DMLcentral Resource / Beyond The New London Group

Posted by nicholaspelafas on August 26, 2011

The more time I spend on the web exploring this field, the more encouraged I am at the number of people thinking and writing about new literacies.  The field of multiliteracies is in the midst of a transformation that is pulling the discussion closer to our contemporary reality and beyond the original work of the New London Group published 15 years ago (which is eons in techno-time).  In the multiliteracy blogosphere as of late there is an increasingly popular trend to explore the linkages between education, civic participation, and multiliteracies.  It seems educators are simultaneously becoming more aware of the natural participatory potentiality of multiliteracies and the necessity of education to embrace widely used new medias.  This type of thinking comes from the conviction of many young teachers/students these days, namely that education must be the central tenant in the movement to realize social transformation and a civic re-imagining.

A great example of one of these web resources is DML central (, which stands for digital media and learning.  DML central is the online forum  for the Digital Media and Learning Research Hub located at the systemwide University of California Humanities Research Institute.  It is similar to what we were envisioning for this blog, but with much more funding and institutional direction – which is certainly a credit to what you can accomplish without those two things.  DML is a space where we can consciously consider the role of digital media in our society, and how we can best understand it and influence its usage via education.  While clearly digital interconnectivity is only part of the picture when it comes to transforming society and truly reforming education, DML ties it to praxis, stating its mission as wanting “to enable break-through collaborations and evoke illuminating conversations that lead to innovations in learning and public participation.”  

As I am always keeping an eye out for critical perspectives on multiliteracies and critical thinking via multiliteracies, two recent posts on DMLcentral stood out to me.  The first post from 7/19/2011 is entitled Multiliteracies and Designing Social Futures, by Antero Garcia.  Mr. Garcia critiques the lack of moving beyond the 1996 NLG definition of Multiliteracies in some circles and presents some of the recent developments in the field that should be changing how we think about multiliteracies.  Specifically, he posits 3 main areas multiliteracy inquiries that we will have to consider as the field moves beyond 2011.  They are: 1) Search, Query, Interpretation, 2) Conscious Identity Development, and 3) Online/Offline Hybridity and Spacial Interaction.  I completely agree these 3 areas are ripe for critical engagement by educators, and I would also add the area of Information Network Design.  IND would be the conscious understanding of how information and knowledge is dynamically connected to other hubs, redistributed across digital and non-digital networks, and influenced by the digital space it inhabits, creates, and transforms.

The second post I really enjoyed was by Liz Losh, titled Digital Fluency: Empowering All Students.  It raises some great critical issues around the notions of digital literacy and digital fluency.  Specifically, it calls us to think about the ways that technology intersects with oppressive, non-inclusive social constructs, and can serve to recreate those same social structures in digital and non-digital space.  It is important to critiacally consider the ways that technology can work against social transformation, so that we may approach the digital literacy pedagogy pragmatically  and with a clear foundation of inclusivity and cooperation.  I highly commend DML for including these viewpoints, and strongly recommend anyone with an interest in multiliteracies to head over to DMLcentral today! (you will also now find it in our resource section)


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