A Student Responds …

I was very excited to discover that our project has been making waves (tiny, but notable) on the Internet when my friend pointed me to Walt Crawford’s post about Beyond Literacy from FriendFeed.

Very excited to welcome Walt and the other commentators on FriendFeed to the conversation about post-literacy, I posted the responses (#1A & #1B) below.

As you can see from the FriendFeed, Walt desired that the conversation be moved elsewhere and so I am moving the dialogue back to www.BeyondLiteracy.com.

In order to abide by Walt’s wishes, I did not post anything after my initial responses (#1A & #1B). The last paragraph below (response #2) is the one I would have posted on FriendFeed, but, as asked, am posting here instead.

Response #1A

Hello Walt, this is one of the Merry Post-Literate Band here. May I premise my comments with the disclaimer that any views and opinions expressed are my own and do not represent Mike, the www.BeyondLiteracy.com project, nor the rest of my schoolmates. I am very excited to see that there is discussion brewing regarding the subject of post-literacy and I’d like to assure you that the very same discussions are happening within our Post-Literate Band. We are not banded so much by belief in a post-literate world, but are intrigued by the thought experiment and interested in examining possibilities many of us had never considered before. In fact, many of us come from English Literature backgrounds and have a deep attachment to books, as you may imagine. Many of us still struggle with the ideas in the Beyond Literacy project. I, myself, am someone constantly in awe of artist’s books and printmaking and have a deep of love for the collections at the Thomas Fisher Rare Book Library (amongst others). I must say that I am enjoying my adventure so far into this thought experiment, although I am undecided yet about whether “I believe” that post-literacy will “happen.” Our class is definitely merry and thankfully, there is no pressure to choose between being a “believer” or “non-believer.” I enjoy a class where I’m encouraged to think for myself in a way that is both creative and critical

My takeaway so far, which I do think is valuable, is that visual literacy is limiting in certain ways that I had not considered before. Given the struggles that many children (and adults!) go through in order to learn to read and write, perhaps visual literacy is not a most efficient means of communication.

Perhaps what is most important to realize is that we currently privilege one type of learning (reading and writing) over other forms of learning and everyone just needs their own appropriate outlet. Instead of “one ultimate form of knowing,” (a role currently occupied by visual literacy), maybe post-literacy will be a world that involves more choices and more acceptance of different ways of knowing and communicating. And that is a world I look forward to, whether it be fully or partially post-literate.

Response #1B

Also, I regret that many have commented that Mike’s style is not engaging. He is wonderfully lively, intriguing and never tiresome or boring in class. Perhaps this is an example of the limits of the written word … ?

Response #2

It’s true that “thought experiment” VS “inevitability” changes the way one engages with the topic. I am actually a person who has always struggled with numeracy. While it’s not feasible to scrap either numerical or visual literacy (at this stage and maybe not even in the future), I do not call for a complete replacement of either types of literacies, but I look forward to additional ways of communicating knowledge and different ways to facilitate communication in general.

…Farah Chung

Merry Post-Literate Band



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