hopeful news??

Intel and $100 laptop join forces

then what??

can literacies be digital?

"digital literacy" is a phrase that has been cropping up everywhere i read and look recently. the use of literacy, to indicate the ability to navigate a particular discursive realm - in this case, the "digital" realm(s) - has always left me feeling a bit uncomfortable. particularly for those of us who conceptualize and actively engage a concept of literacy as social practice. i "get" literacy in a digital age. i can wrap my head around our evolving digital communicative landscape. but what are we really saying when we talk about literacy that is inherently digital - as implied by the phrase "digital literacy"? when we talk about the digital literacies of adolescents, are we really referring to the literacies that we observe in the daily lives of young people who are living and interacting with an increasingly digitized world? and if so, is that the same thing as "digital literacies"?

perhaps i'm getting bogged down with semantics and possibly missing the entire point...


or perhaps we dilute or oversimplify the phenomenon when we gloss over a complicated and diverse emerging landscape of literacy and communicative practices when we simply say digital.

and perhaps it's just a code for like minded "digital literacy" folks to give a silent nod to one another. if the literacy research world were configured like a series of gangs - instead of camps, as we politely note in mixed company - might "DL" be our insignia, our secret handshake, a way of weeding out and letting in...

couldn't the same be said for other adjectives we use to mark and demarcate areas of literacy studies? absolutely. for some reason, this has stuck with me recently b/c i, myself, use the phrase and went off on quite a tangent while writing an explanatory section on this notion for a paper i'm writing. naturally, i wanted to share my confused musings and solicit any and all guidance. we seem to be on a precipice... but, of what??


hope for the middle?

headlines from july 5th:

Baby survives being buried alive

Shunned from society, widows flock to city to die

despite having a history of strong female leaders, indian institutions and customs continue to devalue the lives of female children and women. given these historical and institutional frames, and regardless of a burgeoning middle class and new opportunities for young women, what hope is there for adolescent girls and young women in the middle of the life cycle? having read my sister's recent posts from her time in india - she's interviewing women in rural india about their lives and about their views and interest in education, job training, etc. - it's difficult to the gap between (historical/cultural) conventions and (contemporary/human) agency narrowing.


summer sights and sounds

a couple of weeks ago, we officially entered the summer season. if the heat doesn't give it away, the throngs of kids out and about in the middle of the day surely should. i have to curb my impulse to ask them why they aren't in school - not that i do that during the traditional school year, but the impulse is there. so what are kids in my neighborhood up to whilst i sit and type, type, type away?
- they walk in groups and eat pizza
- share music by splitting headphone feeds from one ipod
- flirt
- ride bikes
- shop, purchase, preen
- laugh, giggle, and more laughing

kids laugh. teens laugh. scream with laughter. giggle, chuckle, hoot, holler, chortle...

several years ago, while on a train from paris to visit the chartres cathedral, i had a thought that was brought on by the sounds being made by teenagers at the other end of the train car: what do youth sound like?
more recently, as i've been working hard to conceptualize, operationalize, and put down on paper and image the notion of engaging youths' voices, i find myself thinking a lot about that train ride and asking myself the following related questions:
  • what does youth voice look like?
  • what does it mean to listen to young people? to see them, and not just look at them?
  • what does youth engagement in research look like? feel like? what does it compromise? what does it engender?
  • how do researchers and educators create spaces for youth to voice themselves? pay attention to the spaces they are already voicing? engage in collective voicing with youth?
  • which voices - words, pitches, timbres, accents - are sought? heard? included?
summer provides ample opportunity to see youth voices in action, if only we pay attention and adjust our sensory filters to see and hear, and refrain from giving into the impulse to map young people onto the institutions with which we regularly associate them (e.g., schools)...