Exploratory Research / Online Survey: Levels of Literacy

Gutenberg Bible

For several years now, I have lamented that the notion of literacy commonly used is an either / or concept: people are considered to be either literate or illiterate.

I find this approach is too crude to be useful for my work (broadly, for lack of a better term, “natural language search” — note that “search” itself has traditionally been referred to as “information storage & information retrieval”).

The previous sentence shows how even the term “levels” could be misleading — if it were interpreted as strictly referring to “higher” or “lower” levels, rather than as “different” modes. While “information storage & retrieval” were previously commonly used in (exclusively) academic settings, the term “search” was generally not used at all previously (in any setting) in the academic sense of “information storage & retrieval” (mainly because the corresponding search technology was not yet as far advanced or as widely available). Today, academics may still in some cases refer to “information storage & retrieval” (especially when distinguishing the different steps in the process), but probably not in colloquial or public settings. Since “search” is now in such widespread use, it is obviously used in most general settings.

The above example shows how muddy and complicated these waters are — and now adding metaphorical usages complicates matters even more (it is indeed, a very tangled web we weave 😉 ).

To say literacy is simply either present or absent is a vast oversimplification of a very complex can of worms.

Therefore, I invite you all to share any thoughts or ideas related to distinguishing different forms, levels, modes or whatever when referring to literacy.

In this vein, I should probably also point out that some people have already introduced specific subsets of literacy (such as “media literacy”, “computer literacy”, “online literacy”, etc.). Maybe none of these are mutually exclusive. Maybe they are insufficient, maybe they are not exhaustive. Is being able to distinguish a cookbook from a Bible a matter of literacy? In my book, it is.

What about you? What do you think? At this point, I feel like: The more opinions, the merrier! 😀

In my mind, a library is a room ruled by books

Keywords: bookshelves/shops/fairs , books , library

Ideally, one of the bookcases would actually prove to be a door leading into a small bedroom for I wouldn’t want to be too far from my precious living objects if I don’t have to.. And bookcase ladders! That would be fun to have around.. to climb and read sitting on them…

https://inkstainsonareadersblog.wordpress.com/2014/01/31/about-my-library-again

It is much easier to define what it means to be literate or illiterate than it is to describe literacy

Keywords: literacy

Students of color repeatedly and unfairly bear the label of struggling reader and writer, but how often do educators ask why? What if the literacy skills these students have in their toolbox are simply different, but no less valuable, than traditional literacy skills? For example, students of color “may struggle with skills like decoding or reading fluency, but they can read social contexts and environments exceptionally well” (Muhammad, 2020, p. 41). Functionally speaking, this is an important skill that many otherwise literate people lack. The phrase “reading the room,” referring to a person’s ability to interpret social cues, comes to mind.

https://booksandbloom.com/2021/01/10/what-is-literacy

Media literacy is the ability to access, analyze, evaluate, create, and act using all forms of media, including news, advertising, video games, digital media and social media

Keywords: contributors , opinion , media , social media

It’s an expansion of traditional literacy that accounts for all the ways we process and produce information. The goal of media literacy education is to empower active citizens to be critical thinkers and responsible producers of media.

https://bangordailynews.com/2020/10/20/opinion/contributors/media-literacy-is-needed-now-more-than-ever

Tristan Harris Comparison of advertising (or programming human beings) to slavery

Keywords: tristan harris , yuval noah harari , nicholas thompson , wired , ai , interview , time well spent , ethics , ethical design , artificial intelligence , technology , california , democracy , society , corporations , know yourself , robots , algorithms , technological disruption , future , humanity , future of humanity

There are certan moments in history when an economy is propped up by something we don’t want. The biggest example of this is slavery in the 1800s. There was a point at which slavery was propping up the entire world economy. You couldn’t just say “we don’t want to do this anymore, let’s just suck it out of the economy” — the whole economy would collapse (if you did that). But the British Empire, when they decided to abolish slavery, they had to give up 2% of GDP every year for 60 years.

“Yuval Noah Harari and Tristan Harris interviewed by Wired” [50:15 – 51:15]

Part of being media literate is to recognize when the stereotypes enter your head space

Keywords: feature , media education , media literacy , orson welles , pictures in our head , stereotypes , walter lippman , war of the worlds

Psychologists sometimes call them “schema.” They are also known as constructs, hypotheses, expectations, organizing principles, frames, scripts, plans, prototypes, or even (this one from psychology) “implication molecules”. Walter Lippmann called them “stereotypes.” And so all of us have schema- these shorthands of memory that make us understand things as they are!  When we see bricks stacked in a certain manner, we perceive a house, we see wood put together in certain form we perceive a chair or a table. Our past experiences with life and its processes build our schema over a period of time. While the advantages are apparent, what concerns us is the blindness these schema produce. The moment these schema become a part of collective memory they form stereotypes and slowly the stereotypes create a narrative that is difficult to break.

https://archanarsingh.wordpress.com/2020/09/29/pictures-in-our-heads-recognize-them

A message for the common masses to use their logic and understanding before reacting to everything

Keywords: opinion , changing face of media , journalism , media , reporting , responsible reporting

We all are very good individuals as well as responsible citizens of the country, lets build it organically and keep its sanctity alive. Lets concentrate on immediate and urgent issues which require our attention so that we contribute towards a healthy and better India. Lets build a better ideology and thought process via media. Also be aware of fake news going around you!!

https://inktheblog.wordpress.com/2020/09/26/the-changing-face-of-media

I have found a new reason to steer clear of social media

Keywords: real world malarkey , facebook , instagram , pintrest , real world malarkey , scammers , scams , social media , tumblr , twitter

I no more than activated my accounts, and several men pretending to be doctor’s serving in the military stationed abroad messaged me to declare their undying love. They said my profile was compelling. I hadn’t had the apps more than two minutes and had no profile yet.

https://punchingmudcrabs.com/2020/09/10/scammers-and-scumbags

Most people now get their news information online, specifically from social media

Keywords: news , socialmedia

There are also many “fake news” websites that compete for attention with sensational headlines and ridiculous storylines that tend to get shared more often due to the lack of readers fact checking or reading more than the headline. That means that authentic content is hard to come by now. In fact, fake news is actually more likely to spread than the truth.

https://eduindexnews.com/2020/09/09/social-media-and-fake-news

With a large section of global population still lacking basic digital skills, are we ready to move online as a society?

Keywords: international literacy day, covid, digital divide

For long, I have been a strong advocate of the importance of digital literacy on par with basic literacy. Today, as we stare at a new normal where physical interactions are replaced by virtual existence, we realize that we need more action on digital inclusion and we need it now.

https://www.capgemini.com/in-en/2020/09/digital-literacy-in-the-times-of-covid