What does it mean to be LITERATE?

I hope to reach out to a big audience with this one, because it sure is a relevant question these days.  From one generation to the next there are differences in opinons on what it means to be literate in the 21st century.  I for one have always found video and music to be a powerful means of delivering a message.  Maybe you have seen this or maybe you haven’t, but please watch this.  To my fellow bloggers, please share your ideas on what it means to be literate after watching that show.  Comments will be posted and I am setting up our very first podcast regarding this topic. 

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3 Responses to What does it mean to be LITERATE?

  1. Joe Ziccardi says:

    By definition, literacy usually describes one’s ability to read and write. I feel the modern-day meaning of the word literacy has been expanded to include other things. For example, computer literacy indicates one’s competency level with technology. While there is a connection between literacy and the video clip I observed, I would say the points illustrated in the clip suggest we have a far greater problem than literacy.

    The video clip speaks to a bigger message – Globalization. While reading and writing are certainly important, so are the following:
    Mathematics
    Communication (verbal, written, mathematical, and computer/technical)
    Work ethic
    Drive, Ambition
    Creativity
    Global/cross-cultural understanding

    We are in a global market place now – for goods, services, and JOBS. We will have to “catch-up” to our competitors if we want to maintain the level of our lifestyle in the U.S.

  2. Alex Keefe says:

    I connect the ability to read and write with the ability to think.

    The landscape of facts and knowledge is growing at an ever-accelerating rate. As a result, there a fewer and fewer individuals that can claim to be experts in a given field or area, as it becomes more and more difficult to maintain a depth of knowledge necessary to earn the “expert” title. This makes it very difficult to maintain a static set of core knowledge that every individual should have at various milestones in their educational lives. Who would be in a good position to determine that? The average person, from a child to a retiree, typically gains knowledge on a subject from another source that has been distilled via a series of third parties according to those entities’ beliefs or positions. And most often, the average person comes to a conclusion based on the first source of information they stumble upon.

    I believe that literacy now adds “independent thought” to the traditional read and write components. A person should understand that normal outlets of information typically have two major schools of opinion, and that because an understanding of the facts in many areas requires so much specialization to disseminate, the best way to arrive at a personal understanding is to educate herself on both sides of opinion, and then determine her own middle ground of understanding. This can be said of science and history, traditionally thought of as fact-based areas of study, as much as it can said about politics or religion, and every subject matter in between.

    As an example, the underlying data used both to support and to refute global warming is the same. But raw data doesn’t help the general public form their opinion. Rather, the outlet that they utilize to find interpretations of that data normally determines whether or not they believe in an inconvenient truth.

    I came out of high school believing that the books we used in History, Math, and Science should be unquestioned. It turns out over time, as society and I both continue to learn, we find this is not the case. And so I feel that starting probably in middle school, and continuing on into high school and college, students should be subject a “finding-your-own-middle” example in each traditionally fact-based class they take, at the very least on an annual basis. And I feel that technology, and the open conversations taking place in real time via technology about various schools of thought on fact-based subject matter, is a great way to facilitate these scenarios.

  3. Kerri Ann Brennan says:

    I agree with Joe Ziccarid..He took the words right out of my mouth!

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