What’s New?

The What’s New? page will comment on activity on the project and reference discussions about Beyond Literacy occurring in other places.

Sunday September 8, 2013

Needless to say, some time has passed since the last update. Life intervenes. The site continues to get readers and attention. It formed the basis of the Beyond Literacy First Year Seminar offered at the University of Guelph in the Winter 2013 semester, and has been used as a text for courses at the University of Rhode Island and Northern Kentucky University in the past few months.

The big news is the soon-to-be-launched Beyond Literacy Radio. Like Beyond Literacy, the book-like-thing, Beyond Literacy Radio is a thought experiment being conducted with a graduate school class at the iSchool, University of Toronto. Expect the first podcast to be available in early October. As always, we welcome you as listeners and contributors. Please do both.

Beyond Literacy Radio

Friday December 7, 2012

Hard to believe but yesterday was the last class in the Beyond Literacy course at the iSchool, UofT. A few assignments left for some of the students; a bit of marking to do for me. What an extraordinary experience It has been a true honour and privilege to work with these amazing people. I’m going to post some of their personal reflections from the experience later.

Monday November 26, 2012

Interesting week. Two new videos were added along with chapters discussing possibilities for post-literacy (cognitive prosthetics, collective consciousness, telepathy).

John Miedema post a video response and challenge to the class on the nature of post-literacy; it’s posted in the chapter What is Post-Literacy? Part 2.

The students in the Beyond Literacy class posted their own video trying to answer the question: what is post-literacy?

Sunday November 11, 2012

The Analytics Team posted their first report on site activity. While some problems setting up Google Analytics resulted in the loss of some data from the early days of the launch, the data available show modest interest in Beyond Literacy and a reasonable ratio of views to comments. The class discussed the activity level and proposed a number of ways to increase traffic for future chapters.

Friday November 9, 2012

At the class meeting on Thursday the various project teams reported on their projects and initiatives. Part of the Beyond Literacy experiment is pedagogical; as we explore the idea of post-literacy we are also exploring the nature of network-based scholarship. We had an excellent debrief on what is working, what isn’t and what we would do differently next time (yes, there will be a next time).

The Analytics Team has some good data which we will post soon. The Comments Team created a Comments Wordle based on the comments so far; the Comments Policy is also now available. The Editorial Team has a number of new posts/pages in the works. The Interview Team has created a YouTube channel to host sessions with students talking about post-literacy and literacy; these will be posted shortly. The Social Media Team has been tweeting and commenting; a LiveChat is being contemplated. The OLA Poster Team has submitted their proposal for SuperConference and are working on ideas involving augmented reality tools.

Tuesday November 6, 2012

Long time between updates. The demands of other projects have put Beyond Literacy on auto-pilot for a week or so.

During this period we continued to have thoughtful comments and interesting tweets. One of the most substantive and insightful contributions came in a blog by Lane Wilkinson (University of of Tennessee at Chattanooga).


His Beyond “Beyond Literacy” post took us to task on a number of topics and substantially moved the discussion forward with some valuable insights. We have always viewed Beyond Literacy as a “starter kit” for a distributed dialogue. Delighted to have engaged such a thoughtful commentator.

For those of you planning to attend the Ontario Library Association SuperConference,

OLA SuperConference 2013

the Beyond Literacy class has submitted a proposal to the Poster Session. If it is accepted, it will be a wonderful opportunity to meet many of the students in the class and to discuss with them the post-literate thought experiment.

Sunday October 28, 2012

Delighted to have John Miedema join the discussion. John is the author of Slow Reading and a very thoughtful commentator on reading, writing and technology. He is also a very good sport. He agreed to debate me at the Ontario Library Association SuperConference:

Beyond Literacy Debate

Wonderful, albeit partisan crowd (they were, after all, mostly librarians), whooped and hollered as John systematically took apart most of my arguments. Have a read through his opening statement.

The various comments, tweets and blog posts in response to the initial chapters of Beyond Literacy have been very interesting; extending and deepening the discussion as we had hoped. The Editorial Team is reviewing the interactions so far and will be posting an overview and response to some of the ideas raised or the challenges received.

Friday October 26, 2012

Interesting few days in the life of the thought experiment. The nasty problem with DISQUS (the commenting app) was resolved by dumping it and going back to the native WP commenting tool. This all took a bit of steam out of the discussion aspects of the site. Hopefully people will re-engage.

Walt Crawford (retired librarian and well known commentator on all things library) added some excitement to things by starting a FriendFeed thread about the book. This generated a response from one of the students and a further post form Mr. Crawford. Interesting observations all round and a teachable moment about the nature of discourse in the networked world.

There have been a series of good tweets from various folks both supporting some of the ideas and calling us out on some of the weaknesses of our presentation and argument. Excellent; exactly what we wanted. We plan to incorporate those tweets and concerns in future posts.

Wednesday October 24, 2012

A full day of going live! Lots of wonderful reactions (and debate). The commenting applications is not working correctly (sigh) so a bit of confusion there; sometimes it works, sometimes not so much. We are working on it. In the meantime the Twitterverse is very active. We are going to try to curate some of the comments from various places and post them back on the site. Everything and anything to promote the discussion and to have folks think about the nature of literacy and the possibility of post-literacy.

Chapter 1-9 have now been posted. We are going to pause for a few weeks (until Nov 6th) so that people can read the chapters, engage in discussion, and reflect on some of the dialogue. The remaining chapters will be posted starting on Nov 6th. Thanks to all who have had a look. Hope you will stay with us.

Tuesday October 23, 20012

The thought experiment which is Beyond Literacy: Exploring a Post-Literate Future has been initiated. The first nine chapters will be released over the next few days. The remaining chapters will be released starting November 9th.

While the prospect of the end of literacy is disturbing for many, it will not be a decline into some new Dark Age but rather the beginning of an era of advanced human capability and connection. The post-literate world is to be welcomed not feared. Of course, getting there could be a bit disruptive.

Beyond Literacy is an experiment in creation and publication. Issued as a digital open access publication, the e-book is designed to foster dialogue and debate, either as part of the e-book or in other Internet venues. The Editorial Team encourages you to add your voice either through the comments, a guest post (ask us about how to do this), your own blog, or via the means of your choice.


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