Reading Response July 10th

Mobile Texts and Migrant Audiences: Rethinking Literacy and Assessment in a New Media Age

I am so glad to read an article where the authors are thinking like classroom teachers are thinking! Assessments now have to be a part of the conversation of literacy practices that are rigorous, creative, and ever changing. There is no way we can measure these skills with only traditional assessments, and we need to be doing more as an education system than just rethinking them. I don’t think we can say we are truly getting an accurate reflection on the competencies of a student without rethinking assessments. As the article persuades, “If we understand youth to be designers of complex meanings across a variety of semiotic practices, then the tools we use to understand their designs must be sensitive to the kinds of agentive, multimodal meanings they are creating (382).”

I have had to rethink literacy myself during this course and the reading of this article. My perception of literacy is not what it once was. It is evident how communicating with others has changed dramatically, but what I experienced the most growth in is the examples of mobile text and multiliteracies exist. As the authors convincingly state, “Increasingly, youth growing up in this mediated, digital culture, have wide-ranging opportunities to choose how to represent themselves 
in relationship with others. Whether in drawing, animations, blogs, photo-sharing, music mixing, homemade video clips, or electronic bulletin boards, young people have more choices than ever before in communicating with others (383).” It is mind boggling to me how natural all of this comes to the culture of digital students.

There’s nothing narrow about new literacies, mobile texts, digital tools, 21st century learners, etc. so there should be nothing narrow about the way we measure it. The authors affirm by stating, “Part of the problem with traditional assessments is not only that they use narrow measures of literacy—ones often divorced from meaning making in real world contexts—but that they are used as the definitive measure, the sine qua non of what someone knows (382).” This quote speaks volume to me because the students I have taught often rely on making meaning and learning by applying the content to something applicable to them, something real world, something that has been or can be an experience or a relevant story. Learning this way and not being assessed this way is ridiculous! Traditional assessments seem to get a stamp of approval in districts by district coaches and department heads, in schools by principals and curriculum coordinators, in some homes by parents and guardians, and trickled down to teachers like myself.

I definitely agree students need opportunities for more performance-based assessments, to represent themselves through new tools as the article states, and occasions to have a global audience. I also agree that communicating in various forms, use of social media, and integration of multimodal texts, etc. are important for today’s learners and for students personal identities, but when’s the last time you’ve seen those practices addressed on a classroom walkthrough? An observation form from your principal, assistant principal, curriculum coordinator? Discussed in a Learning Team Meeting? Or from an district instructional coach feedback form? Shouldn’t they be rethinking literacy and assessment as well?

This is Lizzie: I totally agree with your opening statement! Finally an article "an article where the authors are thinking like classroom teachers are thinking!" I agree with you that we need more performance based assessments and not just something that is always paper and pencil. If we are encouraged to use hands on learning, then why are we not assessing them this way? I also agree with your final question that you posed. Our leaders are telling to us to incorporate technology, but they can't tell us how to do so!