An End to Cheero Mashups & New Literacies

When my son was little, he learned computer skills as part of the literacy equation in his preschool. The kids learned how to turn on a P.C., as well as how to make sure the screen was turned off before shutting down. It seemed kind of weird at first. My husband and I giggled as our son began referring to words like “CPU.”  Then, we realized with glee that it was, really, a “loss prevention”program  for us, clearly designed to banish cheerios from our floppy drive! It certainly gave our boy the elements of respect for all the working parts of a machine, as well as an appropriate vocabulary and framework for the learning and working tools he uses today (even though the P.C. is  #soGone as a thing, isn’t it?).

As I observed him and the tasks he gravitated towards (while simultaneously being exposed to necessary, and other wonderful parts of early education – playground time, cutting, building, clay – being in the “shark gang” with his friends), I saw that he had a knack for it. Really, almost from the beginning, this somewhat customizable and responsive interface with all its gizmos appealed to him and gave him access in a powerful way. He was able to be independent, understood, a little master-mind behind the wheel of a hardware and software, evolving machine.

The article below is an interview about a specific app, and reveals yet another new and exciting – and somewhat unknown  - layer to the literacy evolution we are going through today. Absolutely, hand-held ever-visible devices can get in our way, detracting from face to face conversations. Facial expressions, tone of voice, body language all play important roles in communication. Yet, technology can distribute and individualize learning in incredibly apt ways, helping students and teachers zero in on information and organize it. As I have heard often, there always needs to be a person interpreting and analyzing, mediating and vetting results.

The point the article makes about reading in this new age is one to note too: their survey respondents – kids – prefer real, hand-held books for reading! Still and all, our kids are wading into the “new age of literacy,” or, rather, this age of new literacies.  

Competence in navigating these interfaces may sometimes impact learning different students in unexpected ways. Having to learn multiple tools and interfaces could be a challenge. Sometimes the “old ways” are good. So, I wonder, are leaders thinking of kids with varying needs when these apps are designed? It’s fascinating, and an evolution of literacies that we all need to watch.

Students, Phones and Apps They Will Really Use

Students, Phones and Apps They Will Really Use

The chief product officer at Cengage Learning discusses an effective new learning app. INTERVIEW | by Victor Rivero Jim Donohue oversees the development, ideati…
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