to look at the difference between private and social and the students decided that Emma should have used edmodo or emailed her friends to let them know she was unwell.
    For our students with disabilities, literacy is developing understandings and skills to access and share information in a meaningful way.

  • http://jlamshed.edublogs.org Jarrod Lamshed

    Being literate it today’s world is about learning. It’s about developing a love of learning and being armed with the skills and the knowledge to keep learning, unlearning and relearning as the need arises. It’s about being equipped with the skills needed to ask GOOD questions and make good connections with other learners who can join you on this journey and add to the experience.

  • http://mediafacing.com Hans Aagard

    Since I’m working on this for a topic related to my dissertation, I’ll throw out what I seem to be reading in the literature. There is literacy related to arbitrary codes, like the alphabet and words, which we traditionally think of literacy, which is a focus of a lot of research. How to best teach kids to read. That might be called verbal literacy. Then there is visual literacy, which some people don’t seem to need to be taught, which is understanding images and moving images. This is different because it’s literal, not related to arbitrary codes like letters and words. This distinction was set up by Allan Paivio. There are more specific literacies depending on the media – “media literacy” to some means knowing how to navigate media and to others it means understanding how news media might skew information. Some would put creating media as part of literacy – I wouldn’t. I think that’s a different competency.

  • http://evenfromhere.org clarence fisher

    I’m not going to dig too deep in to this as others who got here long before me have put in the work of refining academic language. As a classroom teacher, I believe that literacy has both an “accessing / comprehending information” component and a “communicating / creating information” component. I believe that people in our society should be taught to access and determine the “truthiness” of information in as many forms and modalities as possible. But the same needs to be true of the communicating side. I also believe that students need to be able to determine which modality they need to use to communicate information in any given situation. Sometimes an essay is best, while at other times, a powerpoint show, a video or an audio file might be needed.

  • http://adifference.blogspot.com Darren Kuropatwa

    Abstractly, I think to be literate means to be able to encode and decode information expressed through language (in the broadest sense of language) and number. It’s in the “encoding” and “decoding” where the real heavy lifting gets done. ;-)

  • Ry @ QWERTY Education Services

    Being literate is a very good thing, it keeps you from getting fooled by people who take advantage of you. It is also a means of learning new things the easy way.