Monday 23 February 2009
"Christchurch Challenge" - an inspired activity that combined team building with sightseeing. Some fellows announced their competitive natures and raced off to win or die trying. Others set out at a more leisurely pace. It is not unexpected when dealing with a group of people who have already identified themselves as wanting to ‘push the boundaries’ with their learning and teaching that a few (o.k. two!) went and did their own thing – for the best reasons of course!


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Thoughts on discussions that took place on the Monday and over the next two days.
  • Thinking – is confined by the language the learner has to express themselves with.
  • Non-verbal language is primarily to do with emotions and feelings.
  • Therefore increasing the learner’s language increases their ability to communicate their thinking.

What do we mean by Literacy?
What does it mean to be literate in the 21st century?

  • It is more than standard English. It is the ways we communicate in different contexts.
  • It is more than the ability to know how to do something – it is using the language and sharing the values of the communities we belong to.
  • It is not generic and singular. It is situated and multiple (multiliteracies).
  • It is not fixed and there is not an end point. It is constantly evolving.
  • It is more than print-based or word-based. It is multimodal.

  • There is a direct correlation between literacy/vocabulary/thinking
(Ideas from presentation by Sue McDowall NZCER.)


  • It is vital when providing literacy activities the teacher provides an authentic purpose for the work and an authentic audience. This creates an authentic learning process versus showcasing.

  • Learner outcomes don’t necessarily have to be a shift in test scores.
  • If the definition of literacy is so broad, how do we measure it? There are fundamental assessments that can be used that do provide some form of standardised data that measures a small part of what is the whole.

Research Questions
  1. What does literacy in the 21st century look like?
  2. What does literacy learning in e-learning contexts look like?
  3. Under what conditions is literacy learning promoted in e-learning contexts?
  4. How does exploring literacy in e-learning contexts impact on our thinking and practice?
This reminds me of a comment I heard recently - that you can tell the quality of a school by the quality of professional discussions occuring in staff meetings. Questions like those above can only but foster excellence in thinking, discussion and teaching practice.