People need and are about the visual. Communication today has to have a visual aspect depending on the content in order for people to even want to read the message.

Webpages have videos that entice your interests instead of having to read a small little paragraph or sentence. Advertisers use photos to pull at our heartstrings or make us laugh depending on the product. Even students and teachers use visuals to both teach and grasp a concept being taught that day in class.

I think in some ways it goes hand in hand with people saying this generation doesn’t read as much as those before us. I wouldn’t say that. Things have become multimodal to get people to read. From a scrolling marquee to pictures being put together to form words, it’s all about grabbing our attention to get us to read.

In chapter 4 I did find it interesting that it was brought up how and in what way people usually scan a page. Most people read and write left to right so that’s what our brains are hard wired to do. My dad reads and writes Arabic so I’m sure he may look at things differently than myself since English is his second language. I’m sure language plays a pretty important part in how we see the visuals presented to us because not every language is read or written the same way.


Mashups and Remixing

Sometimes it seems as if an original thought is hard to come by these days. However, mashups or remixes are the perfect way of taking one idea and re-inventing it.

Within digital literacies there is a lot going on from people using blogs for “how to” or ” do it yourself” information to Wikipedia where pretty much anyone and everyone can become a resource of information.

Online resources have pushed back the use of printed books and given way to a new broader avenue of both teaching and learning. Jones and Hafner in chapter 3 stated that “printed books separate us from the people who wrote them and put us in the position of passive recipients of information.” I may not wholeheartedly agree with this because I still favor and prefer printed versions, but what they are trying to convey from the chapter I understand.

Hypertexts, for example allow us as recipients or readers to gather more information that what is initially put in front of us. This can lead to a mashup of information from one site or source to another.  Now there is the claim that hyper texts are making us stupid. I find this slightly humorous because that can be said about almost all forms of technology. From cellphones to gps to digital clocks.  All of these can lead to some type of short cut our brains get used to.  Hypertext keeps our attention spans short and changes our processing of information. It’s just another short cut that some people may actually need but I wouldn’t say it’s making us stupid.  Lazy, possibly, but stupid no.

Information as Social Practice

I think the decision people make to process the information given to them is what leads to information overload.  I relate it to culture shock in some ways.  The book describes a situation of walking on a busy street with a lot of things going on around you and judging what’s important to know.  I think of a person living in a country they don’t know the language and have to learn to navigate through their every day life trying to communicate with people.  They have to figure out what words they need to know first and which words never to say.

Information overload happens when we are unable to process any information or have no way to process it in an orderly manner so that it makes sense to us.  This goes into the use of filters and information channels.  In the world of digital literacies this is not limited to simply the way someone would read something.  Filters and channels affect the way the sender intends for the receiver to accept the information.  Such as a picture someone posts on Instagram has a filter on it so something in the picture is able to be highlighted or muted depending on what the sender wants the receiver to focus on.  In the case of a selfie filters can enhance the way a person looks to make them more attractive.

Once information ion is received then comes knowledge.  This is one of the categories we are supposed to consider according to Jones and Hafner in chapter 2.  Without knowledge we can’t challenge anything or integrate it for the use of solving a problem.  The activity used to provide an example is knowledge and information is to go through our personal storage and consider what is information and what’s unprocessed data.  Or how much information can be successfully turned into knowledge.  I think of my papers I have saved at the end of every semester. I go through emails from teachers and look at those papers for this purpose and never really thought about it before.  I keep things that I know I can or will use again or simply improve upon in the future.

Affordances and Constraints

I often say that technology is a blessing and a curse.

In chapter 2 of Jones and Hafner the process of mediation is brought up. This serves the function of facilitating interaction.  Not just just face to face human interaction but pretty much all interaction in some way.  It includes a message both email or text, a national broadcast through our televisions, or a written note handed out in class.

This mediation includes many tools  that give us the ability to engage in new things. These new things bring to the table affordances and constraints.  Affordances and constraints are defined as extensions and constraints.  An extension could be the fact that our cellphones allow us to communicate with people while on the go and vice versa.  This could include texts, calls, and emails for many people. However this can also be a constraint because we mKe ourselves available at all times (unless you’re one of those rare people who turns theirs off).

At the beginning of chapter 2 ‘Mediated Me’ it is said that online communication such as blogs and social networking sites change change communication, who people can be, and the relationships possible between people.  I found this true in the sense that it can allow a person who is shy or afraid to speak out in public, or a classroom to have their voice.  I see this to be true with my 1 year old sister.  In person she is quiet, shy, and kind of awkward as if she isn’t sure she should talk to you.  However, she is very active on Facebook and Instagram.  Online she appears to be outgoing and involved a lot of activities.  As far as her real life relationships I do think she may be closing herself off in a way forcing people to become acquainted with her online personality instead.

One idea I did find interesting in the chapter was the statement that the “best way to become more competent users of technologies is to become more critical and reflective about how we use them in our everyday lives, the kinds of things they allow us to do, and the kinds of things they don’t allow us to do.”   I go back to my earlier remark thT technology is a blessing and a curse, I say this because it allows us to do both the amazing and the dangerous.  We are able to share our lives, ideas, likes and dislikes with people. We are able to connect with the world like never before but it’s a two way street.  If you choose to let the world in realize that’s exactly what you did.

Digital Literacies

I find it interesting that the one thing everyone agrees on in Lankshear and Knobel is that literacy is no longer limited to being able to read and write. There are too many avenues, options, and resources available for what was once multimedia literacy, then digital literacy, is now in fact much more and encompasses so many things it is now literacies.

I remember when my elementary school received enough computers that students no longer had to share. Or when it became a requirement to take typing classes so we would be able to type without looking at our hands; to the first time I filled out an application and was asked how many words per minute I can type.

Digital literacy had advanced since then.  We have blogs, YouTube, social networks, online media advertisements, and many other programs or applications now that allow society to learn and teach without the use of pen and paper (which I still favor).  Schools have probably benefitted the most with the many uses of digital literacies.  Teachers are able to engage their students more and no longer have to simply stand in front of a classroom and lecture. Education has been more interactive.

In a real life application outside of work or school there is the use of digital literacy in the home. For example, My 2 year old niece knows how to work my IPad so she can watch and listen to Beyoncé or turn my phone on to take pictures. Her generation will never know anything about analog or manual. However, our generation sets the pace to continue to advance what we have already put in place where her generation will pick it up and push it forward.